Ho Ho HOA! A Happy Kids ‘n Homeowners Story!

Hi fenzteeynn
Readers! Here’s a nice story for a Sunday. Enjoy!

Dear Free-Range Kids: Due to a recent bankruptcy and divorce my four children (ages 6-14) and I moved from our home of 10 years (great neighborhood) into a small group of very upscale townhomes. We are renting. I didn’t see much evidence of children around the small complex and felt a little nervous that maybe my children’s rambunctious ways (truly just normal children) wouldn’t be appreciated.

You can imagine my delight when last week we had a beautiful, warm, sunny day and my three younger children (6, 9, 11) were outside in the common area making forts out of our old moving boxes, using sidewalk chalk, *and* using scissors (gasp!) to make “doors” and “windows” in the boxes so that they could build cardboard box houses.

They were having a great time, and a bunch of other children from this small community showed up to play with them.  I was a little nervous when the HOA president (no children by choice) and secretary (has children but is older & retired) happened by, but all they said was “looks like they’re having a great time!” and continued on their way.

My children & the neighborhood kids played like this for several days in a row.  Other than asking them to make sure they put the boxes back in the garage when they were finished, I gave them no specific instructions.

They had a BALL and met lots of new friends.  The best part? They spent hours & hours outside playing, running around and actually being CHILDREN.

I don’t know if we have a rare HOA that just happens to be child-friendly, but I did want to share a positive story about organized, mostly adult communities. Thank you for an amazing website & resource for those of us that want to allow children to be children for as long as they can. — Ms. A

11 Responses to Ho Ho HOA! A Happy Kids ‘n Homeowners Story!

  1. Stephanie March 22, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    How wonderful! The HOA we deal with doesn’t seem to mind kids either, although mine still play outdoors more than most of the kids in the neighborhood. I like to think we’re making progress.

  2. Emily March 22, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    This makes me all warm and squishy inside. I want to make your HOA cookies!

  3. Nicola March 22, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    LOL, Emily!!!

  4. Ted March 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    This is the awesome of having common spaces in communities. I’m glad to hear your kids were using these spaces in the ways they were designed to be used!

  5. Secret Mommy March 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    Totally agree! So many of these communities have terrific open space, but then don’t allow children to play in them. Nice to hear of a happy story like this! And Emily, that made me laugh, too! 🙂

  6. Frau_Mahlzahn March 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    I bet the kids had tons of fun!

    @Emily: LOL!

    So long,
    P.S.: What does HOA stand for?

  7. Bob Davis March 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    I would suspect that many, if not most, Homeowners’ Assn. officials are tolerant and sensible–it’s just that the oppressive “Bossy Boots” and “dictator wannabe’s” types get the publicity and get lampooned on sitcoms (an episode of Frasier comes to mind.)

  8. Elfir March 22, 2010 at 6:46 pm #

    My impression is unless it’s a retirement community, HOAs try to be kid-friendly. Mine has several playgrounds (strategically placed so no sex offender can legally move into the neighborhood, but that’s another matter…) and just asks kids clean up after themselves.

  9. J. Collins March 22, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    “strategically placed so no sex offender can legally move into the neighborhood”

    You have got to be kidding me. They actually took the time to consider that into the placement of the playgrounds?

  10. Elfir March 22, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    I’m new to the neighborhood so I didn’t witness the discussion in when they put the setup together but it seems HIGHLY likely.

    There are row houses in a square with a circle of parking around the inside and inside that circle is a small “park” of playground, bench, and a few sparce trees. This format is repeated to create the whole neighborhood.

  11. Adrienne Breaux March 23, 2010 at 2:13 am #

    Yes! The best news! I love celebrating kids instead of quashing their fun any chance you have.