Toddlers and infants need to be protected from dangerous things, because their common sense hasn't grown in yet. Once they're old enough to understand "No!" and "Don't!" however, they need to start learning how to handle dangerous things safely. This works best in gradual increments, as they start to play with toys such as blocks and trucks that can hurt if you hit someone (or yourself) with them. Then come safety scissors, which are blunt but can cut some things. When they're old enough to be careful, they get to use a sharp steak knife at the table instead of a dull case knife. One hopes that by the time they're old enough to use important things such as cars and condoms, they have learned to be careful enough not to hurt anyone. And then they're adults.
This process breaks down horribly if children are overprotected from everything that might be the least little bit dangerous. Not only do they fail to learn how to handle tools, they are woefully -- and sometimes fatally -- unprepared to deal with nature, which can never be made wholly safe. So here's a look at how the learning process should work, and some possible activities...
50 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do
Gever Tulley , founder of something called the Tinkering School, a place where kids build things with power tools, has written a new book, 50 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do. (Number 46 is "Super Glue Your Fingers Together - Experience life without a thumb!") Here are the top five hazards that kids should be encouraged to explore.