Why Sliding on ‘Dangerous’ Ice Outside is Good for Kids (If Not Essential)

Why Sliding on ‘Dangerous’ Ice Outside is Good for Kids (If Not Essential)

Finding a great patch to zoom over- and do it with success- used to be a right of passage on the playground. But not anymore.

If you find yourself in the depths of winter with snow out the window right now, you may find things have changed. In some areas, long gone are the days when kids could glide around freely  on patches of ice at recess or throw snowballs in a friendly winter fight.

I guess there must have been too many cases of broken bones and damaged eyes and faces over the years. (If you’re the parent of a child or victim of a tragic winter recess accident though, we apologize. This post isn’t meant to make small of what happened to you!)  

Now, at least at schools around here, kids aren’t allowed to engage in any of these activities during school time.

Have parents and educators become too wary of ‘dangerous situations’?

I think there’s a delicate balance to be met. A friend of mine had a relative who posted a Christmas memory this year on Facebook. In it one of their sons, about 2 years old then, had a cast on his foot. Why? Because that was the year he sliced his foot with an ax, my friend told me.

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Yes, this seems a bit risky for my taste. There’s an appropriate age to teach your kid to use an ax-if you want to- and 2 or 3 years old isn’t it in my books. But we all have varying levels of tolerance.

When it comes to ice and snow at recess, I would venture to argue that schools have now gone too far. Kids SHOULD slide on ice. In fact, it should be encouraged. They learn how to deal with it that way. Gliding is a great way to learn about balance and it gets out all those winter willies that accumulate while the kids sit inside for too long.

Throwing snow? Sure, ice in your eye isn’t a great thing. But if you allow a friendly snow ball fight in your own backyard, it should be fair game on the playground. Fine motor skills are honed this way, and children learn about having some simple fun with the gifts of nature.

These things are priceless. It’s time to let down the barriers we adults create that stop our kids from learning about “the real world”. I have a theory that sliding on ice and snowballs has been banned simply because this makes life easier for the adults. Fewer injuries makes the day that much easier to handle.

But here’s the thing: life ISN’T easy. It’s about taking risks, suffering the consequences and learning from them. And having fun. And sometimes all of that isn’t really convenient for everyone.

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