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Darwin On The Playground

Topics: Lifestyle & Culture | 1 CommentBy admin | August 26, 2008

That which does not kill me…
will try again a minute later.
- Eric Brown

I’ve joked for some time that the recent generation which has grown up with padded playgrounds would be the dumbest generation since the dark ages. It’s just common sense that natural selection killed off all the dumb kids of my generation by letting them play on our lethal playgrounds. Seems like this sentiment is gaining some popularity. Good Magazine has an article in the current issue that addresses the topic a little more seriously. Referring to an experimental “Adventure Playground” in Berkeley, CA: “…There are no hidden risks here…by forcing kids to assess the possibility of risk, they play more safely while also learning how to take care of themselves…” and “…You kill their creativity by hovering too close…”. Makes sense to me, but as a kid I did experiments like jumping off the roof to see if an umbrella would work as a parachute. Cost: sprained ankle, wind knocked out. Benefit: Immense fun, and proof that rough play doesn’t ALWAYS kill the stupid kid. In a similar vein, this LA Times piece reminisces about simply going out to play, apparently a lost art. Hell, in my day (I love saying that), when adults weren’t busy throwing us off the dock as a swim lesson, they were fond of telling us to “go play freeze tag on the freeway”. Most of us survived.

Read Comments

  1. Posted by TeacherPatti on 08.29.08 11:05 pm

    Dude! This site is great! (Found the link on Roos’ page).

    I am a teacher, and the way we bubble wrap this world drives me nuts sometimes. Instead of protecting kids from every little thing, let’s protect them from big things…like getting shot coming home from the store (I teach school in Detroit, and random shootings happen all the time).