It's happening! Folks fed up with underestimating kids and over-estimating danger are doing something to give kids (and parents!) back their independence. So, Ithaca, NY, home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, has declared itself America's first Free Range Kids town.
"We believe in the power of play," Myrick said in a statement. "Given the choice between living here, where your kids can run outside and find a bunch of friends to play with, and another city where just allowing your kids to walk home from the park could get you arrested, we know that families will joyfully choose Ithaca."
According to Ithaca Voice, "kids have a right to unsupervised time and parents have the right to grant it to them." This is in stark contrast to stories like this one from Maryland, where parents who allowed their young children to walk to a park alone were accused of neglect. Ithaca's Free Range Kids town proclamation was preceded by a similar state-wide law passed in Utah last spring.
Let's all be more like Ithaca.
Rusty Keeler, author of Natural Playscapes, is totally in favor: "Ithaca is already taking the lead in supporting unstructured play and getting children out and about." Keeler is the co-founder of the Just Play Project, and co-creator of Ithaca's "Anarchy Zone" adventure playground (so cool!). Visit Natural Playscapes' website to learn how he can help bring one of these amazing spaces to your community.
Go, Ithaca! Go kids! Let's hear it for a place that's making it perfectly clear kids are a vital part of the community! This is better for the families, the stores, the economy, even housing prices. Not to mention healthy, active, curious kids. How refreshing!
Want to make your community a Free Range Kids town? Click here to get materials and resources to start a Let Grow Community movement. If you'd like to go a step further and encourage your state to adopt a Free Range Parenting Law, we've got plenty of resources for that too.