Fifty dangerous things you should let your children do

Feel like you’re doing a little too much ‘helicopter parenting’? Then get your hands on this book.

50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) by Gever Tulley is packed with inspired activities for kids – there’s everything from making a bomb in a bag to spending an hour blind-folded.

I’m sure some Babyology fans are getting a little stressed out reading this – was it the suggestion of helicopter parenting or the idea of your kids making bombs in the backyard?!

At the risk of starting a furore in the ‘Comments’ section below, I’m all for a little danger time for kids. I think about the things I did when I was little (including regularly walking the window ledge of my neighbour’s second-storey bedroom window!) and the things I don’t let my kids do now. Which prompted me to seek ways that I could encourage my children to be more independent, more likely to assess and take risks and more self-reliant. That’s how I came across 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).

The basic message of the book is ‘teach your children about safety by helping them learn to navigate risks’ – radical, I know, in our carefully strapped in, always-wear-a-helmet, don’t-go-out-of-my-sight world.

The fifty dangerous projects include activities such as deconstructing an appliance, skills like walking a tightrope and ‘experiences’ such as playing in a hailstorm. Each project includes detailed instructions, the level of difficulty, the dangers associated with the project (such as ‘Projectiles’, ‘Fire’ and ‘Lose and Eye’) as well some thought-provoking questions and space for your child’s ‘Field Notes’.

Needless to say, my kids pounced on this book, immediately picking out a couple of things they wanted to begin with (‘Learn Dramatic Sword Fighting’ and ‘Make a Rope Swing’).

Honestly, the activities are the most challenging for parents – it is difficult to keep in check your own knowledge and fears and even harder to ‘supervise’ without telling your kids what to do – so, stand by while they ‘taste electricity’ (by licking a 9-volt battery), let them play with the vacuum cleaner and for once, ask them to play with rocks and sticks.

50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) is available from Book Depository. See author, Gever Tulley, talking about dangerous things in the clip below.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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