Things you and I used to routinely do as kids is now considered “dangerous.”

Here are three. The rest are at the link.

Play With Fireworks

Playing with fireworks is not only a fun way to celebrate freedom, it teaches your kids how to responsibly handle fire and to have a healthy respect for exploding objects. Unfortunately, thanks to stringent fireworks laws and parents freaked out from viral stories of children losing eyeballs while lighting Roman candles, many kids today have never experienced the pure excitement and joy of igniting a fuse and waiting for the impending explosion.

Introduce your 3-5 year olds to the world of fireworks with “pop-pops” — those little paper-wrapped tadpole-like things you throw on the ground. They’re safe and the kids can have fun with them without injuring themselves or anybody else. You can also get them acquainted with sparklers. These preparatory “fireworks” offer a chance for children to learn general principles of safety: not to throw lit objects at others, touch people with a hot sparkler, handle a dud, etc.

When your kids hit age 6, you can start letting them light innocuous fireworks like snakes and smoke bombs. These don’t explode and will teach your kids how to light a fuse safely and to be aware of others as they use firecrackers.

By age 9 or 10, your kid should be ready to fire off pretty much anything you can find at a fireworks stand. You should continue to supervise their pyrotechnics until they’re teens, though.

Hammer a Nail

Hammering a nail is a basic life skill every person should master, but many parents don’t let their kids attempt this task out of fear of them smashing their fingers. Yes, little children are uncoordinated, but the only way they’ll ever become coordinated is if they gain hands-on experience in using tools. Start letting your 3-year-old practice hammering nails with a ball peen hammer. They’re lighter than the traditional claw variety and thus easier to handle. As your child’s dexterity and strength improve, upgrade him to a full-sized claw hammer, lay out a 2×4 and a box of nails, and let him go to town.

Talk about cheap entertainment.

Stick Your Arm Out a Car Window

Sticking their arm out the window of a moving car and letting their hand ride the wind is a great way for kids to get acquainted with the basic principles of aerodynamics — it’s like a personal wind tunnel. Encourage your child to play with different positions — moving the angle of her hand, closing and opening her fingers — to observe how these variations affect lift and drag.

Yes, an arm could be severed if it hit an object alongside the road, but objects are very, very rarely positioned close enough to cause a collision. And if they are, your kid’s got eyes, doesn’t she?

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  1. Real fireworks haven’t been available since I was a boy. Even plain old firecrackers have been emasculated with the tiny federal limit of a few grains of flash powder. I saw sparklers for sale in Walmart this year … please wear gloves and safety googles, use outdoors with adult supervision … and they were BS little punk things. We used to get sparklers nearly 3 feet long, with a heavy wire and a whole lot of that sparky stuff. We had mock sword fights with them, a full decade before Star Wars.

    By the time I got out of Cub Scouts I had learned to drive a 10 penny nail the proper way: tap BANG, and the nail is driven all the way in. It takes practice, but it’s a skill an 8 y/o can be hella proud of. Doesn’t even take that hard a swing. Just confidence and accuracy. Hammers come in all sizes and weights. Ball peens aren’t any lighter than any other hammer.

  2. dekare says:

    How long before today’s acceptable activities will be unacceptable? Imagine today’d kids’ kids a generation from now. It will be too dangerous to carry heavy books…ride a bike, even with a helmet, knew pads, elbow pads, and wrapped in bubble wrap…walk by yourself ANYWHERE…use a fork…watching cartoons that do not have a message (seriously, what happened to cartoons thyat were just for fun and entertainment?)…drink from a cup shared with friends…climb a tree…run…any contact sports…any non-contact sports…being outside…OMG…the list will be insane. I know my list above sounds ridiculous, but today’s forbidden things where laughable just a generation ago.

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