Let Your Kids Do Dangerous Things

Last night, 3 of my children decided it was a lovely night for a fire.

So they built one.

Then they decided it was a lovely night to camp outside.

So they set up their tent.

In the morning, they were cold.

So they built another fire.

Then they got hungry.

So they cooked eggs over said fire.

They did all of these things with no input and very minimal supervision from me or my husband.

To say I’m not a “helicopter parent” would be an understatement.

So I was eager to read Gever Tulley’s book 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).

It’s pretty funny that my 10 year old said, “Mom, this book is boring. We’ve already done all this stuff!


Actually, when I read through the book I dogeared the pages with activities I knew the kids had engaged in.

Things like: sleeping outdoors alone, making a bomb in a bag, playing with fire, making a rope swing, climbing trees.

Turns out there are many things they have done that I didn’t know about!

I think my son was kidding when he said the book was boring.

It’s the only book I can remember that interested all 4 of my readers.

Here are 3 of them poring over the book.

My stepdaughter set out to make a slingshot not long after I took this picture.

50 Dangerous Things not only suggests activities that are educational and fun for kids, they also tell you as a parent WHY these things are valuable to learn.

Not the least of which is, in my opinion, to get it out of their system! If everything is forbidden, I have the opinion that it becomes more attractive to children.

You might also enjoy Gever Tulley’s TED page.

What do you think about kids doing “dangerous” things?


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4 Responses to Let Your Kids Do Dangerous Things

  1. Emily says:

    I read that the Hunzas, who live in the Himalayas– let their kids walk along the edges of rather deep crevices and other similar stuff. The landscape is harsh, but b/c parents don’t make a big deal out of it and let kids do their thing there is only the occasional fall and broken bones.

    And they have bonesetters who can immediately set a bone, tie it up and the kid is fine within a week.

    Americans worry too much.

  2. Miss Lila says:

    This may be the one thing I disagree with you about!! LOL

    I realize I have “issues” and as the eldest of 10 siblings that were in and out of the emergency room once a week…… I may be somewhat… a tad even….. biased.

    I’m of the opinion……. keep our kids safe at all costs!!
    Yes, I cringe when I see a child climbing a tree, using a knife, riding a bike barefoot or with no helmet, etc.
    However, I do believe in helping our children to become independant and not afraid of their own shadows but let’s keep them safe, safe, safe……..in a terribly, unsafe world.

    Just sayin’

    Love your blog!

    Miss Lila

  3. Maria says:

    I just discovered your blog doing a search for juice fasting and breasfeeding and I am so glad I did!
    I do let my kids do things that might make other parents cringe. But nothing that I myself was not allowed to do as a child, yet here I am safe and alive never having broken a single bone and same goes for my 3 siblings. I let my 5 yo cook his own fried eggs every morning. All I did was show him once and he has done it all on his own everyday. He has made perfect eggs every time. He also cooks pasta and bacon. I let my 3 yo cut her food with sharp knifes. She learned from seeing us using knives. She refuses to use butter knives because those don’t cut her food right. She has not cut herself once. I on the other hand am a knife klutz and cut myself daily, lol! My kids have set things on fire (nothing illegal of course), climed on high trees, swam in rivers and oceans, play outside in the dark, use power tools, eat dirt, and other fun things like that and they are just as safe and happy as any kid we know. In fact , none of my 5 kids have ever taken a trip to the ER for any play related accidents. Since we unschool they are used to learning from observing others and since we have always showed them trust usually it is easy for them to pick up on the proper way to do a task with confidence.

  4. carrie says:

    @Maria Thanks for stopping by and for your comment! My thoughts are similar to yours. We’ve never had any accidents, except once my daughter was playing at the park and fell on her arm off the monkey bars. She dislocated her elbow. But that could have happened to anyone, and noone would call swinging on monkey bars dangerous. ;)

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