Playgrounds and Risk-taking

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Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby maoman » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:34

This article tells me what I suspected all along - kids that are over-protected are being disadvantaged.
Some child-development experts and parents say decades of dumbed-down playgrounds, fueled by fears of litigation, concerns about injury and worrywart helicopter parents, have led to cookie-cutter equipment that offers little thrill. The result, they say, is that children are less compelled to play outside, potentially stunting emotional and physical development and exacerbating a nationwide epidemic of childhood obesity.


Both my kids outclimb and outrun their Taiwanese peers on the playground. Last time I was there, My (then two year old) daughter outclimbed my 5 year old daughter's classmate on the climbing wall below - his mother was shrieking at him to get off before he hurt himself. :facepalm:

Izzi, on the other hand, loves stuff like that. If there's a hard way to go up or down a flight of stairs at the park, preferably something that involves balance, jumping and heights, she's all over it. Steps are for wimps! :lol:



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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby Hannibal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:26

If this is the only places you're taking your kids, you're failing.

Push the limits.
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby maoman » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:59

Hannibal wrote:If this is the only places you're taking your kids, you're failing. Push the limits.
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Agreed!

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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby Bunks » Wed Nov 21, 2012 13:37

Freya is one. My sister leaves her to try to climb the slide (only one step mind you!). "She'll bump her bum and learn to be more careful." She lets her stick her hand in the cat bowl. "It'll taste disgusting and she learn to look for crisps. Plus, she needs to immunize herself." Mind you, Freya is the third child. Freya is pretty much raising herself! :grin:

Kids need to be grubby and scrape their knees and fall out of trees etc.
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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby qmowhite » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:55

I create kids interactive theatre shows here in Taiwan. We had some fun with "Aladdin". He wanted to impress Jasmine, so he swung from the monkey bars, bounced on the trampoline and walked along a balance beam to show her his incredible, um, abilities. Then we got the kids to do it. I built 2 mobile monkey bar stations that were 6 feet tall by 8 feet long. I was amazed how many parents wouldn't even let their kids try. Many that did would carry their children across and have their children just tap the bars as they were ushered past. I swear the hardest part about educating children is first educating their parents.

The company that I work for was also hesitant about the balance beam (a whopping 6 inches off the ground), and also said that I shouldn't have the children do somersaults. It's a real shame.

Luckily, we've met up with an amazing group of people that are breaking these boundaries. It's the push bike group in Taipei. They get the kids out on these push bikes, get them weaving through slalom courses, riding down hills, and up and down ramps from the age of 2 on. My son has gotten into it and although he took his time before he actually got on the bike the first time, once he did there was no stopping him. I see his balance, spatial awareness and stamina build up daily. Every time we are out with the group, a huge group of people gathers around to see the reckless parents that would endanger their children like this. But, the more they watch, the more they realize that the kids aren't dying, they aren't being maimed, and when they fall down they just get up, brush off their knees and get back to playing. Eyes are starting to open.

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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby maoman » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:02

qmowhite wrote:Luckily, we've met up with an amazing group of people that are breaking these boundaries. It's the push bike group in Taipei. They get the kids out on these push bikes, get them weaving through slalom courses, riding down hills, and up and down ramps from the age of 2 on. My son has gotten into it and although he took his time before he actually got on the bike the first time, once he did there was no stopping him. I see his balance, spatial awareness and stamina build up daily. Every time we are out with the group, a huge group of people gathers around to see the reckless parents that would endanger their children like this. But, the more they watch, the more they realize that the kids aren't dying, they aren't being maimed, and when they fall down they just get up, brush off their knees and get back to playing. Eyes are starting to open.

I'd like to know more about this group. Do you have a link?
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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby Toad » Tue Aug 27, 2013 21:36

qmowhite wrote:I create kids interactive theatre shows here in Taiwan. We had some fun with "Aladdin". He wanted to impress Jasmine, so he swung from the monkey bars, bounced on the trampoline and walked along a balance beam to show her his incredible, um, abilities. Then we got the kids to do it. I built 2 mobile monkey bar stations that were 6 feet tall by 8 feet long. I was amazed how many parents wouldn't even let their kids try. Many that did would carry their children across and have their children just tap the bars as they were ushered past. I swear the hardest part about educating children is first educating their parents.

The company that I work for was also hesitant about the balance beam (a whopping 6 inches off the ground), and also said that I shouldn't have the children do somersaults. It's a real shame.



Is this the same country we're talking about? The one where 15-year-old schoolkids without helmets run through red lights on scooters while policemen watch without a flicker of interest?

People in Taiwan have a different concept of 'danger', I think. Getting your hair wet is 'dangerous' because it might be acid rain, or you might catch cold. Spraying lethal chemicals all over your house to kill germs or insects is not 'dangerous'.

I blame the education system. And the government. And the parents.

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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby Hannibal » Wed Aug 28, 2013 00:28

I blame the education system. And the government. And the parents.

I wish they'd all just leave! :lol:
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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby Elegua » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:32

My ex-wife has in many ways babied and spoiled my kids by shielding them from the consequences of their actions; eg they lose something and another one is bought without many questions asked. They end up lacking life skills.

That's why I take pains to put them into positions where they must pay attention and take responsibility and where if they make a mistake there are some real consequences.

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Yes, it's just a leisure activity, but there is a lot of granite in Maine and this could easily happen.

Image

That was experienced professional captain when he stopped paying attention for a bit too long, right where we were sailing.

At one point, my son did stop paying attention and ran over a toggled lobster pot and got it wrapped around the prop about 2 miles offshore in the open Atlantic and about 2 hours before dark. We were dead in the water and had no wind to sail. I was really proud when without my asking, he voluntarily got in the water and cut the line off with a knife. The prop is about 3 feet underwater, under the boat, and the water is about 50 degrees. The large swells were making the boat roll heavily. I was a bit scared and I wasn't really sure I should be letting him do that. I'm also quite sure his mom would kill me if she ever really found out what I was letting him do.

Was that too much risk? Perhaps; a lot could have gone wrong and possibly very badly at that. But, we had no choice and in the end, together, we got it off. Later, during the 6 hour trip it took to get home, we went on to complete some difficult feats of nighttime navigation.

The next morning we found a bit of rope and the toggle in the dinghy and kept it as a keepsake. I guess in the end we feel really chuffed about what we achieved. It was serious, it was real, it could have been bad, but we pulled it off.

I don't know. I guess most parents would consider me insanely irresponsible. :idunno:
Vida de Otário

....and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.

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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby Mr He » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:56

Teaching the kids to take risks is important, as long as you are there as a responsible parent.

During the most recent Taiwanease beach day at Wai-ao I went there with the brood, however managed to miss all the foreigners. No matter, my 6 year old boy and I went out in the surf to cool down, and he just loved that one. We spent a good hour there until the life guards chased us in, as it was "dangerous' meaning that we were in the way of the surfers.

Last week, I took the brood down to Kending for an extended weekend of fun, and I then took the young gentleman out snorkling. We spent more than a hour at the most sheltered place we could find, with depths up to 5-6 meters, I think. he loved it.

He taught himself swimming more than less.

I have also taught him skiing, bikeriding and taken him for hikes from when he turned 2. It is all good.

Important, keep Taiwanese women away from it, they tend to get too nervous about wha tyou are doing to their babies.
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Seriously. You rock up once a month or so, making zero contribution to the site, apart from whining gleefully about something that is UTTERLY unimportant.

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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby Toad » Fri Aug 30, 2013 09:12

Elegua wrote:That's why I take pains to put them into positions where they must pay attention and take responsibility and where if they make a mistake there are some real consequences.

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I'm more impressed that you taught him to levitate.
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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby Elegua » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:13

Toad wrote:
Elegua wrote:That's why I take pains to put them into positions where they must pay attention and take responsibility and where if they make a mistake there are some real consequences.

Image


I'm more impressed that you taught him to levitate.


Huh. Now that you mention it, I just noticed that. It's where his knee is pushing into the grey cushion and causing a shadow. It may also be due to the fact I compressed the photo. The original image is 4000 x 2632 big.

I certainly hope you are not suggesting PS. :smile:
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....and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.
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Re: Playgrounds and Risk-taking

Postby PigBloodCake » Fri Nov 08, 2013 23:40

If it's not for Taiwan, I'd take my daughters on a snowboarding trip :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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