Turns Out You Can Just Ignore the Killjoy Rules

Indoor playgrounds run by private companies are rife with rules, some sane, and some simply sops to over-reaching insurance policies. While I don’t recommend creating havoc or embarrassing any staff, a  little civil disobedience in the name of sanity, fun and childhood seems good. – L

Dear Free-Range Kids: I wanted to share this experience, because it was eye-opening for me.

I agreed to participate in a Field Trip today with my 2 and 1/2 year old’s Day Care. We loaded about 45 toddlers into a bus and headed off to one of these indoor play-centres that are all the rage these days in Montreal, were the super-long winters put a premium on indoor play space.

As soon as we got there, I realized right away we’d come to Worst First Play Centre of Gloom. The very first thing the dour, cheerless playcentre staff did was make our 45 toddlers sit down and go through a long, excitement-sapping safety briefing explaining all the fun things they wouldn’t be allowed to do inside: no running, no throwing balls at each other, no excitement. You could feel the cheer just drain out of the room.

But I noticed one thing: our Day Care staff were shooting sly glances at one another the whole time. Glances that said “shaaa right!” Our kid goes to a wonderful, play-centered Day Care that was certainly not about to let this arbitrary rule-making get in the way of everyone’s fun. To my enormous relief, I realized what their game-plan was: the second the kids were let in, the Day Care staff let the kids go wild!

And that’s when it hit me: if your values are in the right place and you’re confident enough to follow them through, you can just flout the dumb rules and stand up for kids’ right to play.

Our kid had a blast. Everyone did! Nobody got hurt. Nobody was going to get hurt! And faced with the overwhelming facts-on-the-ground of 45 kids and 12 adults running riot through their playground, the Soviet-style staff sort of slunk off into a corner and didn’t say anything. What could they do? We had strength in numbers, and we made it count. — Montreal Dad

Site of the revolution? No, just a no-rights photo of an indoor playground.

Site of the revolution? No, just a no-rights photo of an indoor playground.

 

44 Responses to Turns Out You Can Just Ignore the Killjoy Rules

  1. Harrow May 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    Great Story!

    You have the moral high ground here because you are also brave enough to refrain from suing the play center in the event that one of the kids does get a bump or scratch.

  2. CMBG May 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    “And that’s when it hit me: if your values are in the right place and you’re confident enough to follow them through, you can just flout the dumb rules and stand up for kids’ right to play.” — Also if you have enough of a crowd to intimidate the people who own the facility you’re using, and if you’re not members of an ethnic minority who might get the police called on them. Then, yes, break the rules, because the end justifies the means.

  3. BL May 18, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    When joy is killjoyed, only killjoys will have joy.

  4. ifsogirl May 18, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    This makes me smile

  5. SOA May 18, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    Yes and no.

    I am okay with letting kids go and play and have fun. But some kids do do jerky or dangerous things and I get pissed if staff or their parents don’t step in and shut it down.

    The kid trying to climb up the slide inflatable while my kid is going down and then my kid gets hurt when they run into them, I am going to be mad. The big kids running like banshees through the little kid area is going to piss me off and I have chased many big kids out of the toddler areas at play places.

    So I mean yes, let the kids go play and have fun. But staff and parents still need to supervise and step in when needed. Because let’s face it, some kids are assholes.

  6. Montreal Dad May 18, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    SOA,

    Well of course! Our Day Care staff were right there watching the kids the whole time and taking *context*aware* decisions to BALANCE the need to keep everyone safe but also to make sure everyone was having fun. But this kind of engaged, watching, caring attitude is poles apart from the kinds of rigid, context-blind, joy-sapping rules posted on the wall.

    I mean, “no running”?!? Really?! IN A PLAYGROUND?!! Have these people ever met an actual 3 year old in an exciting fun place? Or are they working off of the wikipedia entry for “man cub”??

  7. Lisa May 18, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

    No need to be a jerk. If you don’t like the rules, build your own indoor play place. But being proud about breaking rules just makes you that jerk that ruins it for the rest of us.

  8. SOA May 18, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    Warren: considering my kids are sometimes the big kids running over the little toddlers now and I jump on my kids and make them stop and get onto them, no, it is not all about my kids. It is about doing the right thing no matter who you are.

  9. manny May 18, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”

  10. Jennifer May 18, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    Well, it’s a playground, but it’s an indoor playground. So regardless of purpose, it’s a confined space owned by someone who is liable if anything happens in said space. I agree that it’s a little silly to expect small children to listen to a safety spiel highlighting all the things that they can’t do upon entering. However, I also think that teaching them that rules we don’t like don’t apply to us is a setting a dangerous precedent. If I had a no shoe policy in my home, I would expect for all the people who came to my house to take off their shoes, even if they thought the rule was stupid. It’s just good manners to behave according to the house rules.

  11. J.T. Wenting May 19, 2014 at 12:00 am #

    It worked because you were there with a large group, and adults who could be sued and held liable if “something happened, because we did what we could”.

    If you’re there alone with your child, you’re going to get thrown out or worse.

  12. BL May 19, 2014 at 5:07 am #

    Would using the word “play” in their name constitute false advertising? It appears that isn’t the purpose of this place at all. More like a sit-down-and-shut-up-centre.

  13. Crystal May 19, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    We have a place like this with posters plastered everywhere advertising the rules. I decided I would follow them as soon as the staff could print a banner that wasn’t riddled with spelling and punctuation errors. So I’m fairly confident I’m good to go for now.

  14. Puzzled May 19, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    The problem arises when you don’t have strength in numbers – when you’re surrounded by crazy sheep-types (and yes, I realize it could arise that everyone assumes this is the case, but I know this isn’t what’s happening because of conversations I have.) Where I am, everyone around me thinks dumb rules like this are necessary, so it would be just me, and I would have the moral high ground, but not the strength in numbers.

  15. E May 19, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    I’m with @CMBG — can’t get on board with someone who decides a place of business should be run by their own rules and the fact that the staff was outnumbered justified it.

    I can understand that it’s difficult in some cases to corral/control small kids. It’s the boasting about it that is just a turnoff.

    I love that staffers (people just trying to keep their jobs) are labeled “Soviet style staff”. Nice touch!

  16. pentamom May 19, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    I think the play center was just wrong here.

    BUT, it was someone else’s property. You just don’t get to set the rules of how you’re going to behave on someone else’s property. Suggest that the daycare refrain from patronizing that play center in the future, and inform the center why this is the case. Volunteer to research play centers to suggest to the daycare for the future.

  17. Puzzled May 19, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    >I love that staffers (people just trying to keep their jobs) are labeled “Soviet style staff”. Nice >touch!

    Ahem. You don’t like them being called “Soviet style,” yet in explaining their actions you make use of a popular explanation in the 40’s. I guess you’re right, we shouldn’t describe that as Soviet style, since the Soviets were an Allied power for most of the war.

    Anyway, hyperbole aside, I don’t understand all the ‘private property’ arguments here. I’m a libertarian, I believe in private property, but I don’t believe it trumps all else. I think you have the right to set reasonable restrictions on the use of your property, and that what is reasonable is ultimately a social decision – and varies on to what degree you allow others free access. A business has decided to allow people unknown to the owners to enter, and I think this sets a higher bar for reasonable restrictions. If what is reasonable is a social decision, then one person deciding they won’t obey the rules might not have the high ground, but a substantial portion of the customers, as it was in this case, might in fact have it.

    You can’t hide all manner of behavior behind the walls of private property. Restricting free movement in unreasonable ways is one of the things that I think can’t be shoved behind the private property explanation.

  18. pentamom May 19, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    Puzzled — try taking a nap at the furniture store sometime, or climbing up the utility ladders at the warehouse club. Maybe you can hold your book club discussion in the middle of the reading area at the library. None of those are destructive and they’re things you’re generally allowed to do, but not on other people’s stuff without their permission.

    A business that’s open to the public doesn’t have the right to restrict *all* kinds of behavior within its walls, but they certainly do have the right to dictate *how their facilities are going to be used.* Since this is a play center, they get to set the rules on how play is going to be conducted.

  19. Steve S May 19, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    Puzzled, I am puzzled by your argument. While I am no expert on libertarianism, I was under the impression that property owners had the right to decide how to use their property and could condition entry upon an agreement to certain conditions. A business that decides to ignore what most people want will ultimately fail.

  20. Havva May 19, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    “Nobody got hurt. Nobody was going to get hurt!”

    That sounds like the wrong expectation, if you want to promote an environment where kids can actually play in pay grounds.

    The last several birthday parties I have been to, the kids were allowed/encouraged to run around, climb, jump, etc. And in each case one or more kid got hurt. At the most favored pay ground, it seems to be a bit of a tradition for the birthday boy/girl to be hurt when the guests start arriving. At my last visit the birthday girl had a pretty good lip bleed.

    And what makes the most favored pay ground great is that they just calmly take care of minor injures. Their manner inspires the kids (and helicopter parents) to totally trust them. The bleeding birthday girl’s mom was inform of the incident after the girl was sent back off to play. I’ve seen more helicopter prone parents, try to jump in, but they were told in a calm firm tone: “We’ll take care of this, it’s okay.” And once they talked to the boy they told his mom “He will be playing again in a minute.” And of course he was, and his parents love the place!

    It seems like a place that really is set to encourage physical activity in kids will have frequent minor accidents. And with the right attitudes and first aid, the pay ground doesn’t need to fear helicopters over reacting.

  21. anonymous mom May 19, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    I can’t tell from the picture what kind of play center this is. If it’s truly an “indoor playground,” then I agree a no-running rule is silly (although I do think that, if you don’t like the rules for a playground, you can simply find another with rules you do agree with or suck it up and obey the rules). But, if it’s like the children’s play centers I’m aware of, it’s more like a series of activity centers, and the activities are such that kids can keep entertained without either running or throwing things at each other.

    We have an area like that in our local science center. There is also a no running/no throwing rule. Honestly, the rules make sense to me. In general, indoor locations have no-running rules, because they can get crowded and people don’t want to be bumped into; that’s impolite. I mean, I don’t think an excited kid running from one activity to another is a huge deal–and I’ve never seen the staff at our center freak out about it–but if my kids decided “Screw the rules; we’re playing tag in here,” I would not be okay with it. Same with throwing the balls in ball pits. Sure, no serious physical harm is going to be done. But, a bunch of kids throwing the balls at each other is at the very least going to mean that most of the balls end up all over the floor rather than in the pits where kids can actually enjoy them. Plus, you often have kids of all ages, and you don’t really need 6yos hurling balls at 2yos. I’ve never known of a ball pit where throwing balls at other kids WAS allowed.

    Which is to say, the no running/no throwing rules sound perfectly reasonable to me, given the setting. I’m not sure the fear is so much kids getting hurt–which I agree is unlikely–but rather just wanting to maintain a somewhat pleasant and welcoming environment. I mean, libraries don’t have rules about quiet voices because they think loud voices will kill somebody, but simply because quiet voices are conducive to the activities the library is designed for. It’s possible that the kind of play this center wants to facilitate is going to be better able to happen if kids aren’t running around and throwing things, but instead using the play centers as intended.

    I’m not saying anybody has to think that’s the best way to play, or that I necessarily do, but large groups of children running and throwing things can make huge messes and break things REALLY fast, and I can’t blame people trying to run an indoor playcenter from trying their best to avoid that.

  22. anonymous mom May 19, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Just to add, I’m sure the rules are in place to prevent havoc. I know, even with just my three kids, how long it takes from the game to go to “Let’s play with the stuffed animals” to “Let’s throw the stuffed animals at each other” to “Everybody is screaming and stampeding like elephants, and stuffed animals are flying everywhere and knocking stuff off the shelves, and mom’s about to lose it.” And, realistically, the fun of throwing around toys usually lasts about 5-10 minutes, after which point everybody is annoyed and nobody wants to clean up the giant mess they just made.

  23. E May 19, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    @puzzled. First off, I just hate name-calling/labels/whatever. Second, maybe it’s because I have kids the age that might end up working a place like that, but I imagine they are just trying to do their job. They aren’t employed by the govt, they aren’t govt officials, they are just people trying to do the job they were trained to do.

    I agree with those that have said that the daycare might want to throw their business at a place that betters aligns their business model with the daycare’s needs.

    I put myself thru college working at outdoor swimming pools. I’m sure there were people who didn’t like our rules. I’m sure there were people who could manage to keep themselves safe even if they broke a few. It would have been (and was) a real pain when adults purposely broke rules (or allowed their kids to) for their own entertainment.

    Some of us might empathize with the plight of the 2 year olds. Some of us might empathize with the staff or owners.

  24. pentamom May 19, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    “Some of us might empathize with the plight of the 2 year olds. Some of us might empathize with the staff or owners.”

    I empathize with both. This was a situation where everyone was wrong (except the 2 year olds who could only go by what the people in charge of them told them.) The owners shouldn’t have made these rules, but they had every right to make them and every expectation that even a public facilities rules for use should be followed. The staff was in the worst position; they are required to enforce the rules as a condition of employment, and for goodness sake, misguided as these rules are, this isn’t Nuremberg or informing your neighbors into the Gulag. “Just doing my job” enforcing some rules that don’t let 2 year olds whose caregivers paid to bring them there play the way they want, is not in the same moral universe as “just doing my job” guarding the concentration camp. The 2 year olds did what the people they were supposed to listen allowed them to do, and had those people followed the rules, they would have had a lot less fun. The daycare people and parent chaperones should not have acted like the play center belonged to them rather than the people it belonged to, but I’m not suggesting they’re terrible people, just that they made the wrong ethical choice here in a situation with competing legitimate interests.

  25. Puzzled May 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    Steve – I’m somewhat of an atypical libertarian, at least in modern-day America where all ideologies are taken to extremes and become caricatures of themselves. I don’t buy “badly behaved businesses will go out of business” because, well, in a racist region it’s certainly possible to run a racist restaurant without going out of business because the money is in the hands of the privileged class. I’m more skeptical about land and property ownership than the average libertarian, and I’m more the Henry George type of libertarian who thinks ownership is pretty limited in the power it grants.

    Pentamom – As I said, what is reasonable and unreasonable is a social decision, and not one that can be made out of context. My guess is in most societies sleeping in a furniture store is deemed a reasonable restriction. It’s apparent, though, that in this example, the restrictions on playing in a playground were not socially sanctioned.

    E – Ok, I see your point about name-calling. But I find ‘just doing my job’ the worst possible defense of a behavior that involves others, and it certainly has a long and not particularly positive history. Yes, one can sympathize with the children or with the staff – but the staff is paid to be there and is in a position of power, so I think there’s more reason to sympathize with the children who want to play.

    As for things going from playing with stuffed animals, to throwing stuffed animals, to leaving stuffed animals laying around – again, the staff is paid to be there. No one wants to pick up the pieces, but that’s why we call it a job.

  26. E May 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    @Pentamom — perfectly put.

    @Puzzled. If you have teenagers that need jobs and get them. “Keeping your job” is actually pretty high up on the totem pole of things that are important. When I was working my way thru college, I was much more concerned about being able to pay tuition than if little Joey could go off the diving board with his water wings because his parent said he could.

    Anyway – they all survived and the parent lived to brag about it.

  27. pentamom May 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    “It’s apparent, though, that in this example, the restrictions on playing in a playground were not socially sanctioned.”

    If the standard for “not socially sanctioned” is “someone decides to take it upon themselves to violate the restrictions,” then nothing is socially sanctioned because rules DO get broken.

    A guest who comes to your house and acts boorishly is not evidence that boorish behavior is socially acceptable in your community. It’s evidence that he’s willing to violate what’s acceptable. Maybe these rules are socially sanctioned, maybe they’re not, but one group’s willingness to violate them is not evidence that they’re not.

  28. Puzzled May 19, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    Yes, getting and keeping a job is important. So is how you treat others. Sometimes, the two conflict. You make the decision you find most reasonable. I have always erred on the side of how you treat others – which explains why I’m in such a poor economic situation. Shrug.

  29. Puzzled May 19, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    If one person came to the playground and ignored the rules, that wouldn’t be evidence about social sanction. Here, the relevant society is, in my opinion, everyone in the building at the particular time – and not one of them found the rules reasonable.

    If you want to make the larger society the relevant society, fine – would the playground owners be taken seriously if they called the police? Would anyone be willing to see the daycare staff arrested for this? If not, the rules again lack social sanction.

  30. anonymous mom May 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    I think describing the play center as a “playground” is a bit misleading. Again, I’ve been in places like this. They are designed to house a variety of activity centers: in the picture above, it looks like it has a book area, a ball area, a kitchen area, a block area, and an art area. It’s more like a big rec room than a playground. It doesn’t have slides, monkey bars, swings, or other equipment conducive to really active play and running around.

    So, yes, having a “no running on the playground” rule is absurd, and I think it’s ridiculous when playground have them. Open outdoor areas that have equipment for climbing and jumping and sliding are specifically designed for active play like running. But, a “no running in the indoor play room” sounds slightly less absurd, IMO, because we are used to not running around indoor areas most of the time.

  31. anonymous mom May 19, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    And I realize that isn’t the same site, but it looks a lot like most indoor play areas for kid I’ve been to.

  32. parallel May 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Puzzled, you’re rather contradicting yourself. On one hand you’re saying depending on the ‘bad business will go out of business’ rule isn’t wise because the reality is that society will often support a business with unethical rules. On the other hand, you’re saying that society should have the ability to ignore rules of private businesses they don’t believe to be reasonable.

    That basically means that if a large group of, say, white privileged males enter a diner, they should have the right to ask other diners they don’t wish to dine near to leave. So long as the group is in the majority of diners, they gain the right to make the rules. You’re just reversing the issue.

    And I agree with others…comparing an employee following a minor rule that hams no one to a situation like the Holocaust is beyond inappropriate. The employees, like the daycare workers, knew the rules they were being asked to enforce going in. Enforcing a rule like no running does not actually harm anyone. Ignoring the rules puts the living wage of employees at risk, since they’re the ones who will be fired if a kid slips and falls. If there’s any moral failing here, it isn’t on the employees.

  33. E May 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    @Puzzled, we’ve probably beaten this to death, but a staffer that tries to follow the guidelines of his job (as set out by the management) has nothing to do with how they are “treating” people. Unless they are rude and/or disrespectful, they are “treating” their customers just fine.

    It is not the responsibility of an employee to endorse the circumvention of the proprietors business rules and if they chose not to, it’s some sort of moral or social failing.

    Going back to my lifeguard days…we had an aquatics director that was great. He had rules, he had expectations, but it was the safest environment I ever worked in (in a pool setting). He would bring in current news articles that (without fail) show the risks of pools in the summer: cloudy pools that obscured a swimmer in danger, cracked drain covers that created suction risks, all sorts of things. Yes, a pool is life and death as compared to a padded play space, but the fact is — stuff does happen. Some people come to those environments and expect the posted rules to be enforced so that their kids stay safe. If you look at the rules and decide this isn’t for you….go somewhere else, don’t strong arm a staffer that’s trying to do what he’s been hired to do.

  34. pentamom May 19, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    “So is how you treat others. Sometimes, the two conflict. You make the decision you find most reasonable. I have always erred on the side of how you treat others – which explains why I’m in such a poor economic situation. ”

    Except you’re not factoring the concerns of the people who own the business into “how you treat others.” You don’t care how you treat them, or whether you respect their property rights, if you believe you have the moral high ground. So I don’t think this “I care more about real people than my own well-being” stance works, not if you’re not caring about your employers’ interests as well as those of others in the situation.

  35. E May 19, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    @pentamom – you nail it perfectly again. After I’d posted I thought about how “treating people” seemed to be a one way street.

  36. BL May 20, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    “we are used to not running around indoor areas most of the time.”

    All indoor areas are not created equal.

    A play area is not someone’s living room or dining room. I would think it more like an indoor track or gymnasium (the sort of places where I’ve done plenty of indoor running).

  37. anonymous mom May 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    I’ve been to lots of indoor play areas, and none have been like a gym or indoor track (in which case of course you should be able to run). They’ve been more like preschools or hands-on museums. For example, our local science center has a “Kid Town” on the lower level, for 5 and unders, which is an indoor play area with a large water table, a big play diner, a mock veterinary center, a theater area with costumes and a stage, an art area, a computer room/library, and a ball room. It’s a lot of fun, and there’s lots to do, but it’s not a place designed for running around. Most play centers I’ve been to are like that, and I’ve never been to one that is like a gym (although that would be fun!).

  38. Puzzled May 21, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    I don’t factor the needs of the business owner into the equation because they’re charging for entry. Their need is to make money – I, the paying customer, matter more. Everyone defending the right of property owners to do as they wish with their property – and invoking the old “if you don’t like it, don’t go there” line, I’m willing to bet, supports the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Why? Why not apply this reasoning to soda fountains?

  39. Donna May 21, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    Puzzled –

    Comparing things to extreme and/or completely unrelated examples doesn’t actually aide your opinions. It just makes others far more likely to dismiss everything you say. But to answer your question:

    The Civil Rights Act was about the right to access services. It said nothing about the rights of business owners to control the BEHAVIOR of EVERYONE on their premise. Two completely different concepts that are not remotely contradictory. It is very possible to support both anti-discrimination laws and the right of business owners to control the BEHAVIOR of their patrons on their property.

    Further, a few posts ago, you were all about “society has a right to dictate what happens in businesses, not the owners, and society wants kids to run.” The Civil Rights Act was about OPPOSING society’s wants and forcing society to conform to a standard that it didn’t want to conform to. So, if you actually had consistent views, you would be OPPOSED to the Civil Rights Act as it was not in conformity with the wishes of the majority of society at the time.

  40. BL May 21, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    “I’ve been to lots of indoor play areas, and none have been like a gym or indoor track (in which case of course you should be able to run). They’ve been more like preschools or hands-on museums.”

    Then they’re misnamed, and deceptively so.

  41. martian May 21, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    If you don’t like the rules at a private company, why go there? I don’t like the idea of teaching our kids to disrespect rules and property. My kids are extremely mature and well-behaved, but our library has a policy: kids under 9 must be supervised by an adult. Though I’d love to leave my 6yo who can easily pass for 8, maybe 9, with her older brother, I do not. Does that make me boring and “unfun” as a parent? I don’t think so! Instead, my kids know that if they want to enjoy spaces owned by others, they have to follow the rules. At home, we run and have ping pong ball cannons and generally get kind of rowdy. But, at my friend’s house where there is a lot of fine art and glass objects, my kids know that while it’s fun there, it’s a different kind of fun, and we respect her collections and rules. It’s extremely selfish to tell our kids, well, we want to have our kind of fun so we will ignore the rules.

  42. Puzzled May 21, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    Martian – what private owners own the library? Most towns, I think, maintain public libraries.

    Donna – I don’t think my examples are unrelated, they are, admittedly, more extreme. But if a general principle holds – such as “if you don’t like the way the business operates, don’t go there (and, by implication, shut up)” then it holds in extreme circumstances as well. I don’t think the distinction between entry and behavior once inside is all that easy to maintain. Were the sit-ins behavior or entry?

    Yes, I may have been inconsistent in my phrasing. Instead, I should have said society, guided and aided by key moral principles, rather than just society.

  43. pentamom May 21, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    ” I don’t think the distinction between entry and behavior once inside is all that easy to maintain. Were the sit-ins behavior or entry?”

    The distinction isn’t between behavior and entry, it’s between discrimination and set rules.

    White people were incapable of having “sit-ins” at segregated lunch counters because they were allowed to be there, and sit there. In this case, *everyone* is allowed in, and *no one* is allowed to run around. So it’s not comparable.

  44. Amanda Matthews May 22, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    @Havva so true. I recently went to a homeschool gathering at an indoor play place that was all inflatable bouncy houses. There were some to climb on, some to slide on and some to just bounce. All ages of kids were there, and they all played together. There was no separation of the smaller children and such.

    Did some kids get “hurt”? Sure. Some were bumped into by bigger kids running. Some kids collided when one person was going up the slide and another down. But all that happened was the kids helped each other up and kept playing. Or maybe a smaller kid ran to a mom but mom would tell him he’s fine and he’d go back to playing.

    I think kids need to learn to manage themselves around kids of different sizes. There is no guarantee that any given kid won’t grow up to be small or large so they may always have to deal with bigger people or smaller people around. We’re doing them no favors by segregating them.