Dangerous (and educational) things for kids

Boing Boing recommends a children’s activity book called Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) by Gever Tulley and Julie Spiegler. Activities include gluing your fingers together, playing with fire, looking at the sun, walking home from school, kissing hello like the French, playing in a hailstorm, diving in a dumpster, melting glass, sleeping in the wild and whittling.

Via Gotham Schools.

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  1. I wonder if eating art paste is in the book?

  2. I’ve heard of that book. I think I might head over to Amazon to pick it up.

    I giggles because Friday, as my daughters were waiting for me in my classroom to finish up grading so we could go home, older daughter glued her fingers with elmers…because it was fun.

  3. Bill Leonard says:

    Whittling! Yes, indeed — although I never could manage to whittle a whistle that worked. Also mumblety peg and baseball with pocket knives! Great childhood memories…an era when every boy I knew had a pocket knife from about age 7 on.

    Although in this politically correct, nanny-driven era, neither schools nor a great many parents allow boys — let alone girls — actually (gasp!) have pocket knives!

    It really was more fun being a kid in the 40s and 50s.

  4. All the things listed (except dumpster diving — no such thing back then and I’d hesitate to allow it now b/c of the very real danger of contaminated syringes) I’ve done. Also, damming up a brook, climbing trees to the very top, and riding my bike 5 or 6 miles. Plus (a la free range kids) riding the city bus alone at the age of 9. And how else would you get home from school?

  5. Dangerous is right! Kissing hello like the French will land the poor daring child in the principal’s office (with police on the way) and sexual harassment charges.

  6. While I agree whole heartedly that the vast majority of children benefit from a little danger in their life, the problem has never been that most or even many children will be injured or killed.

    The problem is that statistically *some* will. Who is willing to stand up and say that, yes, statistically, we are willing to let a few children a year die and a score more be seriously injured so that the vast majority will benefit from something more than a padded room environment.

    Put that way, it’s no wonder that those in charge choose safety over exploration. 50 years ago, the option for that much safety simply didn’t exist, so no conscious choice was necessary.

  7. Working with students who have been kept “safe,” I notice that often when their safety nets are not around that they are unable to make safe choices. I think that in order to learn how to predict outcomes and make safe choices, students need to learn by exploring little danger!


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