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Why Kids Need Risk, Fear, and Excitement in Play

“Be careful!” “Not so high!” “Stop that!” Concerned parents can often be heard urging safety when children are at play.

Recent research suggests that this may be overprotective and that kids need more opportunities for risky play outdoors.

Risky play is thrilling and exciting play where children test their boundaries and flirt with uncertainty. They climb trees, build forts, roam the neighborhood with friends, or play capture the flag. Research shows such play is associated with increased physical activity, social skills, risk management skills, resilience, and self-confidence. Read more

The Upside of Playful Risk

This article is part 7 of 8 in the column Flights of Fancy

Summer is here, time for kids’ action adventure.

Reread that opening sentence. Did you think of movies released in the summertime?

Or did you think of the adventurous active pastimes that kids engage in during summer? Did you think of: Diving off the high diving board into the deep end of the swimming pool? Climbing toward a tall tree’s top and perching there for a while looking down at the world? Crawling in through the window of a homestead that nobody has lived in for years? Riding a bike with no hands on the handlebars down the steepest hill in the neighborhood? Read more

The Plight of Children at Risk in the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Communities and the Failure of Government and Pandering Politicians to Protect Them

This article is part 7 of 13 in the column Marci A. Hamilton

Children in the United States are routinely sacrificed on the pyre of their parents’ faith by pandering politicians without a moral compass. Children don’t vote but insular religious communities often vote as a bloc mandated by the male officials at the top, and that fact is not lost on power-hungry politicians like those in Utah who let the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) patriarchs marry off girls and abandon boys so that the men will have a better place in heaven. The same relationship between elected officials and the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities exists: there are known risks to children but these politicians look the other way as they are feted by the rabbis and a community that keeps children at risk. Read more

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