Helping “The Last Boys Picked” Survive in Sports-Obsessed Schools

In the agonizing moments before their names are called, those last boys picked for the kickball or basketball team during gym, or its un-legislated twin—recess—are getting a tutorial in what it means to be considered a liability. Alternating turns, the team captains—boys chosen for their athletic prowess or popularity or both—pick from among the rest […]

School Not Working For Your Son? Try This.

Since the Washington Post published my essay, Why Schools Are Failing Boys, I’ve heard from dozens of parents & educators. Sadly, my essay struck a chord with a lot of frustrated families. And what I’m hearing from those families is It’s so reassuring to know I’m not the only one and What can we do? It’s easy to feel […]

The Link Between Freedom & Video Games

How many have you have complained about the amount of time your boys play video games? I have, and so has nearly every other parent of boys I know. We complain about the number of hours our boys spend glued to screens, and yet…I’m beginning to think that we’re a big part of the problem. […]

Why Boys NEED Recess and How to Become a Recess Advocate

It seems like it should be obvious: kids — especially young ones — need opportunities to move around throughout the day. I mean, have you ever watched a group of young kids? They’re like puppies. They scamper all over one another, playing and posturing. More often that not, you’ll find them in physical contact with […]

Let’s Start Listening to Boys

Two years ago, my boys started a petition, asking for outdoor recess. We live in Wisconsin, where outdoor recess is cancelled in the event of inclement weather, including low temps. And at the time my boys started that petition, outdoor recess had been canceled again, restricting students’ access to the outdoors and active play, because kids […]

Obstacles to Play

Recently, a good friend of mine, a teacher at a local parochial school, announced via Facebook that her school was hosting a Pay to Play Day today. The word “play” caught my eye, but the details of the announcement are what stirred my passion. Why? Because Pay to Play Day works like this: kids bring […]

Kids as Advocates for Play

Building Boys Featured Image

All month, I’ve been talking about the importance of play. And all month, my focus has been on what adults can do to protect and rescue kids’ right to play. Well, yesterday my very own children reminded me not to underestimate the power of children. My 11- and 8-yr-olds came home fired up. Outside recess […]

Protecting Play: In the Community

Play might be an internationally-recognized right of childhood, but as a society, we’re not doing so well at protecting play. Consider: According to one 2008 study, 25% of U.S. elementary schools don’t have scheduled daily recess for all grades Schools with a high population of minority and low-income students are less likely to have daily […]

Kids & Play

I’m worried about our kids. Yesterday, I started my day off with an 8 AM meeting with the middle school principal. The topic: playground football. Football (actually, all play involving footballs) has recently been banned from recess at the middle school. I wanted to know why. The answer? Injuries, aggressive behavior and liability. Keep that […]