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Monday, July 17, 2006

Have you banned contact games from your playground?

USA Today reports that schools across the country are banning traditional childhood games from playgrounds because they consider them dangerous.
Elementary schools in Cheyenne, WY and Spokane, WA have banned tag, while a Charleston, SC school banned soccer and touch football. Similar bans have been enacted at schools in Wichita, KS, San Jose, CA and Beaverton, OR.

“It’s happening more because educators worry about kids running into each other and getting hurt,” said Donna Thompson of the National Program for Playground Safety.

The Charleston ban was instituted because children suffered broken arms and dislocated fingers playing soccer and football. But not all of the bans have resulted from serious injuries, and critics think the restrictions are harmful. “You’re taking away the physical development of children,” said Joe Frost, emeritus professor of early childhood education at the University of Texas-Austin. “Having time for play is essential for children to keep their weight under control.”