Of Course Kids Can’t Play Outside Unsupervised!

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Mom’s too busy to go outside with you, kid? Then clearly the only option is a $159.95 indoor play system. Because you couldn’t possibly go outside UNSUPERVISED and play with FRIENDS, or even even ENTERTAIN YOURSELF, right? Mom must be right there! Always! And so we present:

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As commenter Judy C. wrote in an email, alerting us to this gizmo (which DOES look fun — it’s just the idea that kids can’t go outside unsupervised that irks me):

Dear Free-Range Kids: Happy New Year!

As we start 2016 and make resolutions to be more active, I laughed out loud at this infomercial that my children watched on the Disney Channel:

https://gorilla-gym.com/

“…and Mom is never too busy.”

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE active kids! Just not climbing my walls inches away from me under this assumption that I have to entertain them every fun-filled moment of the day. Play doesn’t have to be expensive playgrounds carved out of individual backyards or shipped in 3 monthly payments. It’s a branch from a tree that’s begging to be climbed.

Of course, parental supervision required with the Gorilla Gym. Because even indoors, Mom must watch her child swing dangerously close to stacked dinner plates while cooking dinner on the hot stove.

This year, let us resolve to be ever on the lookout for the insidious message that an unsupervised child is automatically in danger. This is NOT TRUE and yet it is often presented as simple common sense. Here at Free-Range Kids we believe in CHILDREN, FREE TIME, and the kind of “pointless” FUN that leads to ideas, joy, wackiness, curiosity, problem-solving, self-reliance and genius.

Because genius is not something you buy. It is something visited upon kids when they expand to fill the space of childhood. – L.

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Because the outdoors is no place for kids!

Because the outdoors is no place for kids!

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87 Responses to Of Course Kids Can’t Play Outside Unsupervised!

  1. anonymous January 4, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    I am a parent who purchased a similar item for very different reasons. When my youngest daughter was little she got terrible hives from being in the sun. She was not allowed to play outside without full sun-protective clothing and sun block,doctor’s orders. She hated how hot the sun-protective clothing was and would get over heated. So we bought an indoor swing set and it worked great. My daughter out grew the hives from the sun many years later and enjoys her independence these days. But when she was so sick as a child the indoor swing set allowed her to enjoy what others take for granted, fun on a swing.

  2. Powers January 4, 2016 at 10:49 am #

    Presumably by “Mom is never too busy”, they mean, “… to drive the kids to an indoor playground when it’s raining or to the water park when it’s too hot.”

  3. Ravana January 4, 2016 at 11:13 am #

    When I was a kid there was no “too rainy” “too hot” “too cold” and mom was always too busy. That’s why she threw us out of the house every morning. The indoor alternative to playing outside was cleaning the bathroom. It is a good thing the set can hold up to 300 pounds because those kids are going to weigh that very soon if they don’t go outside and run around.

  4. BL January 4, 2016 at 11:36 am #

    This is offensive to gorillas.

  5. bob magee January 4, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    company formed by marketing guys and not exercise/health experts;(they do have a fitness pro listed as an advisor or CYA member of the team)

    From a practical standpoint – where do you put these? Kitchen door? That would cut down on traffic in and out – and extra snacking! Maybe that is a good thing.

    Closet doors? Okay for climbing, but not so much for swinging.

    Maybe basement door – swinging over steps adds to the excitement!

    My doors are about 8 feet high – kind of limits the climbing fun and exercise. Like a stair master – climb up and climb down! Climb up and climb down…

    Apartments? even less options.

    For Mom and Dad they can ignore the kids playing without disapproving stares and comments from other parents – maybe that should be an added selling point.

  6. lollipoplover January 4, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    We have a version of this. It’s called the *spidey* wall and as wee things they used this doorway to shimey up and smudge the walls with their gooey hands. I think they were trying to mark who could touch highest on the vaulted ceiling. As they got older, I would yell at them to get down, afraid they’d break their necks, and ask them to wipe the marks off and help clean up around the house. This made them scatter like cockroaches to other parts of the house or outdoors. Climbing walls used to indicate the need for free play. Now, it’s marketed as an indoor trapeze in 3 monthly payments plus shipping.

    Now your kid can swing into your saute pan. What joy in cooking meals for the family.
    It’s only a matter of time before the indoor child version of the Hamster Wheel comes out. Keep them caged, indoors, away from the acid rain that apparently melts skin (why can’t kids play in rain again?), and always under your watchful eye.

    (The kid swinging near a glass plates made me cringe. How is THAT safe??)

  7. Emily January 4, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    This doesn’t look much different from a portable gym for adults, where you put the bar in the doorway and use it to practice chin-ups/pull-ups, and hook or loop resistance bands to it to do other exercises. I can see it being useful for people who don’t live near a park or in a safe neighbourhood, can’t afford an outdoor playground set for their children, or don’t have enough outdoor space to put one, or who live in climates where there’s a lot of inclement weather, to the point that playing in the park doesn’t happen often, and installing a playground in the yard wouldn’t be a wise financial investment, because the kids would outgrow it after a few short “seasons” of play, that might only last a few months each. I’m from Ontario, Canada, and winter can last five or six months here. That’s why my parents never put a swimming pool in the yard when I was growing up, even though I really wanted one. They could afford it, and they had the space for it, but they didn’t think it made sense to install something that’d sit unused for 3/4 of the year, and I have to admit that they were right. Conversely, I lived in Australia for two years, and the playgrounds there got more use than the ones in Canada, but there were still days there where outdoor play was ill-advised, like summer days when the temperature could be in the 40’s (Celsius), or during the torrential rains that happened during their “winter.” Also, Anonymous has a point about kids with medical problems, like her daughter with the sun allergy. If this product is the only thing that allows some kids to swing and climb, I think it’s fine.

    Another thing–who else here would be willing to bet that people were having the same conversation many years ago, when OUTDOOR playground sets hit the market? “What a waste of money, why not just hang a tire or board swing from a tree branch?”; or even “In my day, we didn’t need swings and slides and monkey bars to have fun; we just used our imaginations!” Yet, outdoor playgrounds took off, kids enjoyed them (although, not as much now, because of the increasingly stringent safety standards that have resulted in effectively dumbing playground equipment down to toddler level), and kids still played tag, hopscotch, hide and seek, et cetera. I’ve been seeing indoor swings and rope ladders in the IKEA catalogue for years, and they haven’t replaced outdoor playgrounds yet. So, this doesn’t have to be an either/or thing; it can be both/and. Now kids can play outside at the outdoor playground, AND inside on their portable playground. For kids who are indoors too much, for whatever reason, this would be a good alternative to yet more screen time, and also, for kids with autism and other similar disabilities, this product would be a great “sensory toy” for them, if taking them outside every time they needed to burn off some steam wouldn’t be practical. So, I don’t see this product as replacing outside play; I just see it as a good way to fill in the gaps where outside play can’t happen.

  8. bob magee January 4, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    as Lenore writes – the issue is not this product but how it is marketed

  9. Kimberly January 4, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    Coincidentally, last night I watched Star Talk with Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson in which he was interviewing the head of the EPA. In the interview, she said something to the effect of: the greatest threat to our environment is the fact that children don’t have any connection to it anymore. It has no longer become tangible to them.

  10. Donna January 4, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    I don’t see anything wrong with the product OR the marketing. All it said about parents is “mom is too busy.” For the millions of children who don’t live with in walking distance of a park, mom’s busyness is a issue with going to the park.

    Further, this is something clearly marketed to parents of young children – under 5 would be the prime target group in my estimation as I can’t imagine bigger kids having any fun on a swing that fits in a doorway. So there absolutely IS an issue as to the children to whom this is marketed needing supervision in all but a backyard/visible from home playground.

  11. Emily January 4, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    P.S., I forgot to mention, it’s perfectly socially acceptable for adults to exercise indoors–in fact, being January (both New Year’s Resolution season, and winter here in Canada, and several parts of the States), it’s peak gym season. So, why does nobody bat an eye at an adult walking or running on a treadmill, or attending a spin class, or doing any one of the many different types of physical activity that can be done indoors, but the moment someone comes up with a (somewhat) equivalent product for children, the knee-jerk reaction is “what’s wrong with playing outside?”

  12. Suze January 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    This contraption looks like a semi glorified Jolly Jumper for older kids (or at least the swing part) My husband looked at the it and said the kid in the picture looks like an 8 year old in a baby swing. I can see how this may be a great alternative for the very first poster with the child with hives from the sun but for the rest of us? I’d give this a pass.

  13. lollipoplover January 4, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    So I googled “Human Hamster Wheel” after I typed it here wondering if it actually exists.
    *mind blown*

    http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/nyc/4133843238.html

    If only I didn’t live so far away…
    (though this is supposedly a big prank)

  14. Vaughan Evans January 4, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    People are plain paranoid.
    I live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In 1967, a Portugeuse family came to my city-and gave birth to a girl. Two years later the father died.
    The mother was now a single working parent.
    This young girl would play games like Red Rover-and Kick the Can- between the time school got out-and when her mother came home from work.
    She was a latchkey kid.
    If I saw a group of eight children playing Red Rover at a park-and I did something obscene to one of the children, the WHOLE of the group would know it.
    On the other hand if a child FALSELY accused me of doing something obscene(which has happened in the past) the WHOLE of the group would know it,.

    Children who have been brought up in homes-where they are taught respect for others- do NOT hesitate to “go to bat’ for an adult-or an older child who is being treated badly.

  15. hineata January 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    Look, I get what you think, Lenore, but that does look fun! I can imagine playing on it myself….at least until I hit the 300 pound mark!

    Though my kids just used the bunk set. You leap out from the top bunk (single on top, double below ) and hope you land on the cot mattress sort-of strategically placed on the floor Bunks are cool for swinging upside down off as well. And attaching ropes too…..

  16. James Pollock January 4, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    “Though my kids just used the bunk set. You leap out from the top bunk (single on top, double below ) and hope you land on the cot mattress”

    Ten little monkeys, jumping on the bed
    one fell off and broke his head
    Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
    “too many monkeys, jumping on the bed!”

    Nine little monkeys…

  17. Vaughan Evans January 4, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    One way to get children active is to promote old-fashioned chase and search games.
    I have had experience-teaching a game called ‘Run, Sheep, Run!

    -It would be a safe game because (a)no individual hiding or seeking is permitted and

    (2)the only time a child gets separated from the group is when the hiders’ captain dashes-to where the seekers are still shutting their eyes-at the goal.
    Would you let me send the song-to you in the mail.
    If I copyright it and get millions in royalties, I would give some of my money-to aid your cause.
    (In 1979 this game “got into the blood” -of the children of Vancouver’s West End-where 40,000 people live within one square mile.

  18. Sometimes you gotta cook dinner January 4, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    Anyone I know that has one of these is a parent of a kid with autism, including myself. We love this product, particularly when I am too busy. Cause sometimes Moms are too busy. Gasp. Some kids need c o n s t a n t vestibular input. I can’t be at the park all day. Gasp. And yes, they hold up to 150 pounds. So 12 year olds on down at least. Gasp. Guess what I don’t do? Let my kids watch TV or touch a tablet. Gorilla gym it is.

  19. Wendy W January 4, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    Having raised 3 kids in North Dakota and MN, I can appreciate what this offers for preschoolers. I had swings hanging in basements of 3 different houses. The kids in the commercial are too big; it’s a great idea for little ones.

  20. lollipoplover January 4, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    “Further, this is something clearly marketed to parents of young children – under 5 would be the prime target group in my estimation as I can’t imagine bigger kids having any fun on a swing that fits in a doorway.”

    It advertises up to 300 lbs.- not really the size of children under 5. And the kids in the infomercial look older than 5 to me. Do you really need parental supervision to swing back and forth all day in the hallway?

    We have indoor exercise equipment. My daughter just got an indoor trampoline and LOVES it. She jumps on it all the time. We also have one of those doorway pull-up bars that my son used to use all the time. Now it has jackets hung off of it. Most of this is down our basement- much like an old fashioned rumpus.

    I would need a very strong martini to make dinner while a child was swinging in my kitchen doorway. Do you have to push them on the swing too?

  21. Emily January 4, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    Okay, I’m starting to see the other side of things here. Already, I can see some key problems with the Gorilla Gym, that make it unsuitable as a substitute for playing outside/going to the park:

    1. It only comes with one bar, so it can only be used by one child at a time, which would be hard for families with more than one Gorilla Gym-aged child. Yes, sharing is good, but no parent wants to have to police the sharing of the Gorilla Gym while cooking dinner, so…..Netflix it is.

    2. All a child could do on it is climb up the ladder and straight down, or swing straight back and forth. The playground has platforms to climb to, and swings can be swung sideways, or twisted and then released (lying on your stomach). The Gorilla Gym doesn’t provide that kind of open-ended play.

    3. Swinging and climbing have some inherent risk; more so when done in the vicinity of a hot stove and breakable plates (good point, Lenore). Also, falling off and bumping into things are possibilities, so I can see this product getting recalled in fairly short order, when some kid gets hurt from it.

    4. Most adults would realize #3 fairly quickly (after either buying this product themselves, or being gifted with one), thereby relegating the Gorilla Gym to the category of “supervised toys,” thereby defeating the purpose of “an indoor playground to use when Mom or Dad is too busy.”

    5. Most obviously, this product blocks the door when it’s in use. That’s a pretty big P.I.T.A. in itself.

  22. Gina January 4, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    I would NOT want this in my house. All I can see is everything knocked off the shelves and on the floor. However, living in the desert where the surface of a plastic slide can burn off skin in the summer. I would love to see these used in indoor PLAYGROUNDS. Which don’t exist (not talking about bounce houses and video games).

  23. James Pollock January 4, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    “indoor PLAYGROUNDS. Which don’t exist”

    You don’t go to McDonald’s very often, do you?
    (Or perhaps it’s a regional thing. I’m in the Pacific Northwest, which has a lot of rainy days, and thus perhaps more interest in indoor play.)

    It’s not just McDonald’s, other restaurant chains have them, and there are other facilities which offer them, as well.

  24. Donna January 4, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

    “It advertises up to 300 lbs.- not really the size of children under 5.”

    Yet, every single kid in the commercial was very young. They were all preschool/very early elementary school. Half of the ones speaking couldn’t even speak clearly. If the makers really believed that this was a toy that would appeal to kids over 6, they would have featured some in their ad.

    I simply can’t see this toy holding any interest whatsoever to a kid much over preschool age. My kid would have loved it at 2, 3, or 4, but would have found it boring after that. It isn’t nearly high enough to be of even the slightest interest to her.

    “Do you really need parental supervision to swing back and forth all day in the hallway?”

    I didn’t see anything in the ad that even implied that you need to have parental supervision to use this toy. While a couple parents were talking near their kids, the vast majority of the children in the ad were swinging unsupervised.

  25. Donna January 4, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    “Already, I can see some key problems with the Gorilla Gym, that make it unsuitable as a substitute for playing outside/going to the park:”

    Nothing in the marketing of this product should lead one to conclude that even the manufacturers believe that this should be used as a complete substitute to ever going to the park to play on real swings. In fact, the ad that I saw – the one attached to this post – stands for the idea that this is something to use when the kids CAN’T go to the park for whatever reason. A point it makes very clearly.

  26. lollipoplover January 4, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    “I didn’t see anything in the ad that even implied that you need to have parental supervision to use this toy.”

    The screenshot of the video link has “Parental Supervision Recommended” very prominently displayed to the right of the pedo-gorilla. It’s in most of the shots of the kids playing in the doorways (without a parent shown) through most of the infomercial.

  27. Donna January 4, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

    “The screenshot of the video link has “Parental Supervision Recommended” very prominently displayed to the right of the pedo-gorilla.”

    Yes, but “parental supervision” does not mean that a parent needs to be standing right there watching the child swing. “Supervision” can have many meanings and I am not sure why some here always want to take it to the extreme of standing right there with eyes on the child. Personally, I don’t think one should go off and leave a child home alone playing on this toy – it is for too young of a kid – but as long as I can hear my kid scream when she flies off and hits the wall, I’m supervising the use as far as I’m concerned.

  28. James Pollock January 4, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    “Parental Supervision Recommended” is CYA.
    They don’t want to get sued because either A) some child is injured because the toy is poorly installed, or B) some child is injured because the toy is being used in a way that is grossly outside its intended purpose(s).

    A few minutes on the Internet should suffice to locate video of toys in various cases of A and/or B. (Pull-up bars falling out of door jambs when some person is trying to do a pull-up, people in horrible tumbles from trying to ride a radio flyer down a flight of stairs, etc.)

  29. Cassie January 4, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

    Its pouring rain here at the moment, it has been for days. I rather stupidly invited 3 families to send their kids to my house for a day of crazy… if only we had a play gym like that…

    Oh wait… no we have a trampoline in the back yard, where all 8 kids spent most of the day, despite the constant drizzling rain. Extra fun involved throwing mud onto the trampoline and bouncing.

    I gave them a shower at the end of the day – kind of easy.

    … I spent most of the day with a cup of tea and my knitting. I paused to make lunch, had to duck outside twice to help the 4yo explain that she didn’t want to be covered in mud (and I used that moment to explain to her to stay away from said mud if she didn’t want to be covered), and then went back to my knitting and chatting with friends.

    I had 9 kids at my house, for 6-8hrs, in the pouring rain (albeit it is summer in Australia, so the temp was nice), and not a single bit of crying or fighting or anything.

  30. Emily January 4, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

    >>Nothing in the marketing of this product should lead one to conclude that even the manufacturers believe that this should be used as a complete substitute to ever going to the park to play on real swings. In fact, the ad that I saw – the one attached to this post – stands for the idea that this is something to use when the kids CAN’T go to the park for whatever reason. A point it makes very clearly.<<

    Donna, you added the word "ever." I didn't mean the toy was intended as a substitute for EVER going to the park to play on real swings, but it is intended as a substitute for going to the park at specific times when going to the park isn't feasible–inclement weather, park too far away, parents too busy to take the kid(s) to the park, et cetera. So, what I'm saying is, it's fine as a stopgap solution, sometimes, for some kids, as adult portable gyms are fine as a stopgap solution sometimes, for some adults, but in both cases, a lot of people might find them to be more trouble than they're worth.

  31. Maggie in VA January 4, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

    I’ve seen the ads for this product, and that wasn’t what I took away from them. When the weather gets really cold, as it is finally doing in our area, playing on the playground gets less attractive. But kids still need lots of activity. Sure, I still take them out, but they get tired of being cold, and it’s hard to play on monkey bars, etc., in gloves and mittens. Also, as the mom of a hyposensitive kid who needs lots of proprioceptive input to stay calm, the winter months can be really difficult. Last year, our day care shut down many days, and when they did so, many kids’ facilities where I might have gotten him some exercise also shut down. I’m surprised this product triggered the Free Range alarms.

  32. Donna January 4, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    If you live in San Diego where it is perpetually 75 and sunny and even the days that do rain are really just a drizzle, and you own your own home with a backyard and have the financial ability to get an outside swing set, or have a playground visible from your house or have the ability to drop everything to go to the playground every time your preschooler wants to swing, this is probably a bad toy.

    For the rest of the population, it seems like a fine idea. If this had been available when my child was young. I totally would have bought it (if I could figure out a doorway where she could use it). It is just me and I have to do all the cooking, cleaning, etc. We don’t have a backyard play structure and there is no park within preschooler/early elementary school walking distance. We very frequently don’t have outside weather for many days at a time. For several months of the year, it’s dark the entire time we are home on weekdays. It definitely would have been useful for the year and half that we lived in A. Samoa and the only 4 swings (not 4 swing sets, only 4 actual swings for the entire island) were several miles away. And now that I have a broken ankle and getting to the park is a challenge for me, it would be a god send with a young child.

    I am not sure why this is being viewed as “do this instead of swinging outside” and not “something to entertain the kids when they can’t swing outside for any one of the many reasons that have nothing to do with helicopter parenting that would limit the ability to swing outside.” The marketing is clearly addressed to the latter situation and not the former.

  33. James Pollock January 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

    All right, on the subject of going in or staying out because it’s raining, I’m going to tell a story.

    We used to have a thing called “Outdoor School”. Sixth graders were taken from their regular daily lives to a summer camp, where they spent a week learning outside, in the woods. The staff consisted on a small cadre of full-timers, who were there for the full six sessions, the kids’ regular sixth-grade teachers, who were there for one session only, and volunteers recruited from the high schools. Since it was not summer time, but it was the foothills of the coast range of Oregon, there was a fairly strong likelihood of rain at some point and having rain the entire week was not unheard-of. We didn’t change anything for rain… the point was to learn outside, and it rains outside… but one of our sessions featured the kind of steady downpour with wind that meant that pretty much everything was wet and stayed that way, even in the “shelters” we used to teach.

    I’m fairly sure the teachers were miserable, but had the professionalism to conceal this from the kids. The kids, however, felt no such limitation on displaying their unhappiness. They were complaining about the weather non-stop. Keep in mind, these are sixth-graders… they’ve not been allowed to bring candy or other snacks with them (draws critters). The girls have not been permitted to bring makeup nor hair appliances (neither time nor electricity to use them) and the boys are either just before, or just after, the transition from “ew, girls!” to “oo, girls!”, a transition that the girls have been waiting for for a couple of years, so they’re particularly sensitive to issues about appearance. They all look like drowning cats, and this does not please them. They are taking EVERY opportunity to complain about dumb rain, dumb outdoor school, and can’t we go inside to learn this stuff?

    Finally, one of the other counselors had had enough. During the walk back to the central area everyone went to between “classes”, She climbed up on top of a tree stump to make a speech. It was about how the weather could have been nicer, but wasn’t going to change; about how it makes a difference how we choose to face up to things that are difficult, uncomfortable, or annoying.
    The payoff was the ending. It went something like “listen, when you’re at home, you’re not allowed to go outside in the rain. You’re not allowed to get wet. Your mother tells you to come inside because it’s raining, when all you want to do is go outside and jump in some puddles. Well… your mother isn’t here.” and then she jumped off the tree stump into about a six-inch-deep puddle, creating about a 10-foot splash radius. At first, there was just a moment, the tiniest flicker, of shock and annoyance over being splashed with muddy water. Then, however, realization set in… it didn’t make any difference… they were already soaked, they were already muddy, and a little bit of splash made no difference whatsoever. The rest of the walk back, every puddle on or even near the path was thoroughly jumped in.

    I can’t say it put an end to the grumbling… only about 20 of the 200 or so students onsite at the time even heard it… but grumbling went way down, and puddle-jumping went way up, even amongst the students who weren’t there.

    That said, I can see some valid parental concerns about playing outside in the rain that are not at all related to the waterproof nature of children. Shoes and clothing are not universally stain-resistant, nor is the carpet around the entryway to most homes. And splashing people who do not want to be splashed is generally a hostile act, likely to produce retaliation of various sorts. Schools in this part of the country are designed with covered play areas. (Heck, basketball was invented so that schoolchildren would have something to do during P.E. classes during the winter months other than boring calisthenics.)

  34. Donna January 4, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

    “but it is intended as a substitute for going to the park at specific times when going to the park isn’t feasible”

    And it seems like a fine substitute for those times.

    I guess I didn’t see any point to your comment unless you were referring to substituting it completely for outdoor swinging. Why are you comparing it to the full range of benefits of outdoor swinging for a product that is simply intended to be a substitute for the times when outdoor swinging it not going to happen for whatever reason? The true comparison is not swinging outside vs. swinging inside; but swinging inside vs. not swinging at all.

  35. Emily January 4, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

    >>That said, I can see some valid parental concerns about playing outside in the rain that are not at all related to the waterproof nature of children. Shoes and clothing are not universally stain-resistant, nor is the carpet around the entryway to most homes. And splashing people who do not want to be splashed is generally a hostile act, likely to produce retaliation of various sorts. Schools in this part of the country are designed with covered play areas. (Heck, basketball was invented so that schoolchildren would have something to do during P.E. classes during the winter months other than boring calisthenics.)<<

    That's all true, but James, you forgot about thunder and lightning, and extreme cold or heat (it can get down to -30 C here in Ontario, and 30 C is a typical summer day in Australia, but the hottest day I experienced there was 42 C). On those days, outdoor plans get cancelled. A few years ago, a local ski resort was having a free ski day, and I really wanted to go, but it was -29 C that day (and that's here in the city; it would have been colder on top of the mountain), so I couldn't. On the very hottest summer days in Australia, everyone pretty much shuffled from one air-conditioned building to another, and went swimming if they had time. So, sometimes people stay inside, and keep their kids inside, for actual safety reasons. Anyway, James, how did the outdoor school program handle thunder and lightning, or similar safety-related weather concerns? Were there any buildings there at all, that could be used in this event? Walking through the forest in the rain sounds miserable, but walking through the forest in a thunderstorm would be dangerous, because the trees would act as lightning rods.

  36. James Pollock January 4, 2016 at 6:25 pm #

    “That’s all true, but James, you forgot about thunder and lightning, and extreme cold or heat (it can get down to -30 C here in Ontario, and 30 C is a typical summer day in Australia, but the hottest day I experienced there was 42 C)

    I didn’t forget about thunder and lightning. I can count on the fingers of no hands the number of people injured by thunder, and I can count on the fingers of no hands the number of times it has been -30c and raining outside. That leaves lightning… which is a valid concern… on the 2 or 3 days every other year we have lightning that strikes in the valley. And even when we have cloud-to-cloud lightning, it tends to accompanied by hail as often as rain.

    A quick Google search shows that Oregon had 2 lightning deaths in the period from 1990-2003.
    http://lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lls/fatalities_us.html

    ” Anyway, James, how did the outdoor school program handle thunder and lightning”
    By not having any.

    “Were there any buildings there at all, that could be used in this event?”
    There were the cabins, and there was a central hall which had the kitchen and dining facilities. The teachers and staff had separate quarters, probably with electricity, but I was only there as a student and as a counselor, not as staff.

    “walking through the forest in a thunderstorm would be dangerous, because the trees would act as lightning rods.”
    Yeah, but if lightning is going to strike a tree, it’s going to be the ones on top of the mountains, not the ones down in the foothills.

  37. Emily January 4, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

    >>“but it is intended as a substitute for going to the park at specific times when going to the park isn’t feasible”

    And it seems like a fine substitute for those times.

    I guess I didn’t see any point to your comment unless you were referring to substituting it completely for outdoor swinging. Why are you comparing it to the full range of benefits of outdoor swinging for a product that is simply intended to be a substitute for the times when outdoor swinging it not going to happen for whatever reason? The true comparison is not swinging outside vs. swinging inside; but swinging inside vs. not swinging at all.<<

    Well, yes and no. As you and others have mentioned, the Gorilla Gym is the kind of toy that'd be fun for small kids, but pretty much useless for any child bigger than maybe a small six-year-old. Meanwhile, swings on backyard swing sets can hold kids bigger than that, and playground swings can hold adults. Also, there's the question of space, and some houses are more delicate than others–I grew up in a Victorian house that was well over a century old. So, the "swinging inside versus not swinging at all" comparison would only be the case, if all of the following conditions were met:

    1. Child(ren) must be small enough to comfortably and safely swing and climb on the Gorilla Gym (and also mature enough to be able to do so without direct supervision, if it's to be used when "Mom is too busy" to take the kids to the playground).

    2. An adequate space around the door jamb must exist to install the Gorilla Gym.

    3. The door jamb in question must be sturdy enough to install the Gorilla Gym.

    4. Kids must be either co-operative enough to share the Gorilla Gym without argument, or few enough not to exceed the number of Gorilla Gyms in the house.

    5. Kids must be content to use only one component of the Gorilla Gym at a time, until an adult is available to swap out the "plug-in attachments" (does anyone else find that term hilarious?)

    6. Parents must be open to the idea of having this product in their house, even though it might undermine what they've been trying to teach their children about appropriate behaviour for inside versus outside play.

    So, what I see here is a product that might be somewhat useful for docile four-and-five-year-olds with open-minded parents, living in sturdy houses with lots of space, either as only children, or with more than one Gorilla Gym if there's more than one child, but for most other children, it's not going to be much use at all. The kids who need the most movement, vestibular input, proprioceptive input, whatever you want to call it, are the kind of kids who'd probably want to push the limits–swinging on the trapeze is boring, so why not try doing a flip? Jumping out of a playground swing is super fun (admittedly, it is), so why not try it at home, with a mattress set up to land on? I know someone who has two kids, a boy and a girl, both on the autism spectrum. The boy is extremely active, and very strong, but not too bothered with safety. So, he'll do handstand push-ups, scale the top bar of the swings on the school playground, and even though he undoubtedly gets disciplined for doing these things, he has very poor impulse control, so he's not going to think "Gee, the last time I did this, I got detention, because the teacher said I could have hurt myself, so maybe I shouldn't." He needs a LOT of movement, and this is Canada, where we frequently experience winter temperatures that preclude outside play (and playgrounds aren't much fun for a snowsuit-clad kid in the winter anyway), so he's the kind of kid everyone would think of as being the reason why Gorilla Gyms exist, but he would have probably "outgrown" that toy before he was even preschool age. I'm not saying that every kid is like that, but there are probably enough of them out there to put a pretty big dent in the sale of Gorilla Gyms.

  38. Emily January 4, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

    P.S., James, of course it’s not going to be -30 C and raining at the same time; I meant that weather around the -30 C mark alone would be a good enough reason to stay inside.

  39. BL January 4, 2016 at 7:16 pm #

    @Emily
    ” and this is Canada, where we frequently experience winter temperatures that preclude outside play”

    Alas. And I recently read a biography of Bobby Orr, who spent so much of the winters of his youth playing pond hockey in sub-freezing temperatures in Parry Sound. Along with most of the boys his age.

    But Things Were Different Then.

  40. Emily January 4, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    Okay, BL, some kids might be passionate enough about hockey/skiing/snowboarding/whatever, to want to do it when it’s -30 C outside, but other kids (and adults, for that matter) just aren’t the outdoorsy types, or even if they are, they know their limits, and those limits come at or before -30 C. For that matter, some kids might be keen to go outside in that kind of weather, but their parents/teachers/supervising adults might not allow it. I’m not even talking “sub-freezing,” because freezing is at 0 C, which is 32 F, so I can understand why it might be confusing. No, -30 C is a special kind of hell that chills you to the bone, and numbs any exposed skin within a few minutes. I remember at least a few snow days of my youth that weren’t called because the snow was too deep, but because the temperatures were around the -30 C level, the school’s primitive heating system couldn’t keep up (I went to an older school for grades five through eight), and the buses had trouble starting. So, that’s not really “outdoor hockey weather,” it’s “stay inside unless there’s some pressing emergency that requires you to go outside, and even then, dress warmly and hurry back” weather.

  41. Alanna January 4, 2016 at 7:49 pm #

    Looks like a great idea for those folks who live up in the cold, cold north.

  42. James Pollock January 4, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

    “James, of course it’s not going to be -30 C and raining at the same time; I meant that weather around the -30 C mark alone would be a good enough reason to stay inside.”

    I told a story about going outside in the rain.
    I tend to agree that if it were -30c, that would be a good idea to stay inside.
    I didn’t say so, but apparently, I should… if it’s raining enough outside that there’s serious flood danger, that might be a good idea to stay inside, too. It won’t necessarily help, but at least the kids will be easy to locate when the evacuation order comes.

  43. Jennifer January 4, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

    Check out this story woman was arrested and charged with neglect for leaving a 7 year old and a 10 year old in the disney store for an hour http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Mom-Left-Girls-in-Disney-Store-Went-Shopping-in-Mall-Pembroke-Pines-Police-364157431.html?_osource=SocialFlowFB_MIBrand

  44. Donald January 4, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

    Some products get recalled for safety reasons that are so ridiculous that they make your head spin. (beware of sandals that have plastic flowers or bugs on them that can break off and can be swallowed) Now they can bring out a Gorilla Gym that can be installed next to a window, near a picture on the wall (framed and behind glass) or next to a door that has glass in it. When kids play, they aren’t real careful about swinging straight. (I sure wasn’t) I can imagine ankles banging on door frames and walls. It was fun to jump off the swing. Now kids can jump off a swing into the kitchen or land on a coffee table instead of the rubberized ground.

    In spite of this, I don’t think it’s a dangerous product. People are responsible for their own action and can wash all the scuff marks off the walls. I just think the double standard is interesting.

  45. Emily January 4, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

    Well, James, I didn’t even know if “inside” existed at outdoor school, because some forest schools (admittedly day schools for early elementary-school aged kids) don’t even have buildings; they’re just a gaggle of kids and adults who go exploring in the forest every day, and some “wilderness adventure” programs for older kids don’t have buildings either; they just have tents (either canvas platform tents, or just the regular kind), or they have the participants make shelters out of things found in nature. Since I’ve never seen this outdoor school, and you didn’t say the name of the outdoor school, so I couldn’t Google it, I had no way of knowing. Also, side note, I did witness a flood once; it was my third year of university. Melted snow and rain from an early-winter thaw made the river near campus overflow, nobody could get in or out, and classes had to be cancelled for a few days, because some of the classrooms were damaged by flooding, and also because people who weren’t physically present on campus at the time of the flooding (since it happened on a weekend) weren’t able to get to their classes in the first place.

  46. James Pollock January 4, 2016 at 10:32 pm #

    “Since I’ve never seen this outdoor school, and you didn’t say the name of the outdoor school, so I couldn’t Google it, I had no way of knowing.”

    The second word of my post had the name. The name was (and still is) “Outdoor School”, and it’s fully Google-able. The sentence after that says that the kids are taken to a summer camp.

    ” Also, side note, I did witness a flood once”
    Me, too. twenty years ago, now. My daughter was an infant at the time. I live in an area called “Rock Creek”, which is named, not surprisingly, for the creek that runs through the neighborhood, I could walk to the flooded-out golf-course if I’d wanted to do so, but it never threatened my home at the time. It didn’t even make my commute to work longer, which is more than some of my coworkers could say, since some of them saw a normally 15-minute commute extended to over 2 hours because the one bridge over Dairy Creek was underwater. My mother lived in a houseboat at the time, and they just went up higher and higher, of course… until the parking lot on the bank was under water. Imagine it… a string of homes, connected to a floating dock, on pilings that normally tower overhead but are looking ominously short. The bridge/walkway that normally goes from the bank down to the dock now goes from the dock down into the river, with a couple of hundred yards of water to cross to get to dry land.

  47. James Pollock January 4, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

    “The second word of my post had the name.”
    er, second sentence.

  48. MomOf8 January 4, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

    Heh heh. Can I sue when someone cracks their little skull on our concrete floor?

  49. SanityAnyone? January 4, 2016 at 10:40 pm #

    I think it’s cool and I would definitely buy a set for $20 at a yard sale. Motion is good.

  50. James Pollock January 4, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

    “Can I sue when someone cracks their little skull on our concrete floor?”

    Wow, you’d sue your own child? I guess things get different once you have enough of them running around. I thought the sleep deprivation from one was bad enough…

  51. CrazyCatLady January 4, 2016 at 11:29 pm #

    The way the parks and schools are going, this is the only way a child is going to have a swing. I bet that by the time my kids are buying their own houses, that one of the questions the insurance company will ask is: “Do you have a swing in the yard? If yes, add $500 per month to your rate.”

    Our school district is phasing out swings. All new schools are built without them. Old schools are having them removed. Too dangerous. Yet…our school is a homeschool/school hybrid, and we were next to an elementary school. I think the high school kids used the swings more than the younger kids. But when we were built a new school…”no, we don’t have playground equipment for teens! They don’t NEED it.” Bull pucky! They need to move around as much as or more than the little kids!

  52. James Pollock January 5, 2016 at 12:40 am #

    Catlady, in my area the trend over the last 15-20 years has been to build big giant houses on tiny little lots, and build a small communal playground somewhere in the development. I HAD noticed that seesaws were phased out of playgrounds, but I haven’t noticed a lack of swings. They certainly haven’t been phased out of the schoolyard.

  53. Yocheved January 5, 2016 at 4:10 am #

    I also hate the tone of fear in the ad. However, if you live somewhere like Seattle, where it rains 10 months out of the year, this could be a sanity saver. I can also see this as a really great piece of equipment for a kid with special needs to is constantly sensory seeking. Not everyone has a full basement or garage that they can convert into a proper playroom.

  54. Andy January 5, 2016 at 4:38 am #

    @BL “Alas. And I recently read a biography of Bobby Orr, who spent so much of the winters of his youth playing pond hockey in sub-freezing temperatures in Parry Sound. Along with most of the boys his age.”

    Sure. We played a lot in winter too. However, not in every single weather. Judging from discussions with grandmothers, they did not played outside in all winter weather either. And I strongly doubt those boys were playing pond hockey in -30C in wind or in combination of strong wind and snow back then. They could have played if they lived in place where wind and cold don’t get that bad.

    There is huge big difference between “sub-freezing” and -30 C. I have seen guys doing sport in just long sleeve t-shirt in sub-freezing temperature with no wind (but they have to move constantly and get inside to dry up right after). On the other hand, outside -30C really requires a lot of cloth. It is simply not the kind of temperature where kids play ice hockey on the pond causally and comfortably.

    Have you ever been skiing? It is difference between on top where nobody sticks around for more then minimal gear setup (or even skips that and does it only after descending bit down) due to weather being uncomfortable despite good cloth and bottom where some people put down jackets while they drink warm tea.

    Have you ever seen strong fog (or snow with strong wind) in winter? Adults got lost near own village, in location they knew well and frozen because they did not seen enough to find the way home and you freeze fast in that weather. There is that kind of weather where you barely see 20meters or have hard time to stand cause the wind is strong. That kind of weather is not rare in many places.

    Yes, if you are down and lake is protected by mountains against wind, you can play hockey on it a lot. Plenty of places are not like that through.

  55. sexhysteria January 5, 2016 at 5:50 am #

    A compromise is to put signs outside welcoming neighbors, visitors, etc to play inside with these poor, isolated kids.

  56. Katie January 5, 2016 at 6:55 am #

    The reason it looks like fun is the very fact that swings aren’t expected to be indoors! (fwiw, when I was a kid my dad rigged up a little trapeze in the basement playroom for me, in addition to the swing set outdoors that was so well built that my own kids are still using it some thirty years later.)

  57. Warren January 5, 2016 at 8:23 am #

    As for the Bobby Orr stories, get something straight. Parry Sound and surrounding areas get some of the nastiest winter weather you can get.

    Things have changed. Humans are progressively becoming weaker and wimpier. Back when Bobby Orr was playing on the ponds and the bays, that is basically all there was, other than his league. If you wanted to play you did so outside. Hell there used to be only a few indoor rinks, most public rinks were outdoors.

    And -30 is SFA to kids and adults. Emily, look at what you are saying. Most people into skiing, snowmobiling and other OUTDOOR sports, are outdoor enthusiasts, and don’t give a rat’s behind about minus 30. They dress for it. -30 is not and never will be dangerous.

    Problem is parent’s these days, school’s and policy makers are wimps. Pure and simple. Not only do they not kick their kid’s butts outside to play, they actually stop them when they do want to go out. My kids wanted to go sledding in -30 and worse, I never stopped them. I held the door open for them, and when I was done doing my chores would join them.

    If it is cold, dress for it. It is not that hard to understand.

  58. Andy January 5, 2016 at 8:48 am #

    @Warren Diesel motors have problems working at -30C temperature. Ski lifts are much more likely to break temporary at that temperature. Your face is not covered up unless you have mask and dress to be comfortable in such temperature is different (and more expensive) then one you are fine in at -10, especially when there is also wind and not much sun.

    At -30c, even snow gets sticky – it is much slower then at -15c.

    So, it sound to me that it is just that winter where you live is actually mild and the danger of frostbite very low. Snow does not melting does not count as strong winter.

    It is not that those temperatures are not doable with great equipment and experience, but people living in those areas were never causally sledging at those temperatures. Traditionally, they would stay inside and warm unless they really had to.

  59. BL January 5, 2016 at 9:10 am #

    @Warren
    “As for the Bobby Orr stories, get something straight. Parry Sound and surrounding areas get some of the nastiest winter weather you can get.”

    I’ll have to check the book again at the library (it’s an oldie: Bobby Orr: My Game, written while he was still an active player). I seem to remember descriptions of ponds or rivers frozen six feet solid – if mere sub-freezing temps could do that, we’d have that in Pennsylvania. But we don’t.

  60. lollipoplover January 5, 2016 at 9:32 am #

    I don’t have a problem with this product, I DO have a problem with the marketing.

    We’ve micromanaged outdoor play (does anyone have a homemade tree or tire swing anymore?) with equipment, proper surfaces, and apparently weather. Too sunny, too hot, too cold, too rainy, and so on. It’s a modern day Goldilocks and the hothouse flower children. What is safe is indoors and with proper supervision. A generation of children who are losing any natural connection to the environment for physical and mental outlets. It’s this “Indoor” marketing that grates me.

    I see it too with pets. An entire aisle at PetSmart is for owners of indoor-only dogs. I think I stared at the WizDog indoor dog potty for a good 5 minutes before realizing that this was a REAL thing- keeping dogs indoors only. I looked down at my 3 happy dogs who need regular outdoor runs for their health and sanity(and mine) and realized that many people are doing this to children, too. Outdoors is increasingly inconvenient. It’s easier to buy a WizDog instead of taking the dog for a walk to sniff around and meet other dogs. Better to to install a Gorilla Gym in the doorway instead of a bike ride to see if there’s any other kids in the neighborhood who want to play.

    And “It’s Safe!”.
    How?
    Indoor, household accidents such as falls are the leading cause of injury in young children. I believe they account for 70% of ER visits for children under 5. This makes perfect sense because it’s where they spend most of their time, inside their own homes, climbing the walls.

  61. Donna January 5, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    “the Gorilla Gym is the kind of toy that’d be fun for small kids, but pretty much useless for any child bigger than maybe a small six-year-old. Meanwhile, swings on backyard swing sets can hold kids bigger than that”

    Again, you are comparing the Gorilla Gym to outdoor swings as if we can only have and use one of them and MUST choose between them. It is actually possible to have a Gorilla Gym AND outdoor play area. It is also possible grow up without a backyard to put a backyard playground in, but have this for when you can’t go to the park. It is also possible to grow up in a rental home with a landlord who refuses to allow you to install a backyard playground so you get this to use for when you can’t go to the park. It is also possible to grow up without enough money to afford the much more expensive backyard playground, but be able to afford this much cheaper item for times when you can’t go to the park.

    Further, you clearly don’t have children. Kids grow and their interests constantly change. I didn’t buy a single toy with the idea in mind that it would last for the entirety of my child’s childhood. I realized that the fit would be finite before I bought it. Whether this would be something I would buy, fully understanding that it would only see use for a few years, would depend on the price (which I didn’t pay attention to). But, even then, I understand that my decision in this area is based solely on my personal finances and not on everyone else in the world’s personal finances and everyone else may make a completely different decision. My personal decision has no bearing on whether the item should be created and marketed as I am not the whole of the population.

    But, yes, you are correct that this is not a product that will be desirable to every single parent on the planet. I wasn’t aware that free range kids took the view that any product that is not usable and desirable by 100% of parents in existence then it should not be available for any.

  62. Warren January 5, 2016 at 10:11 am #

    Andy,
    What diesel motors are you dealing with? I deal with them everyday. All our service trucks are diesel, all our commercial clients vehicles are diesel.

    Basic rules for diesel vehicles, and you never have a problem.

    1. Never shut the engine off unless you can plug it in.
    2. Never let the vehicle sit shut off with less than half a tank of fuel.
    3. Never fill without using fuel conditioner.
    4. Proper maintenance at all time ensuring good batteries, and charging.

    Follow those and your diesel will never give you a problem. As a matter of fact diesels are the preferred engine for many of those that work in cold climates.

    And I live in Ontario, and -30 is something we see on a regular basis. Hell with the windchill -40 and below is not uncommon.

    For the record there has been many times in those temperatures that people in my line of work, myself included, are out on the side of the highway in the middle of the night changing tires on trucks and buses.

    Expensive equipment? What world are you from. Snowsuit, boots, gloves/mitts, balaclava and you are good to go. Like in most things, you can either do or you can just make excuses.

  63. Donna January 5, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    People are not skiing in -30 weather, at least not at commercial ski areas. I’ve been skiing when the lifts shut down, solely due to temperature, at much warmer temperatures than that. And this was in the 70s.

    But, yes, some enthusiasts do practice their art in extreme weather. The fact is that most of us are not enthusiasts and sports are not our art. We do actually consider the weather before we decide to do outside things for enjoyment (as opposed to those things that we must do even if it is raining). And even those enthusiasts are not out doing their thing in extreme weather all day. They do their workout and then go inside. And things, like splashing in puddles, that are fun the first day or two it rains, become boring and uncomfortable as we drag into the 4th and 5th and 6th days.

  64. Andy January 5, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    @Warren Yes warren, everywhere else, including damm Russia and Finland and including fans of extreme sport -40 windchill is taken seriously and has impact on how snow behaves when skiing and sledging. Except where you live, where people behave outside the same way as when it is -10c and weather does not impact anything.

    The ski outfit I have is perfectly comfortable at -10 and totally not at -30. Better one cost more and I am simply not willing to pay that much. I know what the difference between those temperatures is on fingers (especially when you need to do something without gloves) and face. But hey, maybe it is much cheaper for you, it is perfectly possible. In that case, know that plenty of people do not have such luck.

    I also know people who do outdoor sports obsessively, including extreme skiing and climbing and I can tell you with certainty that they all take weather seriously. Mostly because, there is that thing about frostbite being real thing and winter mountains taking lives being known statistic.

    And people are all getting wimpier, as proven by extreme sports doing less and less in easier and easier weather. Wait, except not, they do more stuff in more extreme weather, primary because gear and clothing materials being completely different against what used to be.

  65. Donna January 5, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    “Like in most things, you can either do or you can just make excuses.”

    Or you can simply decide that what you are doing is supposed to be a pleasurable experience and the weather is going to make it not pleasurable so you are not going to do it right now. Life is full of things that we must do despite the weather. For most of us, there is no obligation on us to swing or ski or skate or hike. We do those things because we enjoy them and for no other reason whatsoever. The fact that we may not want to continue to do them when the weather makes it less than enjoyable should not be surprising. Nor does the fact that we don’t want to ski in -30 degree weather say anything about us other than we don’t find skiing in -30 degree weather pleasurable. Vast numbers of people continue to do things that are necessary, like work, despite choosing not to do things that they don’t have to do because the weather makes doing them unpleasant.

  66. Donna January 5, 2016 at 10:55 am #

    “People are not skiing in -30 weather, at least not at commercial ski areas. I’ve been skiing when the lifts shut down, solely due to temperature, at much warmer temperatures than that. And this was in the 70s.”

    I guess I should say that people are not always skiing at -30 degree weather. I have been at commercial skiing areas when they closed down due to cold at warmer temperatures than that, but I am sure not every ski resort in the world does so.

  67. Warren January 5, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Andy,

    You choose to not purchase the equipment you need. Not anyone’s issue but yours. I have never seen hills shut down because of cold. I have seen them somewhat empty, but not shut down. Season is way to short these days, and they have to take everyday they can get.

    If it were up to people like you the country would come to a stand still, because it is too cold, too wet, too hot or whatever. Then there are those of us that say dress and prepare and get your butt out there.

    Have had trainees over the years refuse to work outside because they thought it was too cold. They found themselves out of work within minutes of their refusal.

  68. BL January 5, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    “I’ll have to check the book again at the library”

    Back to Bobby Orr.

    It says 40 below wasn’t unusual, ice was 3-4 feet thick on the Seguin, Bobby would skate for hours until his face was frozen, go in and sit next to a hot stove for a while, then go back out.

    Gorilla gyms were not mentioned 🙂

  69. Donna January 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    “Have had trainees over the years refuse to work outside because they thought it was too cold. They found themselves out of work within minutes of their refusal.”

    Again, a beyond HUGE difference between a person who refuses to do necessary activities, such as their job, due to the weather (unless it is genuinely unsafe) and a person who chooses not to engage in 100% voluntary pleasure activities because the weather makes them less than pleasurable to them. Outside of ski instructors and professional skiers, nobody is required to ski on any particular day or at all. The only reason whatsoever to ski on any given day is because you are getting enjoyment from doing so. If you are not getting enjoyment for any reason whatsoever, why exactly would you do it? What is it that you are trying to prove and to whom … because, honestly, nobody on the planet other than you cares in the least if or when you ski?

    “If it were up to people like you the country would come to a stand still, because it is too cold, too wet, too hot or whatever.”

    There are billions of people on the planet who don’t ski in -30 degree weather. The world has not yet ceased to function, so I think we are pretty safe.

  70. Warren January 5, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    Donna,

    “There are billions of people on the planet who don’t ski in -30 degree weather. ”

    And of those, how many moan and groan that they “couldn’t” get out to ski as much because it was too cold? Most of them. That is the point.

    Far too often people blame cold or hot for not being “able” to do what they want. That is what I am getting at. If you choose not to do it, but then blame the weather……….then it does fall into the either you do it or make excuses, category. Which goes to my point that years ago parents did not make their kids stay inside because it was too cold. Now they do. Raising generations of wimps.

    BL,
    As for Bobby Orr, don’t for a minute think he was out there alone. He would have been out there with dozens of others.

  71. lollipoplover January 5, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    @Warren-

    My kids are in the ski club at their middle school. In the past 3 years, and we’ve had some frigid winters in the NE, we’ve only had one rescheduled trip. It was for icy conditions (not good for driving or skiing). It is FREEZING outside today and you couldn’t pay me to ski in this or even walk my dogs (I tried- put jackets on them too-no go), but the ski club still goes and if they need to warm up outside of the high tech ski gear that keeps them pretty toasty, they have these places called LODGES with fireplaces where they can get hot cocoa and take breaks. Cold weather isn’t for everyone, but it’s not dangerous either if you dress properly.

    On the other hand, my elementary daughter walked to school today dressed for cold temps but will not have outdoor recess. They will give them indoor recess if the temps fall below freezing (it’s 11 degrees now) because many parents don’t dress their kids for any outside time (some don’t even wear winter jackets as they are driven door to door). She’ll probably watch a movie or playing games for recess. Recess is indoor if it’s raining and when we get snow, they are not allowed to play in it or even touch it.

    6 classes of children play on blacktop only that is covered in rock salt. The congested blacktop has more running collisions and the rock salt acts like a bag of marbles to encourage sliding and slipping. My daughter comes home with holey and corroded pants from wipeouts at recess. Still, she prefers it to sitting indoors and we don’t send her to school wearing precious clothes (thank heavens for Target $5 leggings). She loves outdoor recess time and needs it in her school day, but increasingly recess is being restricted for weather and temperature related *safety issues*.

  72. James Pollock January 5, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    The schools here have been closed for the last two days because there’s about a half-inch of snow on the ground (with freezing rain in the forecast)

    This has pretty much nothing to do with whether or not children can, will, should, or must play outside, and everything to do with whether or not the school buses can maneuver their routes without being involved in an accident.

    Because we get snow that sticks to the ground about once every two years, the people who live here never master driving in the stuff. I did, but at least 50%, and probably closer to 90%, of the other people trying to drive around simply do not know what they are doing, and get where they are going more because of luck and because everyone who can, stays off the roads.

    It’s thoroughly different here than in places that get, and keep, snow and ice routinely.

  73. hineata January 5, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

    @Andy – yeah, I would imagine wind would be a big factor in how safe it is to be outside in snow. When snow is just sitting there, and it’s just cold, if people want to or have to they could just rug up and get on with it…

    @Warren – you mention people weakening. Down here we seem to have the opposite problem. Since people stopped working their way up through the ranks of jobs, there is a bit of a disconnect between managers and staff, and indeed customers and businesses, about what is safe for workers to be out in and what isn’t. My father as a manager would back workers up if they were unwilling to reattach wires to poles in very high winds (and being Wellington, we mean very high), and indeed customers were usually happy to wait also. Their telephones didn’t warrant people risking their lives to fix them.

    These days, people seem less willing to put up with any interruption to services of many kinds, even when it’s possible to look out the window and see that, gee, it’s pretty darn dangerous conditions out there. And managers who’ve missed out on being field workers seem to miss the danger too, and expect their blokes to be out in ridiculous conditions.

    We should shunt our kids outside for a few minutes at a time in extreme weather (when roofing iron isn’t actually flying past the house, or there isn’t a whiteout etc) just to give them a healthy respect for nature. And then let them back in to play on their indoor gyms, bunkers etc.

  74. BL January 5, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

    @Donna
    “As for Bobby Orr, don’t for a minute think he was out there alone. He would have been out there with dozens of others.”

    Which is what I said when I first mentioned him: “Along with most of the boys his age.”

  75. Warren January 5, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    hineata,

    I don’t think it is so much the disconnect between management and labor, though it is part of it. I think it is the customers themselves. The people these days are far too demanding and far to entitled to put up with service disruption. Many of those customers also being businesses that not only are not making money when services are disrupted, but start to lose money the moment services are cut.

    The thing is if it is truly unsafe, the worker does have the right to refuse. He/she just needs to make sure they document everything, so that when the Ministry of Labor here, gets involved they have their facts in order. I have seen a few such incidents and when the refusing worker is organized and presents well, the Ministry always backs them.

    I have supsended operations and sent people home early due to ice storm conditions. Never have we suspended operations because of cold.

  76. Mr. Brian Jon Foster January 5, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

    Kids MUST BE 18 YEARS OR OLDER TO ORDER THIS.

  77. Ravana January 5, 2016 at 8:54 pm #

    I have no problem with this product for kids with special needs. Great idea. But it isn’t being marketed as a sensory device for kids with special needs. It is being marketed as “you kid is a hothouse rose and totally useless.”.

    Trying to cook dinner and your child is stuck in the house because there is bolt lightning or a tornado coming? Put him to work! In our household babies sat on the floor and played with pots and spoons, toddlers stood on chairs and poured in ingredients, preschoolers helped measure and set the table, kindergarten and older were sou chefs, line workers and did KP.

    And btw, -30 C is not too cold to play outside. That is only -22 F. Go to your local library and ask for the book Recess at 20 Below by Cindy Lou Aillaud. I’ll admit the school sets an outdoor recess limit of -20 F (about -29 C) but most of those kids walk to school in colder temps. Playing outside in well below zero weather is a cherished childhood memory. We loved spitting to see if it was cold enough for it to freeze before it hit the ground. You knew it was really cold if you heard a POP!

  78. Dolly January 8, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    these have their uses. For people that live in super cold climates like Alaska or Minnesota where its frigid half the year something like this for indoors can be good for kids to burn off energy.
    swings free around there I am guessing

    They also are good for kids like my son with autism who likes to swing for sensory issues and can do so in any weather rain or shine-cold or hot.

  79. Warren January 8, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

    Alaska and Minn. are frigid half the year? You don’t travel much do you.

    Gotta love people from the south, and that could be the problem. People that grow up in places with real winter climates don’t hunker down and hide from it. They enjoy it.

  80. hineata January 9, 2016 at 1:30 am #

    @Warren -storms are an issue. Cold weather sans stormy and dangerous conditions, yes I would imagine one would simply rug up and get on with it. Good on you for sending your blokes home when it’s actually dangerous.

    Cold weather isn’t everything. We had a storm yesterday, summer so the temperature didn’t get below about 10 degrees centigrade. But I wasn’t out in it long as the puppy kept getting swung about on his lead, and the gusts were blowing bits of tree around my head. Usually quite like the wind, but am interested in keeping my skull intact ☺☺.

  81. Warren January 9, 2016 at 3:19 am #

    hineata,

    We used to love storms like that. We used to take out the crazy carpets and kinda borrow trash can lids. Find hard snow or ice, sit on the carpet, and use the lids to catch the wind. The races were awesome back then to us.

    But yes storms are an issue, but face it we don’t get them everyday, all day, all winter. Honestly I can remember being at the window monitoring the storm, and trying to convince my parents it had died down enough. The phones would be ringing, because all the kids were doing the same thing, and parents were consulting each other on the conditions. Really, they probably let us go out earlier than they wanted to, just to shut us the hell up.

  82. Warren January 9, 2016 at 3:23 am #

    hineata,

    As for sending my guys home, there is no way I want their death or injury on my head. Mind you I get lectured by my bride, because I handle the service calls instead. The danger isn’t my trucks getting into a mess. It is servicing a transport on the side of the highway, when someone loses control. I have taught all my guys how to place our trucks as a barrier to protect them. But at highway speeds it only really gives them an extra second or two to get out of the way.

  83. Emily January 9, 2016 at 10:17 pm #

    Warren–the crazy carpet and garbage can lid ice sailing sounds fun. Did you do this on flat ground, or downhill? I remember running and sliding on strips of ice as a kid (it was a popular winter recess activity, and the teachers allowed it back then, albeit with close supervision), but ice sailing sounds much more creative.

  84. Warren January 10, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    Emily,
    After some good freezing rain, we used to do it right down the street. Or on the school’s field.

    Our downhill sledding included a jump of about five or six feet over the creek that ran in the bottom of the ravine. We also used an old car hood that we waxed up with ski wax. Now that thing was fast, with two or four of us on it. Our tail bones were in a state of perma-bruise all winter.

  85. hineata January 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    Jealous much….I had no snow or ice. But we certainly played in the wind. Usually flying with jackets.

    This last storm blew quite a bit about though. Hubby enjoyed being pushed uphill back to his car after a job, but that joy was somewhat diminished by having to keep turning his head to see what was following him up the street ☺.

    At the risk of turning this even more Monty Pythonish ( I luuuvvve the Four Yorkshireman) for fun you might want to Google ‘how windy is Wellington?’….people would have a heap more fun in these areas if it weren’t for cars ☺

  86. Warren January 10, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

    hineata,

    That waxed up car hood flew downhill on grass like a rocket. Mind you the ground is a little less forgiving than snow. LOL>

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