25 Things We Did as Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today

Daisy Luther
By Daisy Luther January 1, 2019 11:08

25 Things We Did as Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today

By Daisy Luther

With all of the ridiculous new regulations, coddling, and societal mores that seem to be the norm these days, it’s a miracle those of us over 30 survived our childhoods.

Here’s the problem with all of this babying: it creates a society of weenies.

There won’t be anymore more rebels, because this generation has been frightened into submission and apathy through a deliberately orchestrated culture of fear. No one will have faced adventure and lived to greatly embroider the story.

Kids are brainwashed – yes, brainwashed – into believing that the mere thought of a gun means you’re a psychotic killer waiting for a place to rampage.

They are terrified to do anything if they aren’t wrapped up with helmets, knee pads, wrist guards, and other protective gear.

Parents can’t let them go out and be independent, or they’re charged with neglect and the children are taken away.

Woe betide any teen who uses a tool like a pocket knife, or heck, even a table knife to cut meat.

Lighting their own fire? Good grief, those parents must either not care of their child is disfigured by 3rd-degree burns over 90% of his body or they’re purposely nurturing a little arsonist.

Heaven forbid that a child describe another child as “black” or, for that matter, refer to others as girls or boys. No actual descriptors can be used for the fear of “offending” that person, and “offending” someone is incredibly high on the hierarchy of Things Never To Do.

“Free range parenting” is all but illegal and childhood is a completely different experience these days.

All of this babying creates incompetent, fearful adults.

Our children have been enveloped in this softly padded culture of fear, and it’s creating a society of people who are fearful, out of shape, overly cautious, and painfully politically correct.  They are incredibly incompetent when they go out on their own because they’ve never actually done anything on their own.

When my oldest daughter came home after her first semester away at college, she told me how grateful she was to be an independent person. She described the scene in the dorm.  “I had to show a bunch of them how to do laundry, and they didn’t even know how to make a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese,” she said.  Apparently they were in awe of her ability to cook actual food that did not originate in a pouch or box, her skills at changing a tire, her knack for making coffee using a French press instead of a coffee maker, and her ease at operating a washing machine and clothes dryer.  She says that even though she thought I was being mean at the time when I began making her do things for herself, she’s now glad that she possesses those skills.  Hers was also the room that had everything needed to solve everyday problems: basic tools, first aid supplies, OTC medicine, and home remedies.

I was truly surprised when my daughter told me about the lack of life skills her friends have.  I always thought maybe I was secretly lazy and that was the basis on my insistence that my girls be able to fend for themselves, but it honestly prepares them for life far better than if I was a hands-on mom that did absolutely everything for them.  They need to realize that clothing does not get worn and then neatly reappear on a hanger in the closet, ready to be worn again. They need to understand that meals do not magically appear on the table, created by singing appliances a la Beauty and the Beast.

If the country is populated by a bunch of people who can’t even cook a box of macaroni and cheese when their stoves function at optimum efficiency, how on earth will they sustain themselves when they have to not only acquire their food, but use off-grid methods to prepare it? How can someone who requires an instruction manual to operate a digital thermostat hope to keep warm when their home environment is controlled by wood they have collected, and fires they have lit with it?  How can someone who is afraid of getting dirty plant a garden and shovel manure?

Did you do any of these things and live to tell the tale?

While I did make my children wear bicycle helmets, and never took them on the highway in the back of a pick-up, many of the things on this list were not just allowed; they were encouraged. Before someone pipes up with outrage (because they’re *cough* offended) I’m not suggesting that you throw caution to the wind and let your kids attempt to hang-glide off the roof with a sheet attached to a kite frame. (I’ve got a scar proving that makeshift hang-gliding is, in fact, a terrible idea). Common sense evolves, and I obviously don’t recommend that you purposely put your children in unsafe situations with a high risk of injury.

But, let them be kids. Let them explore and take reasonable risks. Let them learn to live life without fear.

Raise your hand if you survived a childhood in the 60s, 70s, and 80s that included one or more of the following, frowned-upon activities (raise both hands if you bear a scar proving your daredevil participation in these events):

  1. Riding in the back of an open pick-up truck with a bunch of other kids
  2. Leaving the house after breakfast and not returning until the streetlights came on, at which point you raced home ASAP so you didn’t get in trouble
  3. Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the school cafeteria
  4. Riding your bike without a helmet
  5. Riding your bike with a buddy on the handlebars, and neither of you wearing helmets
  6. Drinking water from the hose in the yard
  7. Swimming in creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes (or what they now call *cough* “wild swimming“)
  8. Climbing trees (One park cut the lower branches from a tree on the playground in case some stalwart child dared to climb them)
  9. Having snowball fights (and accidentally hitting someone you shouldn’t)
  10. Sledding without enough protective equipment to play a game in the NFL
  11. Carrying a pocket knife to school (or having a fishing tackle box with sharp things on school property)
  12. Camping
  13. Throwing rocks at snakes in the river
  14. Playing politically incorrect games like Cowboys and Indians
  15. Playing Cops and Robbers with *gasp* toy guns
  16. Pretending to shoot each other with sticks we imagined were guns
  17. Shooting an actual gun or a bow (with *gasp* sharp arrows) at a can on a log, accompanied by our parents who gave us pointers to improve our aim. Heck, there was even a marksmanship club at my high school
  18. Saying the words “gun” or “bang” or “pow pow” (there’s actually a freakin’ CODE about “playing with invisible guns”)
  19. Working for your pocket money well before your teen years
  20. Taking that money to the store and buying as much penny candy as you could afford, then eating it in one sitting
  21. Eating pop rocks candy and drinking soda, just to prove we were exempt from that urban legend that said our stomachs would explode
  22. Getting so dirty that your mom washed you off with the hose in the yard before letting you come into the house to have a shower
  23. Writing lines for being a jerk at school, either on the board or on paper
  24. Playing “dangerous” games like dodgeball, kickball, tag, whiffle ball, and red rover (The Health Department of New York issued a warning about the “significant risk of injury” from these games)
  25. Walking to school alone

Come on, be honest.  Tell us what crazy stuff you did as a child.

Teach your children to be independent this summer.

We didn’t get trophies just for showing up. We were forced – yes, forced – to do actual work, and no one called protective services. And we gained something from all of this:

Our independence.

Do you really think that children who are terrified by someone pointing his finger and saying “bang” are going to lead the revolution against tyranny? No, they will cower in their tiny apartments, hoping that if they behave well enough they’ll continue to be fed.

Do you think our ancestors who fought in the revolutionary war were afraid to climb a tree or get dirty?

Those of us who grew up this way (and who raise our children to be fearless) are the resistance against a coddled, helmeted, non-offending society that aims for a dependant populace. In a country that was built on rugged self-reliance, we are now the minority.

Nurture the rebellion this summer. Boot them outside. Get your kids away from their TVs, laptops, and video games. Get sweaty and dirty. Do things that makes the wind blow through your hair. Go off in search of the best climbing tree you can find. Shoot guns. Learn to use a bow and arrow. Play outside all day long and catch fireflies after dark. Do things that the coddled world considers too dangerous and watch your children blossom.

Teach your kids what freedom feels like.

This article was gladly contributed by author Daisy Luther from The Organic Prepper.

You may also like:

How to Make Acorn Flourinvisible bph banner

World’s Smallest Battery Powers House For 2 Days (Video)

How To Make Survival Lamps With Used Cooking Oil and Mason Jars

This Super Root Preserves Meat Indefinitely!

Please Spread The Word - Share This Post
Daisy Luther
By Daisy Luther January 1, 2019 11:08
Write a comment


  1. timeryder750 January 1, 15:01

    Jumping my mini bike over trash cans, swinging from a rope into the river, shooting cans with my 22, getting inside a big inner tube and rolling down hill until you either crash or fall over and then trying to stand up afterwards, climbing cliffs free hands no rope,jumping from cliffs into the lake and skiing in a tuck position as fast as you can go

    Reply to this comment
    • graymare January 1, 17:05

      LOL I did all that also

      Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 19:56

      Did it all but asking or jumping into a lake from a cliff. I did jump off a cliff to see if crouching and boning with the impact would save me from a broken leg. It worked but boy were my feet sore for a few days. 🙂

      Reply to this comment
      • Grateful1947 August 8, 09:06

        Omigosh!! Did this ever bring back a flood of memories! The winters of SE Idaho were actually quite harsh in the late 1940-1950s. It was not uncommon to be outside almost as much then as the summer. We didn’t have the lightweight and warmer clothing of today, either. Amazingly, we not only survived, but had a blast making snowmen, snow forts with tons of snowballs to lob the opposing snow fort. We were pulled behind our parent’s vehicle on an old upside down car hood or toboggan, sleigh rides with a large group singing Christmas carols (*gasp!*) in the winter, or hayrides singing silly songs in the summer. Here’s where the devil-may-care came in my later years: we’d grab the bumper of a slow-moving vehicle on the compact snow and iced streets, and “hookie-bob” for a relatively short distance with nothing more than the shoes on our feet. The summers were even more adventurous…after chores were completed. Lazy wasn’t even an option! Unless we were sick, we were outside from sun up to sundown, with the exception of lunch. Streetlights? What were those?! Children of today have no imagination because they’ve been handed everything they want, are never taught gratitude, so truly don’t appreciate what they’ve been given. We were poor, but we had everything we really needed because we knew how to use our imaginations to create it out of seemingly thin air or just pretend we had it. We were thrilled with the one toy and usually some underwear, socks, and pajamas for Christmas, and just as happy for what our other family members received. We had the real meaning of Christmas of giving of ourselves, not how many overpriced toys, computers, smartphones or vehicles we can throw to unappreciative spoiled brats who say from the mountain of torn wrapping paper, “is that all?”

        Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 19:59

      No lake so no jumping into a lake or skiing. Did the rest and then some.

      Reply to this comment
      • Meissa March 4, 02:35

        How about “latch key” kids? I was one and took care of a younger sib ling from the time I was 8. We both survived too!

        Reply to this comment
      • Belle August 24, 20:57

        My 12 year old brother and I (13) would hop the slow moving train to get to the south side of Ottumwa Iowa; and even after meeting a”hobo” who used to do the same thing until he fell under the train amputating his legs. It saved us a lot of time and we had a blast. One day, however, in the middle of winter, my little bro was unable to jump off the train because it got going too fast, and he ended up in a town 50 miles away. He froze his little butt off and got in BIG trouble when my grandpa had to go pick him up in Clifton. We lived to tell about it, but I really don’t recommend doing this. We were crazy.

        Reply to this comment
    • JADOTIE January 5, 03:50

      Still alive; age of eight we walked out over the Frazer river on the train bridge to the middle and back;1964

      Reply to this comment
    • timeryder750 January 6, 03:03

      I’m glad I’m not the only one…. Love you People and be adventurous for ever!!!!
      I’m 60 and still ride an XR650R in the desert (and crazy as can be)

      Reply to this comment
    • TahatansSpirit October 6, 01:04

      I love this article! Plus the message of making our boys so effeminant that they become asexual. I took a 55 gallon barrel, got inside and rolled down a hill in a shallow gully. It went down the hill so fast it rolled part way up the other side back and forth I went. I puked and laughed, and made a memory for life. Yes, playing army, skinny dipping, playing catch, exploring the countryside, have all disappeared and our society is the poorer for it.

      Reply to this comment
    • Retro May 10, 13:00

      By the time I was 9. I had a horse, an old 22 cal H&R pistol and tools for mending fence on a 1200 acre spread. Leave after breakfast, pack lunch and ride fence lines fixing breaks until dinner time. My horse was an Appaloosa mare with the politically incorrect name of Squaw. We used to play mumbly-peg with our pocket knives in the school yard. Drove pickup trucks from farm to farm at 13 or 14, tractors well before that age.

      Reply to this comment
      • red May 10, 15:32

        Retro: Much the same here, learned to ride and drive before age 5, Dad called Mom the Squaw because it comes from Ekuwa Tsi, Mother/Greatly beloved. It’s an Iroquois term, not Paiute or what ever that liberal claimed. He did get a nice job with the dems after that, probably houseboy. Here, Arizona, we have Squaw Mountain. No one wants the name changed, and this is Indian country. Hope you’re still ranching! niio

        Reply to this comment
    • Lisa Pizza August 24, 09:28

      Jumping enough curbs with my bike that I broke the axle, twice! Wearing clothes that developed holes in the knee from wear and tear, not designer styling. Climbing a mountain/ hill with my bike in one hand; and giving my younger brother a hand with his bike (on the other side of mine), because he couldn’t make it. Riding my bike without a helmet, letting the neighbors kid fix a flat, then riding it over a bump in the road, watching the tire ride in front of me (You should have seen the adults faces driving by!!). Carrying bike and tire back to above kid, while towing/carrying bike, and asking him to please attach it to the bike better. Still thanked him and left. No doctors appointment needed! Opening a tube of airplane glue with my teeth, because my friends brother dared me to…. doctor needed to cut lips free.. they healed! Wondering wild in our neighborhood picking blackberries; and eating as many as I brought home. Using the infamous rewashed milk jug as a holder! The berries were eaten before anyone got sick! Trying to get my floaty out of the pool before it got yucky; lucky I didn’t drowned, since I couldn’t swim yet! Playing basketball all day, then cooling down by jumping in the pool, then going right back out and playing. Finding the unpopped firecrackers after Fourth of July, everyone used to pop some, and lighting it with a box of matches; not good for passing hearing tests! After breaking my back in a car wreck, getting up and walking the first day after surgery,; the doctors weren’t sure I would be able to. Diving head first into pools, because my parents taught me not to hit my head by diving long. But taking a life guarding class after a younger kid copied me, but was paralyzed. Wondering alone in the neighborhood most of the time; But then almost getting kidnapped, the one day my Mom made me hang out with my sisters. Almost peeing my pants when a copper head slithered out from a tree I was trimming; then getting my guts back and chopping its head off, for my friend that still stutters and shakes after being bit by one! And my parents did more in the 1960’s!!! My Mom told me about surfing along the rocky shores of the Pacific Ocean, huge 10’ plus surf board hitting her in the head, but her figuring out how to surf as a 90 pound weakling! Then swimming into a cave on low tide, and saving her friend from drowning when the tide came in (she made it too!). But we are both very shy and helpful around people!

      Reply to this comment
    • PirateRooster August 24, 17:40

      My brother and I used to take .22 shells and pound them with a hammer.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Kathy January 1, 15:34

    Love your article. And you are so right kids are not being brought up correctly now days. My 10:yr old grandaughter shot her first deer this week with a bow, she goes hunting and fishing with my son. I was brought up the same day and so glad I brought up my kids that way. My grandson started scuba diving at the age of 10, and so did my other grandaughter. They know how to cook and take care of themselves. Great job on this article!

    Reply to this comment
    • Michael Markham January 1, 20:04

      My father taught me how to do that when I was at age and now I’m 58 and he’s passed away I learned how to do a lot of things fishing hunting regular outdoor stuff I was always told to get outside what is a nice day

      Reply to this comment
  3. Robert McFate January 1, 15:43

    Letting kids make mistakes is what builds that superpower called common sense! Letting them us their imagination builds creative thinking.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Dano January 1, 15:58

    I so agree and concur. many of the new “rules” are ridiculous. I have seen it and the effects on children after 21 years of teaching and observing my neighbors kids endlessly glued to video and computer games and eating crap food. Their yards were unmoved and leaves un raked. I asked once about the boys doing it and the father shook his heard and said something about video games. He didn’t even do it. Young people have been lured into the virtual world unprepared for real life, let alone survival in a crisis. I always tell people what would you do if an EMP or Massive solar fare knocked out the WWG? They have no answer.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 20:05

      Sad isn’t it that a virtual reality seems more real than real life. I a also ran a K-13 mission school but it was 1982 to 2005. 22 1/2 school years. I saw a lot of changes in kids and sometimes reachability and I’d lay most of that at the feet of too busy parents and crazy laws trying to make life safer.

      Reply to this comment
    • Johnny3 May 8, 15:03

      I have neighbors who don’t even know what an EMP or solar flare is!!!

      Reply to this comment
  5. Harlan January 1, 16:05

    I used to climb trees and then drop down from branch to branch. And jumped off the swings once you I them to go high enough!! Some liberal socialist regressive teacher would probably want to dose me with Ritalin these days.

    Reply to this comment
    • Old Texas Cowgirl January 1, 18:56

      I had to take my grandson out of this “progressive” country to separate him from the Ritalin pushers. We lived abroad for five years where he could run loose with friends, swim in the ocean and spear fish, and be a normal active boy, returning only when he was old enough to escape notice of the CPS kidnappers

      Reply to this comment
    • Black Swan January 2, 01:56

      I used to climb one particular tree by a drainage ditch where asparagus grew wild. I’d hang by my knees from a high branch, thinking it might help me grow taller. I don’t think it worked, as I’m now only 5’6″. But at least I was never a childhood obesity statistic.

      Sometimes I’d pick the asparagus and take it home, which made Mom happy. Today’s parents not only would be afraid to let their kids climb a tree at all, but might even be afraid to eat the asparagus!

      Reply to this comment
      • Lisa Pizza August 24, 09:35

        Jumping enough curbs with my bike that I broke the axle, twice! Wearing clothes that developed holes in the knee from wear and tear, not designer styling. Climbing a mountain/ hill with my bike in one hand; and giving my younger brother a hand with his bike (on the other side of mine), because he couldn’t make it. Riding my bike without a helmet, letting the neighbors kid fix a flat, then riding it over a bump in the road, watching the tire ride in front of me (You should have seen the adults faces driving by!!). Carrying bike and tire back to above kid, while towing/carrying bike, and asking him to please attach it to the bike better. Still thanked him and left. No doctors appointment needed! Opening a tube of airplane glue with my teeth, because my friends brother dared me to…. doctor needed to cut lips free.. they healed! Wondering wild in our neighborhood picking blackberries; and eating as many as I brought home. Using the infamous rewashed milk jug as a holder! The berries were eaten before anyone got sick! Trying to get my floaty out of the pool before it got yucky; lucky I didn’t drowned, since I couldn’t swim yet! Playing basketball all day, then cooling down by jumping in the pool, then going right back out and playing. Finding the unpopped firecrackers after Fourth of July, everyone used to pop some, and lighting it with a box of matches; not good for passing hearing tests! After breaking my back in a car wreck, getting up and walking the first day after surgery,; the doctors weren’t sure I would be able to. Diving head first into pools, because my parents taught me not to hit my head by diving long. But taking a life guarding class after a younger kid copied me, but was paralyzed. Wondering alone in the neighborhood most of the time; But then almost getting kidnapped, the one day my Mom made me hang out with my sisters. Almost peeing my pants when a copper head slithered out from a tree I was trimming; then getting my guts back and chopping its head off, for my friend that still stutters and shakes after being bit by one! And my parents did more in the 1960’s!!! My Mom told me about surfing along the rocky shores of the Pacific Ocean, huge 10’ plus surf board hitting her in the head, but her figuring out how to surf as a 90 pound weakling! Then swimming into a cave on low tide, and saving her friend from drowning when the tide came in (she made it too!). But we are both very shy and helpful around people!

        Reply to this comment
    • Flint January 2, 15:11

      We used to climb slim trees, when you would get to the right height the tree would start to bend and you could ride to the ground. Cheap fun on the farm.

      Reply to this comment
      • Clergylady January 2, 20:15

        Yup. 🙂

        Reply to this comment
        • Thomas August 15, 02:33

          Children are sheltered to death now , I still remember going rattlesnake hunting when I got my own 22 at 7 the Christmas before I turned 8. Before that I had to borrow Daddy’s or granddaddy’s 22. And when 14 I would go to the beach on my motor scooter , but I did have to call mom if I spent the night at the cabin. A 100 mi from home.

          Reply to this comment
      • ap October 3, 16:22

        got a good licking for spoiling my new church dress. Hee hee

        Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 20:13

      Lol. Probably so. My older son was started on Ritalin and I insisted it be stopped. I told the physiologist that prescribed it that my some was too smart and a boy. The man agreed but said this is what I’m expected to do to make it easier for the teachers. I kept my son off of it . As an adult the government said he has a 180+ IQ . he did 22 years in the Navy. Retired at 40. Has since done hospital compliance and quality control work. He’s working for the government again aiming to work ’till either 65 or 70.
      They could easily have dumbed him down and or made an addict out of him. That was worth fighting for.

      Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 21:36

      I did what I said and a Lot more too. I’d bet many here did too. Mostly I’m a proud survivor of life. It’s been a good ride and at just about 72 I’m not ready to get off the adventure called life. Time has changed. I have changed. My circumstances have changed. But I’m still as independent as I can be and proud of it. Laws encircle us, society expectations and demands change but the freedom of expression and thought remain for the most part. Kids can still learn skills. I still teach with every opportunity. My Christmas gift to a 16 year old neighbor was my old Betty Crocker Cookbook. It was printed before everything was a mix. She’s learning to bake with her grandma. Glad for them. I got too many hot pads and baking mits so some have gone to join the cookbook. If she follows through a really learns new things I’ll give her my French cookbooks. At 40 my daughter has her own cookbooks and is a great entertainer. She loves cooking for a crowd. That was how she grew up. Family meals and lots of company. She’s been cooking since age three when she chose to start helping in the kitchen and found out she liked it. She asked to help before I’d thought too much about teaching her yet.

      Reply to this comment
  6. ray January 1, 16:09

    I did all of those things and more. The big difference between then and now is the Government, from local to Federal. In my youth they executed murders, if you molested a child you were put away and God help you when your fellow prisoners found out what you did. Most laws were created to help the average citizen. Today the laws are made to line the pockets of lawyers and politicians, we have lawyers making laws for lawyers to use to work the system. every time a POS gets out of jail that gives a lawyer a chance to defend him again. Now we have one political party importing criminals into our country to create mayhem and feed the lawyers. They really don’t care about you and me, they have walls and armed guards, but they want to deny us that same protection.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Jmo January 1, 16:22

    I rode a mini-bike, often without a helmet, from 5th grade to 8th grade. For my 8th grade graduation, I received a flat track race bike and proceeded to race throughout the rest of my teen years until I joined the Army. Yes, I did get my eye injured playing Army with BB guns, also. I hunted, fished and camped by myself from the time I was 12, enjoying the ability to just take a rifle, matches, knife and blanket to last a weekend in the woods. My side of the mountain was one of my favorite books as a kid. I lament the fact that kids are too insulated from life these days.

    Reply to this comment
    • Tony January 2, 12:42

      Now that brings back memories. My Side of the Mountain was my favorite book as well. Having read it at least 50 times as a sickly kid (severe asthma-constantly taking breathing treatments). When I was feeling good you would find me in the woods making survival shelters and searching for edible plants. (wishing I would find a baby Falcon)

      Reply to this comment
    • Maveya January 3, 19:09

      My Side of The Mountain !!!! One of the best books, the 2nd one not so much.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Abigail Adams January 1, 16:30

    AMEN SISTER!!! I did every one of those except throwing rocks at snakes in the river (which my home was located on!) but I CAUGHT plenty of garter snakes as a GIRL, even kept one as a ‘pet’ until he got out of the converted fishtank and disappeared out of our house. We live in Michigan, so no poison snakes around our home. My mom left when I was 3 years old, dad raised me alone. He was a farm boy until age 14, and raised me the same way at our semi-suburban/rural home. Heck, he let me go out ALONE in the flat bottomed rowboat he made with a life jacket and a long tether rope at 4 YEARS OLD! He stayed at the shore to watch me paddle and splash about; by the time I was 6 or 7, I was allowed to paddle up and down the river without the tether, as long as I stayed in view of our property and had my life jacket on. I tried to raise my kids the same way, but ran into ‘governmental interference’ due to a nasty ex-spouse. My kids, now ages 30 to 14, are very different from their peers. They are smarter and more capable; and with better reasoning and logic skills. I also have learned in the past few years thru geneology research that a couple of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary war; we came from true Patriot stock! HURRAH FOR THE OLD WAYS!!

    Reply to this comment
  9. Tom January 1, 16:31

    Growing up in the 50’s we did that and a lot more. It’s absurd to be babying kids like we are. Not doing and learning they become deficient adults Imagine playing ball in the street today or walking to town. We’re raising a bunch of babies and will pay the consequences generation after generation.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 20:37

      I agree but.. The morals of our once fine nation have declined until childhood isn’t the same. But laws to make us safe deprive of us a lot too. To some extent child labor laws are good but they’ve become ridiculous. Kids need to run free and explore. They been to be able to try things on their own. They need to learn to cook, clean, do laundry, mow lawns, make or repair things. Sewing is good for spacial relations, abstract reasoning, and understanding geometry. Mechanics is good for many things even if vehicles are controlled by computer brains. It’s good for our brains. Punishment teaches us how to self discipline if not over done. We need critical thinking skills… Free explorations helps build that.
      Country kids may rule on day because the rest will only know how to play games and manipulate people to satisfy their addictions.

      Reply to this comment
    • Stugots August 7, 14:53

      Ahhh Yes, the 50’s.In addition to all those dangerous things listed in the article, would you believe that I had the
      audacity to purchase a 20 gauge shotgun AND a .22
      J.C. Higgins rifle by myself at the age of 12 just by paying for them. A gun shop and Sears Roebuck. OH Dear God, have mercy on my soul.

      Reply to this comment
  10. QueenofHuronia January 1, 16:32

    AMEN SISTER!!! I did every one of those except throwing rocks at snakes in the river (which my home was located on!) but I CAUGHT plenty of garter snakes as a GIRL, even kept one as a ‘pet’ until he got out of the converted fishtank and disappeared out of our house. We live in Michigan, so no poison snakes around our home. My mom left when I was 3 years old, dad raised me alone. He was a farm boy until age 14, and raised me the same way at our semi-suburban/rural home. Heck, he let me go out ALONE in the flat bottomed rowboat he made with a life jacket and a long tether rope at 4 YEARS OLD! He stayed at the shore to watch me paddle and splash about; by the time I was 6 or 7, I was allowed to paddle up and down the river without the tether, as long as I stayed in view of our property and had my life jacket on. I tried to raise my kids the same way, but ran into ‘governmental interference’ due to a nasty ex-spouse. My kids, now ages 30 to 14, are very different from their peers. They are smarter and more capable; and with better reasoning and logic skills. I also have learned in the past few years thru geneology research that a couple of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary war; we came from true Patriot stock! HURRAH FOR THE OLD WAYS!!

    Reply to this comment
  11. James January 1, 16:44

    Swimming in the spillway area below a lake dam and jumping off the railway trestle into the water.

    Reply to this comment
    • Coach T. May 9, 00:53

      Jumping off anything into water, jumping anything you could ride over any ramp you could make yourself and best of all water skiing on a 15′ wide irrigation ditch behind a pickup truck! And even though it is frowned on, we play dodgeball, kickball and tag in my PE classes!

      Reply to this comment
  12. OldRocker/Hippie/Biker January 1, 16:49

    Wow! I did every one of those things growing up in the 50’s. This brought back so many fond memories. When you cut yourself, but didn’t need stitches, the wound was washed out, 1/2 bottle of iodine was put on it, bandage applied and outside you went again to join again all those “dangerous” activities. Great article!

    Reply to this comment
  13. Brian Soderston January 1, 16:59

    don’t forget about taking our time to school cuz severe going hunting as soon as the last bell rang. Or 3 or 4 kids walking down the street with shotguns and vests loaded with shells to go rabbit hunting

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 20:46

      Yes there was a time when most kids hard guns and used then pretty safely. A rifle rack was expected to be in most pickups. No one fears a kid with a shotgun or a 22 walking down the street. We could buy a rifle or a pistol at most any age without an I’d. All you needed was the money. My 18th birthday present was a 22, single shot, bolt action rifle purchased at a Western Auto store. I still use it .

      Reply to this comment
  14. graymare January 1, 17:03

    I did most of the above as a kid as well as more dangerous stuff like breaking my own stallion to ride as a ten year old.
    Heaven help the kids the nanny state produces now.

    Reply to this comment
  15. emmer January 1, 17:04

    darn, i/my kids have only done 19 of these. i guess we were too sheltered. 🙁

    Reply to this comment
    • Black Swan January 2, 02:03

      Your kids may be checking off more items than you know about. Did you tell your mom or dad everything you and/or your friends did? Neither did I 🙂

      Reply to this comment
      • NancyP January 2, 12:54

        Yeah, but this mom always found out!!! My kids use to say I had eyes in the back of my head. Lot of things I found out about, I never said a word. Why? Because I did the same and sometimes worse when I was a kid back in the 40s!! As long as they weren’t hurt nor hurt anyone else, I looked at their adventures as growing lessons, and today I have six fabulous adults!!

        Reply to this comment
        • Clergylady January 2, 22:27

          There may have been some I didn’t find out about but not much. Most was deemed life lessons and nothing said. I’ve always said I was blessed not to have any as wild as I was. They were adventuresome. I was crazy and too daring for my own safety a lot of the time.

          Reply to this comment
  16. Stephen January 1, 17:22

    Everything except # 7. Never could swim, bones too dense so I don’t even float. Was a REAL problem in the Army. As an adult I took a troop of Boy Scouts out for a field trip to learn winter survival techniques. Their parents went absolutely crazy and I was done helping the scouts. I for one believe that high youth suicide rate is a direct result of this pampering. They hit a bump in the road and they don’t have a clue how to manage it. It is really sad.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Bird January 1, 17:25

    Thank you for the great articles advice and ideas. I raised my children right and like your daughter have had to try and teach others basics. We can only keep trying to get information out to others who need it. Your site is appreciated!!!

    Reply to this comment
  18. Dang Duffy's January 1, 17:26

    Heck I did all those things growing up, and caught crawdads (crayfish) with our bare hands and minnows.We went barefoot until school started! Loved it! Society’s children are too protected today. Weenies for sure

    Reply to this comment
  19. crrfive January 1, 17:33

    I am 46 years old and I did all 25 of these and I do not encourage my children any differently other than to attempt to “think” before they act. We live in the country so I do not make them wear helmets, except at locations/events where they are required. My 11 year old and 9 year old twins OWN their own pellet rifles and real archery sets that they now are allowed to use unsupervised because they have proven themselves safe and trustworthy. They shoot real rifles and shotguns under supervision. They have and use their own knives and machetes at will. I was camping with just 1 or 2 friends at 12 years old… NOT backyard camping, but REAL camping in a 300 acre forest that we hiked into and camped along a creek side. My parents and grandparents made me work in the gardens and anywhere else that help was needed. I am extremely discouraged with the future of this country because they younger generations neither know how nor have the confidence to do anything.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Bossman January 1, 17:34

    I think I did all those things except for my mom washing me with a hose after getting too dirty. She made us do it ourselves

    Reply to this comment
    • Rocky January 1, 19:40

      You had a water hose? You must have been a town kid. I was raised in the South so far back in the sticks we didn’t have running water or electricity. I went to a one room school with no shoes, never was embarrassed about it, no one else had shoes either. Learned how to shoot when I was 8 or 9 yrs old. Now days Family Services would have been all over my parents.

      Reply to this comment
  21. T January 1, 17:38

    All of the above being on the school rifle team. Most kids with PU’s had a rifle rack in the back window of the cab and nobody bother them so we could go bird hunting right after school. Shooting rats at the dumb after our dates. Street racing on back country roads. Getting my first check at age 10 for working on the farm. Chasing jack rabbits after dark on motorcycles with the intent to kill them (not to eat).

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 20:24

      I always found was to make money but I earned my first check boxing carrots the summer between second and third grade. Mom worked there cutting asperigus in the early morning then in the afternoon when it cooled a bit we worked cartots together. I actually loved it. I’d always loose but the two college guys working by us always raced to the end of the rows. It was fun trying. The winnercwould go to the far end of my row and work back towards me. We all marked our own boxes as we went. Then we’d start a new set of rows.

      Reply to this comment
  22. A.E. January 1, 17:38

    Not to worry, there are still
    country kids who still grow up
    tough… it’s just the city kids
    that are not allowed to do all
    those things.

    I know a 12 year old boy who has started
    his own business repairing lawn mowers
    and snow blowers.

    Of course, I am in Canada, were we
    don’t always follow what goes on in the
    U.S. We still have minds of our own.

    Reply to this comment
  23. Leah January 1, 17:42

    All of these things are true. I grew up in the 50’s and lived in a rural area. So, I know what you mean. My mom treated my scrapes and wrapped my twisted ankles. I have hunting and fishing skills. I was taught how to shoot a hand gun and shotgun And no we did not have a gun safe that looked like a bank vault. I appreciate these lessons and it had made me a survivor. I am proud to say that my children are the same way. Keep up the good articles.

    Reply to this comment
  24. Martin January 1, 17:43

    When I would get sent to my room for some infraction of the rules, I used to escape from my window, traverse a trellis that was about 10 feet off the ground, cross into an oak tree, walk along the top of a fence and then jump down onto the sidewalk…………………Then my mother would be waiting for me! So much for the “Great Escape”

    Reply to this comment
  25. Gj Watch January 1, 17:44

    I think that I did everything that you put on the list. Plus I can think of several you didn’t mention. Sometimes I / we found out what seemed like a fun idea was just dumb as dirt. You know what I learned and it was scratched from the to do list. Examples bottle rocket wars, jumping off the roof (single story house about 10 feet) mud ball fights, many many more that were tried and discarded. Survived and had a whole lot of fun.

    Reply to this comment
  26. MikeyW January 1, 17:49

    Don’t forget swimming in the creek, miles from the nearest house, WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION.

    Reply to this comment
  27. jamesm January 1, 18:02

    We had our friends lay on the ground and jumped them with a bicycle to see how many we could jump before landing on one of them. Shot at each other with Roman candles, and the one I remember best was while in high school I helped one of my classmates carry 22 rifles and shotguns into the high school we attended for an oral report he was doing in English class.

    Reply to this comment
  28. AmericanSwede January 1, 18:03

    I was the only girl out of 3 kids, and we had a creek behind our house… My bros (who were both older then me) would always catch animals and keep them as pets.. So, I picked it up. I would catch frogs, salamanders, and, my personal favorite, Gardner snakes. They were the hardest to catch, why they were my favorite. They also taught me how to climb fences, namely our 6 ft board to board security fence in the back. And yes, I also climed trees. As well as our counter tops. Also I learned to become a fix it type kid, I would raid my mom’s tool box and (gasp) grab a tool and fix things myself! Also I rode in the back of trucks, something I still do as an adult, rode tire swings on not so safe looking ropes and trees, I would jump from swings after getting high enough, I ran with scissors and kitchen knives, If I couldn’t reach something in a store, I still go in the cart to better reach it, I “wild swam”, I played in my school’s playground that was them lined with gravel, and slid down the metal slide with only shorts in the heat, Would try to jump the creek without safety gear, handle wild animals without safety gear, still carry a pocket knife, play bymyelf on my Dad’s farm, around his butting goat and his horse that almost bucked his ex wife off, and land on her, walk to and from school alone, get in play and real fights with the other kids, The list goes on. I am actually surprised I am still alive. Lol.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 22:34

      Lol. I’m still the fix it person for most things in my home. I have always collected tools and used them too. I agree its a wonder I survived to adulthood but it sure was fun and i learned a lot.

      Reply to this comment
  29. left coast chuck January 1, 18:08

    I might add shooting each other with BB guns. We had strict rules about it. No shooting above the waist. Anyone who violated the rule got shot by everybody playing the game.

    Actually running around the neighborhood with BB guns shooting at starlings, stray dogs, tin cans — we soon learned to watch out for ricochets — shooting up anything that wouldn’t incur wrath from some adult.

    During the summer when our Queen Anne cherries were starting to ripen it was my job to protect them from the starlings with my trusty BB gun. I did that daily until we picked the tree. It didn’t take the birds long to know if I was in the yard that the tree was off limits.

    We used to go to the town dump and shoot at rats. They were really gun shy because adults used to go there with .22s and shoot at them. It was the way the rat population at the dump was held down.

    You could actually walk down the street with a .22 (or some other rifle) over your shoulder and nobody called the swat team out. If a cop saw you he might ask you where you were headed and tell you to shoot carefully but that was the extent of it. If your Dad thought you were old enough to have a .22 the cop wasn’t going to second guess his judgment.

    If you were 16 you could go down to the Western Auto store and buy any rifle or shotgun in stock. When you paid your money you walked out of the store with the box under your arm. No waiting period, no records check and many shotguns and .22s were sold without a serial number. They weren’t considered worthy of any kind of record keeping. All that was in the day when you weren’t considered to be an adult until you were 21. You couldn’t marry without parents’ permission. You couldn’t sign a binding contract until you were 21. There was a gray area if you were over 18 and living apart from your parents and self-supporting, you could do more or go to court and get a judge’s permission to marry without your parent’s approval and a judge’s permission to sign contracts.

    A co-worker used to talk about taking the streetcar in Santa Ana, CA out to the edge of town with his .22 to shoot rabbits from when he was in the sixth grade through high school. Try getting on a city bus carrying a .22 rifle these days.

    I think people had more respect for guns because there was more hunting and folks knew what damage a gunshot would do to a living body. That was brought home to me some years back while hunting feral pigs on the Channel Islands off the California coast. The young guide was looking at a pig that someone had shot and said, “While I never wanted to get shot, since I started here guiding hunting parties and seeing what a gun shot can do, I really, really never want to get shot.”

    However, I will have to say there were more accidental shootings then than there are now. Accidental shootings which are now called negligent shootings, had dropped dramatically due, I think, to the NRA’s actively emphasizing and training in gun safety.

    Reply to this comment
  30. Toldyaso January 1, 18:09

    Spent most of my childhood riding in the back of a pickup( right up to getting my own car). Sat on the fence at the local drive in after sneaking out the house at night( pre-teen). Took rubber tipped arrows from a kid’s bow and arrow kit and shot carp in a local creek. walked the local train tracks and jumped slow moving trains into town. I could go on and on. How about finding fun in a card board box or riding down hill in a old truck tire. I could probably fill an entire comment section.

    Reply to this comment
  31. psalmfourteen January 1, 18:16

    AMEN SISTER!!! I did every one of those except throwing rocks at snakes in the river (which my home was located on!) but I CAUGHT plenty of garter snakes as a GIRL, even kept one as a ‘pet’ until he got out of the converted fishtank and disappeared out of our house. We live in Michigan, so no poison snakes around our home. I was born in 1962; my mom left when I was 3 years old, dad raised me alone. He was a farm boy until age 14, and raised me similarly at our semi-suburban/rural home. Heck, he let me go out ALONE in the flat bottomed rowboat he made with a life jacket and a long tether rope at 4 YEARS OLD! He stayed at the shore to watch me paddle and splash about; by the time I was 6 or 7, I was allowed to paddle up and down the river without the tether, as long as I stayed in view of our property and had my life jacket on. I tried to raise my kids the same way, but ran into ‘governmental interference’ due to a nasty ex-spouse. My kids, now ages 30 to 14, are very different from their peers. They are smarter and more capable; and with better reasoning and logic skills. I also have learned in the past few years thru geneology research that a couple of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary war; we came from true Patriot stock! HURRAH FOR THE OLD WAYS!!
    Part of the problem today is the DRASTIC change in moral values and acceptable behavior, giving rise to a huge increase in child kidnapping, molesting, etc. I WAS much more careful about these issues; had to tell my kids fron a very early age about ‘bad people’ who might try to hurt them or steal them, so took my boys to public restrooms with me until age 8 or 9, and when they went into men’s on their own, told them if anyone bothered them, scream, kick, fight, and mom would come help them. Daughter, kept with me, watched very closely, as she was/is a BEAUTIFUL girl, as is her daughter now (could both be models, but they’re tomboys like me!)

    Reply to this comment
  32. Frosty January 1, 18:17

    I did almost all of those things and many more. I grew up on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska and learning to be a mechanic as a very young child. By the time I was 4 years old I rebuilt a Cox airplane motor, and flew the plane afterwards. I rode snowmobiles, motorcycles, used pocket knives and hunting knives. My brothers and 8 had a .22 caliber ride when I was 9, and I was the oldest of the boys.

    Reply to this comment
  33. Colby January 1, 18:24

    Wow 20 years of memories, slidding down hills in cardboard boxes, driving junk cars at the age of 12 in a pasture. jumping bikes over homeade ramps, getting scrape wood from the local cabinet shop to make go carts, overnights in old barn, launching cans from a pail of water with a firecracker. God Bless and Have Fun.

    Reply to this comment
  34. Scott January 1, 18:27

    Great article. When my Army Guard Captain Cavalry Troop commander son was eight he was learned how to shoot.He was in karate since age five. Learned to ride a horse by himself by seven.

    You can still make kids love the out of doors and be independent if you pay attention to them every day. No matter how tired you are play with you baby fifteen minutes after you get home from work. Make weekends your kids time and get them into scouts. Be a Scout leader. Parents who don’t participate are sending a message and are surprised when their kid drops out.

    It your example that will lead them to good life choices

    Reply to this comment
  35. Pixl8 January 1, 18:31

    Yep, scored 22 out of 25 on that one. Our favourite game as a kid was jumping from rooftop to rooftop in our neighbourhood. In the winter we’d find the highest roof and jump from it into a pile of snow… probably a felony now 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  36. Wolverine January 1, 18:43

    I saw what another person wrote about taking the Boy Scouts camping in the winter, I did that in Maine in January, with the Scouts for a week, learn to build igloos, no running water, learn to melt snow for water, boys had a blast and NO frost bite either even though it was a high of 22 degrees for the week. Average night temp was 22 below zero. Good old days !!!

    Reply to this comment
  37. Dave January 1, 18:45

    We built and fired Estes rockets. Later on, we put live animals like mice in the payload to see the effects of acceleration on them. To say NOTHING of ALL the different types of fireworks we tried. One favorite was an M-80 lit and taped to a wooden arrow. BOOM at 100′!!!!!

    Reply to this comment
  38. Jackie January 1, 18:49

    I lived on a farm so much of what we did city kids didn’t know about. We jumped off haystacks that were higher than a one story house. My uncle taught my brother and me how to shoot with his old army rifle from WW2. We rode race horses at the age of 7-teens. Life was great.

    Reply to this comment
  39. Pam January 1, 18:59

    I love it! I’m 84 now and completely independent and self reliant. When my girls were little, I told them that by the time they were 15 they should be able to: keep the dishes and the kitchen clean, cook, shop intelligently, sew and mend their clothes, clean house, do laundry. They walked to school, even in the rain, rode their bikes (without helmets) all over. They were responsible for feeding the dog and cats. Of course they protested that I was a mean mom, “nobody else had to do those things.” Today they are both competent and they thank their “mean mom.” My older daughter goes to primitive skills camps and teaches soap making, she sews her own deer skin tunic and pants, she makes moccasins, is an excellent cook, cans in the summer, dehydrates, chops and stores firewood. I could go on. She’s just incredible. Unfortunately, my younger daughter is now handicapped, but before that happened, she too was quite capable. I don’t know how this current crop of weenies will end up, but I don’t think it will be pretty. It’s really sad. One more think, both my older daughter and I are trained herbalists. We grow and make our own medicines and know how to use them.

    Reply to this comment
  40. Bill January 1, 19:22

    country raised in the 50’s and 60’s at 10 play pretty much stopped, helped dad in the fields and with our cattle, so worked horses, drove tractors, worked from dawn to dusk, when we sold wheat mom, dad, me and my brother would shovel grain into the auger all day long and then the next too until the granaries were empty, working cattle was an all day job, catching them throwing them, one on the neck and one on the back leg pulling one leg back with your feet pushing against the lower leg while some one vaccinated, clipped the ear for that ranches mark, branded and castrated the calf if male then released it to catch the next, some had squeeze shoots to put the calf in, we and others didn’t, when your herd was done you went to the neighbors and helped them as they had helped you, you were on the ground with each animal so you come in dirty, the pay was a good meal come lunch, at days end you climbed into the pickup and went home and cleaned up to do it again the next day, Was driving tractors by 10, same with pickups and farm 2 ton dump trucks! Throwing rocks at snakes, many rattlesnakes died that way, or a fence post over their head, shovel, hoe or gun shot. The 4th of July was awaited, gross’s (144 = 1 gross) of pop bottle rockets were purchased, a few went in the air when the city uncles and their daughters were there, if the sons well then, the pop bottle rockets were the main weapon of the war and we bought a lot for those wars. bb guns were used for cowboys and Indians, my brother stuck a target arrow in my knee one battle, blood-soaked my boot as I and my scared brother entered the house with the story we were racing and I fell on a sharp rock, me and him treated the wound, and back out we went to continue where we left off! Hunted rabbits from a moving pickup with 22s and shotguns, often jumped jackrabbit was hit and the truck never stopped, picked up and thrown to the barn cats for a fresh meal. bike helmets, I still don’t own one, used a helmet for the dirt bike but the bike was a racer and so this was serious, it would hit 70 in the open BLM land, yea you could ride that at the time and I did, alone!
    Walking back from the barn to the house younger brother was waiting with my nephew and the first warning I got was when an egg busted on the side of my head I was a good 100 feet from the chicken house. he could do that with rocks too, rock fights were common entertainment, old rope swing with a tire on it in the barn we swung on, mostly for the younger kids, that and the horse to give them rides, hunted from the age of 10 up with real guns, about 10 to 12 by myself, hunting rabbits was a job to help keep the barn cats fed, most of these you did not pet, they were working cats whose job was to keep the mice and rats not down but gone, if we saw rats or mice the rabbits stopped until we did not see rats or mice! picking up most of these creatures would leave you bitten and clawed! some you could pet if you left them on the ground and were giving them milk from the cow you just milked, some! Climbed in the barn to the rafters, this was about 15 feet and exploring the top of the barn on the rafters, biggest danger I remember was running into unexpected rattlesnakes, I was hit twice while growing up, neither snakes fangs made it to my skin! both died. many got stepped on and were out jumped, they struck and I was out of range by the time there head got to were I had been, can’t explain the feeling of a snake rolling under your foot but as soon as you felt it your were already propelling yourself back and away, did not even think about it, going to the neighbor to play with their kids was a mile walk, in fact it was at least a mile walk to any one’s house, Winters well you fed the cattle morning and night every day no matter what the weather, and during calving season even in whiteout ground blizzards you hunted and brought back to the barn newborn calves. frostbit my feet in the stirrups of the horse trying to find one calf and finally did, more the horse did, but it too came back alive, feet still scarred from that and other such feats. one storm walking back from the barn after doing chores and milking the cow, could see about 5 feet, missed the trail and realized I was in the field and not sure where, had followed a plow ferral out thinking it was the path, came close to not making it to the house that night, very close, just wanted to set down in the field and rest a bit, and knew if I did that was where they would find me froze solid the next morning!

    Reply to this comment
    • tamskr January 2, 00:35

      Played Frisbee tag in a tree( the person who was “it” would throw a frisbee at people in the tree. If you got hit you had to climb down and the person that hit you climbed up into the tree), dug snow forts into snow piles that often collapsed on you, threw each other into leaf piles(one kid did break his arm when he missed the pile), ice skating on the streets after ice storm, played a lot of things in the road, played kick the can after dark, jumped off and on moving hay wagons(no helmets),had chicken fights in the water, climb ropes in gym class to the ceiling at school with no safety equipment only a small mat, jumped off the garage roof, never wore seatbelts in the car as a kid in backseat and no booster seats either, deer hunting at 12 years old with shot gun, could start a fire with a just a magnifying glass, as young kids we drove riding lawn mowers, mini bikes, farm tractors and farm trucks, rode down stairs on a mattress, rolled down hills in cardboard boxes, played in a crumbling abandoned school building, used machetes to cut weeds in woods, carved(whittled) sticks with pocket knives, swam in lagoons where there were large snapping turtles(one was caught that filled the bottom of a steel trash drum), played an outside game called “kill the guy with the ball”, and so many more “dangerous” things. LOL!

      Reply to this comment
  41. fee January 1, 19:23

    And don’t forget! We could play in empty lots next door, without the police or childrens’ services showing up knocking on our parents’ doors, and trying to take us away for abandonment and neglect!!!!

    Reply to this comment
  42. Casey January 1, 19:24

    Ha! We used to outrun the bull (roll under the electric fence, run to the Apple tree, and jump up in the tree before the bull got there). Getting back out again was harder. Most of our town friends wouldn’t play this! I am now a 55 year old woman who was never killed by a bull.

    Reply to this comment
    • fee January 1, 21:18

      Casey, my grandmother and great aunt were born in 1891 and 1893, and grew up on a farm in Kansas. Grandma (the youngest) always told the story about how she saw my Gr aunt running thru the pasture and when she got outside the fence, she turned around and yelled, ”Jane, get OUT of there! The bull is coming!” Grandma had to run for her life. She also had a identical story with a snake! ”Jane, there’s a SNAKE behind you!” Too funny!

      Reply to this comment
  43. Labienus January 1, 19:50

    Why are you throwing rocks at snakes you little sociopath?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 13, 03:16

      Because the snake is there.

      In the waters off Okinawa I was dropping rocks on a snake that was swimming several feet below me. Two Okinawans in a boat were shouting and waving their arms at me. Later I found out that was a highly poisonous water snake. Somebody besides those Okinawans was watching over me that day.

      Reply to this comment
      • Allen January 13, 06:44

        I was there to in the 80’s sea snake mate in mid spring late March early April. Here what I found out when there. There are over 60 different type of sea snakes 90% of them are possessions. Of the 90% there is 10% that if it bights you. you have about 3 seconds. The cool thing about it at that time they sold for $50 lb Me and to others would go out with bags sticks with a loop lose on it. catching them all weekend. On a good day we’d make about $600 each average was about $200 Now do you consider that foolish or crazy.

        Reply to this comment
  44. Graywolf12 January 1, 19:57

    We had a small; stream that had nice holes that should of had a Trout in them, but they were pushed out by the chubs. We decided to clean them out, and did it with home made hand grenades made from a pint ball jar, tight fitting lid, a hand full of pebbles, and some carbide used in miners lamps and then the fun started as one held the ball jar in one , the lid in the other as the other one poured in some water. Quick put on lid, throw in creek, and drop to the ground so as not to be hit by glass or pebbles. Chubs were gone but trout did not move in because we did not know the water was too warm running through a pasture with no shade.

    Reply to this comment
  45. Cea January 1, 20:14

    rode horses to check fenses, worked with tractors on the farm, see who could out run the bull (I lost that a time or two) collect the eggs without gloves, steal a piece of salt from the cow salt lick and go to the garden pull a carrot brush it off and eat it for lunch you learned these things long before you were 10

    Reply to this comment
  46. Lancinator13 January 1, 20:15

    I did all of those things growing up in Northern Alberta, Canada, and vividly remember my buddy and I getting bored with launching model rockets, so we built an improvised explosive warhead and launched it in a farmers field behind my house. Geez, imagine doing that these days! It was very cool when it went BOOM! 😉

    I’m in Southern Ontario and have taken up shooting as a sport again after 3 1/2 decades of only carrying for my job. I’ve been taking my teenaged son’s friends and dads out to my range and introducing them to shooting. As city kids, none of them have ever touched a weapon and are nervous as hell. It’s costing me a lot in ammo, but it’s fun to let these guys learn to handle my Sig 9mm and my AR15 (yes, you can buy them in Canada) and learn that they’re fun to shoot, and have nothing to do with mowing down school kids. I was a scoutmaster for years and taught a lot of clueless city kids how to camp, build fires, and have fun outdoors.

    Education is the key! Scaring people by ranting about your rights to a gun or raving about the failings of “snowflakes” only turns them off and convinces them that you’re a nut. Be willing to put yourself out a bit and educate a snowflake that they can survive away from a Starbucks or handle a firearm in a responsible and fun manner. I’ve had several of my “never touched a gun” dads take their friends and family to the range – convert them, don’t yell at them! (Steps off soapbox). Cheers, L

    Reply to this comment
    • Nene August 14, 20:46

      Education is good as long as it isn’t coming across as “I know everything and just want to show you the right way” like one person I know did. Then it just turns me off and I block that man. I see nothing wrong with guns (we had them around all the time when I was growing up), love camping in the middle of the woods and most things mentioned here. I grew up in a small town in the Adirondack Mountains.

      Reply to this comment
  47. Lagertha January 1, 20:24

    Love love love love this article..do true as a child who grew up in the 80s I brag all the tine to my kids about everything I did. Rode my skateboard (sitting down) no helmet down a main road at age 5, friends and I walked through sewage tunnel and swam in a dirty creek Even though one of us had a pool. I cherish the time I grew up in…,I have always encouraged my boys to go out and have fun.. While some of it’s still legal!

    Reply to this comment
  48. Dr. Beary January 1, 20:24

    Right on, good for you!
    Hope you are both living an adventurous life!

    Reply to this comment
  49. Dr. Beary January 1, 20:32

    I’m so blessed to have grown up on my grandfather’s old dairy, played in the old barn, blew thing’s up out in the fields and lived as a young boy should be allowed to live!
    Let’s keep teaching this next generation how to truely live, they’ll call you a lot of name’s for being truthful with them but don’t give up on them, keep loving on them and bringing them back to the truth?
    Very few of them are living these days, they can hardly even call what they are doing survival!

    Reply to this comment
  50. EK January 1, 20:47

    The news isn’t all bad. Some communities are building ”junkyard playgrounds” where children are allowed to explore piles of random boards, pipes, rope, auto parts, old appliances, whatever, and parents are discouraged from controlling, supervising, overseeing, or participating. Imagine a bunch of kids hanging out in Fred Sanford’s backyard, developing creativity and learning by themselves though trial and error. This is a great way for them to develop a confident “can do” attitude.

    Reply to this comment
  51. Spike January 1, 20:48

    The scary thing I don’t understand is why parents who grew up in that old lifestyle raise their kids in the new wussy lifestyle. A lot of it, I believe, is the fact they went to a 4 year college and got brainwashed and believe all the crap they were told about what is good for a child.

    Reply to this comment
    • DaffyDuck January 1, 23:41

      Unfortunately, I’m one of those parents. I believe it has more to do with the threat of losing our children.
      I wished I could have raised my daughter the way we grew up, but if we even considered disciplining our child for throwing a tantrum at the store, someone would call CPS. For those of us that were divorced, we had to worry about the other parent finding any excuse to keep us away from our kids. There were also no other kids playing on the street – they were all inside watching TV or playing video games.
      Growing up during the late 70s/early 80s, I did all of the things on the list except throw rocks at snake rivers (didn’t live near a river). We threw them at rattlesnakes, instead. We also poked sticks at tarantulas and hiked the hills behind our neighborhood and watched coyotes and bobcats. One of the most dangerous things I did was ride my bike down a steep curved street with no helmet and no hands (at 50mph) – and I was a timid girl by many standards. We also played “dodge ball” with illegal rocket fireworks – until my liberal brother-in-law got hit by one in the nose. (He was originally too afraid to join us and we finally talked him into it – and of course, he’s the one that got hurt.) I loved going on trail rides by myself and riding bareback in the stadium arena (with no helmet).
      Nowadays, forget about doing even safe things like “slip & slide” due to the water shortage (which can be avoided if they were smart about it).
      It’s amazing how quickly things changed in 1 generation – especially here in California.
      At least I was able to avoid TV and video games in my house while raising my daughter, and she didn’t get a cell phone until middle school ( and only because the school left her stranded at another school after a sporting event).
      I often reminisce with my cousins and friends all the things that we were able to do when we were young that the kids nowadays won’t get an opportunity to experience due to the fear that our society pushes onto us. Kids’ lives nowadays are too structured and safe and the results are a lack of courage, creativity, and independence.

      Reply to this comment
    • Big Mike January 4, 12:07

      I am a single father with 3 young adults, ages 8, 10, and 11. I let my kids walk half a mile to the store, shoot BB guns, and encourage them to be outside as much as possible. One of our problems is in finding other kids willing to be outside playing basketball/ football etc., as opposed to video games.

      Reply to this comment
  52. Survivor January 1, 20:50

    We played army with BB guns. Of course we we’re smart enough to use eye protection. (Sunglasses or a diving mask that had been shot tested.) Rode our bikes no handed. Without helmets. (My first broken arm) What fun!

    Reply to this comment
  53. Homesteader January 1, 20:55

    I, too, did pretty much everything and more on the list growing up with a couple of exceptions. We didn’t have street lights out in the country, but when we saw Dad come home from work, we knew it was time to come in because supper would soon be on the table. Also, when my school served pb&j sandwiches at lunch, I would trade mine. I never could eat pb&j and still can’t today. Separately, they’re fine but not together.

    When my son was growing up, he was pretty much “free-range” too. However, at age 4, I started teaching him to cook to help him become more self-sufficient since his dad and I were both on active duty and could have been deployed anywhere in the world. The pre-school he attended helped, as well, by having the kids make their food for snacktime and sometimes for lunch. The adults would do the actual cooking but the kids would put it all together. By the time he was 10, he could cook a decent meal and could function without us for a short time, if need be, although we had to have people available who could take him in in the event we were deployed. Today, we would probably be arrested and he would be taken away for those actions.

    Reply to this comment
  54. Sunny January 1, 21:06

    Bought my grandson his first bow at age 4, by his 3rd draw he was hurt in damn close to bullseye. We run around the house, playing with nerf guns, hunting bears, dinosaurs or whatever strikes our fancy. He thinks I’m the “fun” grandma.

    Reply to this comment
  55. HoundDogDave January 1, 21:15

    I grew up as the middle child of 7 siblings in the 1960s. Best I can remember, only my little sister made it to her teens without having to have stitches. We lived in suburban S.E. Michigan(Oakland County) and outside of Saturday morning cartoons, all our entertainment was outdoors. I had my first steady paying job at 9 yrs old canvassing door to door for the local newspaper(bought my own bike with the money I made). All 4 of us boys raked leaves, mowed lawns and shoveled snow for spending money. Not only did we ride our bikes all over the Township and beyond, we each knew how to repair the bikes on our own by the time we were 8 or 9 years old. With 7 kids, my parents didn’t have a lot of money to spend entertaining us so we made our own fun, outside!
    I got kicked off the school bus for fighting in 8th grade and hitchhiked to school all that winter. Yep, I took rides from complete strangers at 12 & 13 years old and survived just fine.

    Reply to this comment
  56. Stan January 1, 21:18

    Being able to cook, do the laundry, or change a tire as a young adult are all admirable traits that more should have. But whining about bike helmets or most of the other things on your list don’t make you an independent adult ready for the world, they make you sound like that dumbass right-wing antivaxxer who just died at 26 from the flu, and from a strain that’s in this year’s vaccine to boot!

    Reply to this comment
  57. Bill January 1, 21:37

    When I went to high school, there were guys with pickups who had a rifle on a rack by the rear window of the pickup. Some of them ( oh my god ) had a hand gun under the seat, and no one got shot all my years in school. My how the times have changed!!!

    Reply to this comment
    • fee January 3, 01:10

      I know, right? When I was in high school, 71-75, ALL the pick up trucks had shotguns in the windows, and that was in downtown Orlando! Don’t know as to the handguns though. We NEVER had any gun incidents at all, all my years there. Not even close. This crap is all put up, in order to take away the guns. You can tell by the legislation that is ready to roll before the shootings take place!

      Reply to this comment
  58. leon January 1, 21:38

    when my sister was in the airforce a lady got a flat tire and 6 guys were standing around the car not knowing how to change the tire at all.

    Reply to this comment
  59. Old boy scout January 1, 21:42

    Great memories how about riding bicycles down hill at what seemed like 60 mph LOL no helmets of course

    Reply to this comment
    • Hoosier Homesteader January 2, 18:12

      We would have wheelie contests on our bikes to see how far we could ride on just the rear wheel. Helmets? Nope. We also used the lane around the coal yard near the railroad as a race track on our bikes. Helmets? Nope again. We played chicken on our bikes too. Helmets? Never. Sure dug a lot of stones out of our elbows, shoulders and legs!

      Reply to this comment
  60. Bill January 1, 21:46

    When attending high school quite a few years ago, there were guys who owned pickups and had a rifle in the gun rack by the rear window of their truck. Some of them even had ( o my god ) a hand gun under the seat. Don’t recall anyone being shot in all my high school years. How the times have changed!!!

    Reply to this comment
  61. Stubby January 1, 22:00

    What about playing with firecrackers and M-80’s? We played with them all the time and I still have all of my fingers. Or B.B. guns? I had a high power pellet gun when I was 12 years old and not only never shot my eye out, I never shot anyone rifle when I was 15 and even though I didn’t have a car yet, I would ride my bike to the drug store, yes the drug store and buy ammo. I never shot, shot at, or shot toward anything I wasn’t supposed to. My friend and I would hike/hunt all over the hills near our homes by ourselves (no parent supervision) all day long with our .22’s. How about making a knife in metal shop at school out of an old car leaf spring. It taught important information about annealing, grinding, polishing, hardening and tempering steel. Do the schools now even have shop classes? Or what about catching snakes while we were fooling around in the fields near home. There were lots of rattlesnakes where I grew up, but I guess it was a given that by the time you were 10 to 12, you were smart enough to tell them apart from the gopher snakes (rattlesnakes have these funny little things on their tail that make a rattling noise when the snake shakes it)
    I could probably come up with a few more but these are some that stick out in my mind and no, none of these things made me a psycopathic killer, arsonist or terrorist. It left me with a memory of childhood I wouldn’t trade for all the gold in the world.

    Reply to this comment
  62. Nancy S January 1, 22:36

    Did all of these things except throw rocks at snakes. My brothers and I would catch snakes.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 20:55

      I loved all critters including snakes.
      In high school boys tapped rattles onto a garter snake and threw it in the girls bathroom. I walked in to do n d girls hanging from stall differs and standing on sinks and toilets. Poor snake was all curled up in a corner
      I picked it up, walked out, and threw it in the boys bathroom. You know they can scream like girls…:)

      Reply to this comment
  63. Randall January 1, 22:54

    How about simply running barefoot everywhere. Plenty of bee stings and cuts on your feet. We used to catch anything that move to examine it. My mother almost stroked when she caught me holding and studying a black widow spider once. We hunted with B.B. guns and we had been shot at one time or another. We were a wild bunch. Helmets what was a helmet , did not know anyone who had one. We all survived and learned a lot. Taught my kids to use their heads but they were free to try anything just think about all the consequences that could happen first. They survived too.

    Reply to this comment
  64. Stubby January 1, 22:59

    I haven’t read all the comments to this topic but have some from my childhood. What about firecrackers and M-80’s? We used to play with them unsupervised all the time and my parents actually knew we were doing it. I still have all of my fingers. How about B.B. or pellet guns? I had an air rifle when I was 12 and not only didn’t shoot my eye out, nobody else had their eye put out. We could walk down the street with our guns and nobody called the police on us. I graduated to a .22 when I was 15 and although I didn’t have a car, I remember riding my bike to the drug store, yes the drug store to buy ammo without having a parent or someone over 18 with us. My friend and I spent many summer days hiking around the hills near our homes and we never shot anything we shouldn’t have or shot toward anything we shouldn’t have. I still enjoy hunting, shooting at the range or just plinking and have never had any trouble using a firearm. Or what about making a knife in metal shop out of an old car leaf spring? It taught me how to anneal, shape with a cutting torch, grind, polish, harden and temper steel. I member I got an A+ on the project and showing it to all the kids on the school bus going home. No one cut their fingers or horsed around with it and no one called the police because I had a knife at school or on the school bus. Do they still have metal shop in the schools now days? And what about catching snakes with our bare hands while we were messing around in the fields near home? There were a lot of rattlesnakes around, but it was a given by the time you were 10 to 12 years old that you could tell the difference between a rattlesnake and a gopher snake. (Rattlesnakes have these funny little bumps on their tails that make a rattling sound when they shake them)
    I never got into any real trouble when I was a kid, grew up to be an upstanding member in society and have great memories of my childhood that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I really feel sorry for today’s children with overprotective, fearful sissy parents preventing kids from being exactly what they are. Kids!

    Reply to this comment
  65. MarkS January 1, 23:05

    I’ve done some of those, but I also did several “unsafe” things while growing up. I remember climbing the monkey bars, which didn’t have soft pine bark stuff under it. There was nothing much under it, but dirt and gravel. I fell off and scraped my face. My parents didn’t rush out to file a lawsuit against the school. They got on me for not being careful. I slipped a fell and cut open my cheek, requiring stitches, on a cable fence at our volunteer FD station, while goofing off on the way home from school. Again no lawsuit. I rode standing up behind the front seats in our car, so I could see in front of the car,. We didn’t even have seat belts in the car! I rode my bike without wearing that dorky looking helmet and had some accidents, but wasn’t hurt. I spent a lot of my childhood playing in the woods and at the community dump, tearing apart old TVs and stuff. Most of this would probably be frowned upon today.

    Reply to this comment
  66. dwest January 1, 23:20

    using a magnifying lens to kill ants. catching fresh water trout & eating them right there on the shore. stealth camping a couple hundred feet below the summit of Mount Washington, NH. hiking the Appalachian Trail. at 10 or 12 duplicating the actions of Benjamin Franklin in a story I learned about his experiments with lightning, and being slightly burnt from a super close lightning strike, like 3 feet away. the sound was like an explosion, deafening. and here I am, 50+ years old, unkilled by the dangerous childhood I “endured.” It was awesome being a kid when I was a kid. during the summer we were out by 9am and told not to come home until 9pm!!

    Reply to this comment
  67. John Gault January 1, 23:48

    About 22 out of 25. Stole rides on a neighbors pony bareback by my buddy luring him along the fence with apples while I jumped on his back with a binder-twine bridle. Trot and gallop are terrible, but if you can just get him to cantor, it sure is a nice ride. I really have no idea how the Indians were able to be such good riders – even with a belly strap. Was also very good at making Forth of July fireworks – An old Berma-Shave can is the perfect strong container for a some 40′ blast… Can’t do that stuff anymore, sad. We don’t have kids, but I would be happy to share my extensive outdoor knowledge – I just don’t quite know how to do that today. Any suggestions?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 2, 01:55

      John, you try doing the stuff on this list with a kid, even your own, and you can expect a visit from CPS and at a minimum having to take some kind snowflake instructional course if not actual time in the crossbars hotel for child abuse.

      Reply to this comment
  68. Casey January 2, 00:19

    I loved reading the comments. Sometimes I feel like an anachronism and it’s good to hear from others like me. So many experiences we hold in common, experiences that are now uncommon and, often, shocking. More power to all of us!

    Reply to this comment
  69. DavidSimerly January 2, 01:03

    Top this—-We climbed trees and swung tree top to tree top to see who could go future. Even better—-Out roaming through the woods I accidently found a Moonshine Still. Two blasts from a shotgun quickly changed my direction of my travel. I emptied 7 shots from my 22 as I ran the other way. Nine pellets in my lower legs and never told anyone until I was about 30. I grew up to guard President Nixon at Camp David.

    Reply to this comment
  70. Dragon January 2, 01:19

    Every boy carried a pocket knife at school in my day. We would play a game we called Mumbly Peg with the teachers watching and none freaked out if someone missed and the knife stuck in a shoe, or foot. Though “armed” no one ever threatened another with their pocket knife, fisticuffs, however, were another matter. The teachers would let you wear yourselves out, then when you both were tired of fighting, paddle you both, friendships were restored, with respect gained.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck January 13, 03:26

      You must have gone to the same grade school I did. Mumbly Peg at recess and lunch break. Not quite every boy had a pocket knife, but close enough to every boy. Some boys were just plain too poor for their parents to afford a pocket knife for the boy. In those days if you wore overalls, it was because you were poor, not because it was a fashion statement.

      In high school the gym coach would supervise fights with sixteen ounce gloves. Even though they felt like pillows, a good punch with one could knock you down. especially if the other student was quite a bit bigger and heavier.

      Reply to this comment
  71. Bones January 2, 03:25

    There’s 6 kids in our family & we did all that plus more living on a farm & it was called fun. Trouble never entered our heads. We & neighbours had a lot of good laugh but always looked out for each other.

    Reply to this comment
  72. Johnny3 January 2, 03:41

    I was born in ’42 so childhood for me was the last 8 years of the 40s.
    Raise your hand if you survived a childhood in the 60s, 70s, and 80s [for J3 it was the 40s & 50s!] that included one or more of the following, frowned-upon activities (raise both hands if you bear a scar proving your daredevil participation in these events):
    1. Riding in the back of an open pick-up truck with a bunch of other kids
    2. Leaving the house after breakfast and not returning until the streetlights came on, at which point you raced home ASAP so didn’t get in trouble. [Routinely missed supper and was severely whipped for it]
    3. Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the school cafeteria
    4. Riding your bike without a helmet
    5. Riding your bike with a buddy on the handlebars, and neither of you wearing helmets
    6. Drinking water from the hose in the yard
    7. Swimming in creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes (or what they now call *cough* “wild swimming“)
    8. Climbing trees (One park cut the lower branches from a tree on the playground in case some stalwart child dared to climb them)
    9. Having snowball fights (and accidentally hitting someone you shouldn’t)
    10. Sledding [we used cardboard sheets, or automobile HOODS on grass slopes] without enough protective equipment to play a game in the NFL
    11. Carrying a pocket knife to school [and Dad’s bullets!] (Or having a fishing tackle box with sharp things on school property)
    12. Camping
    13. Throwing rocks at snakes in the river [no river and no rock throwing- as children, we “whipped” / drove only “BAD” ones (rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water moccasins) away w/ long bamboo poles!] [As teens captured ‘em all and sold ‘em to a neighborhood Herpetologist who “milked’ ‘em and sold the venom to to the drug industry]
    14. Playing politically incorrect games like Cowboys and Indians [And Explorers w/BB guns & African natives with real spears!]
    15. Playing Cops and Robbers with *gasp* toy guns [And BB guns!]
    16. Pretending to shoot each other with sticks we imagined were guns
    17. Shooting an actual gun or a bow (with *gasp* sharp arrows) at a can on a log, accompanied by our parents who gave us pointers to improve our aim. Heck, there was even a marksmanship club at my high school [J3 – BB gun at 8, and 1st 22 rifle (Simi-auto) at 10]
    18. Saying the words “gun” or “bang” or “pow pow” (there’s actually a freakin’ CODE about “playing with invisible guns”)
    19. Working for your pocket money well before your teen years [J3 @ 12 –lawn mowing & paper route]
    20. Taking that money to the store and buying as much penny candy as you could afford, then eating it in one sitting
    21. Eating pop rocks candy and drinking soda, just to prove we were exempt from that urban legend that said our stomachs would explode
    22. Getting so dirty that your mom [NOPE, we had to hose ourselves down!] washed you off with the hose in the yard before letting you come into the house to have a shower
    23. Writing lines for being a jerk at school, either on the board or on paper
    24. Playing “dangerous” games like dodgeball, kickball, tag, whiffle ball, and red rover (The Health Department of New York issued a warning about the “significant risk of injury” from these games)
    25. Walking to school alone [J3 – from 4th grade on]

    Reply to this comment
    • Tsigantes January 4, 16:08

      All of the above!!
      Plus skinny dipping, archery, crawling out the side window of a car across the roof and in the other side window as my mother drove it (admittedly on farm roads), being taught to drive at 13 by my dad, getting my licence on my 16th birthday, unsupervised camping with friends with our parents blessing, sleeping out in the backyard in summers, climbing on to the roof of our house to rescue kites, kittens etc; climbing on to a gymnasium roof (up the drainpipe ) to rescue balls and getting stung by hornets on the way down, stealing fruit off neighbours trees, fishing and cooking the fish right away over a little fire and eating it with our hands…..all unsupervised!!

      Reply to this comment
    • Stugots August 7, 15:16

      I was also ’42. At 77 I’ve done everything on the list.
      WOW ! I’m still alive imagine that.

      Reply to this comment
  73. d. January 2, 03:52

    I still have a scar on my arm that took 100 stitches from winding the swing chain around the top bar and it broke and cut my arm (Not recommended!) Guess I found out the hard way. A neighbor kid was swinging a big push broom around in the air, I got to close and it knocked me in the head, lots of blood that time (poor Mom freaked out on both). We used to skateboard down a 2 block steep hill with boards that had roller skate wheels on them (not recommended). No accidents luckily. Those were the days.

    Reply to this comment
  74. survived on my own January 2, 06:01

    drinking my dads “stolen” beer and having the cops give you a ride home to tell him! shooting my 22 at birds AND killing them. Driving a grain truck without OMG are you ready ……. A CDL!!!

    Reply to this comment
  75. Allen January 2, 08:07

    I did everything on your list other than the snow ball fight. No snow in south Texas. Wen’t on bike rides while still in grade school 15 to 30 miles away from home. With friends. Worked at a mom and pop store at about age 8 for mad money. Loved a good fight. Always getting in one until high school then girls where more important than fighting. Father started me out with a 22 single shot rifle. did such a good job at it. I ended up with the option of joining the Marin Corps Sharp Shooter club. That I turned down with my wife pregnant at the time. Of all the things I did as a kid climbing was the leader in all of them. I was the one that would climb the highest. If someone climbed a little higher I’d jump on that tree and get up higher than them. I always had my all in one pocket knife. They had a different name back then I just don’t remember it. My favorite game was bucket ball. Only to rules. Rule 1 Put the ball in the bucket. Rule 2 There are no more rules. a fist to the face was legal and I got them Ended up with several cracked ribs to. Camping thanks to dad when I joined the Marine Corps. the others thought of me as a natural getting advise from me that survival class didn’t teach back then, as well. And I took all their survival courses Jungle, Desert, Arctic, Ocean, Mountain and NBC other than the ocean one loved doing it I volunteered for each one. I’d come home at times so dirty that mom couldn’t tell which kid was her’s until we said something I loved being a kid and growing up without limits. Never thought about it until now. But thank God they didn’t have video games when I was a kid. I would have missed out on so much.

    Reply to this comment
  76. DEKE January 2, 10:58

    getting pulled on a sled behind my uncles pickup truck down a country road!

    Reply to this comment
  77. insanecandycane January 2, 11:36

    i was raised like that, have scar that required 5 stitches when the broadhead on one of my dads arrows touched my calf in the 1960’s , was shooting his bow out the back door without anyone knowing i was doing it.
    if CPS or any agency comes in contact with my family, there is going to be bloodshed! my morals say i can kill anyone for just looking at me wrong, but i play nice until cornered. im NOT going to play with anyone messing with my family. i can wipe out a whole fucking town by turning 1 valve at THEIR water treating system. i use to paint water towers, and took chemistry in college, how far these sorry pieces of shit want to take it is up to them, but they better leave me and my family be!! they think it is ok to shoot teenage boys in the back then lay in the bushes for 3 days claiming they are under fire, they claim it is ok to use a gas against americans that is banned by the geneva convention and burn innosent children alive! so ill do what ever i can to make them pay if they mess with me!!!

    Reply to this comment
  78. john January 2, 11:38

    Many of the listed items ARE harmful and potentially fatal, only a fool would encourage them

    Reply to this comment
    • Black Swan January 2, 16:56

      The items in the original article didn’t sound all that bad. Some of them sounded kind of fun even now! You are right that many posters are telling stories about stuff that would be dangerous both then and now. But…those stories may have taken on a few, ummm…accretions over the years!

      Reminds me of something my dad told me about people’s reports of animals they saw out in the woods and fields. He said “They never get any smaller!” I kept that in mind when he told me about fish he’d caught, or that got away, especially if it was a long time back.

      I think we can take some of the stories here with a grain of salt, too. And in some cases, one the size of a deer salt lick! But they are lots of fun to read, sort of like having a virtual hardware store with us all hanging around the front porch yakking up the old days.

      Reply to this comment
  79. Sawyer45306 January 2, 14:29

    Agreed, I did most all of these things too growing up in Rural Ohio in the 70s and more. I remember having candy “cigarettes” and bubble gum ” cigars “. Didn’t give me the urge to smoke. I think a lot of the message trying to given with this article is that, a lot of us grew up doing these things and it just being accepted as part of “growing up”, we survived just fine. Yet we NOW have Government protecting us and we have become a weak Society, and if you don’t believe it, just look at the Drug Addiction issues we have in this Country. When I was growing up, any one we knew who was involved in “that sort of activity” was treated as outcasts. It wasn’t accepted as “OK” or “normal” as so many today are trying to force on us.

    Reply to this comment
  80. Martha January 2, 15:17

    Sliding down a deep snow covered hill in an old upturned hood of a car with no steering capability, taking off into the mountains and not answering my Mother’s call to get home, watching the rain come down the valley while sitting on our front porch listening to the rain hit the tin roof, climbing trees almost as high as my 6 years older brother, and oh, by the way, I am female!

    Reply to this comment
  81. Graywolf12 January 2, 16:30

    We would collect expanded 22 long rifle cases to take to school, grades 1-6 in one building. We would put the head of a strike anywhere kitchen match in the case and hit it with a hammer to see who could shoot a match stick the greatest distance. We had to borrow the hammer from the maintenance man and return it under threat of death if we did not . After reading these I decided I will write a life story for my great grand children. I am 83, so my memories start in the 1940’s. One time a Highway patrol officer stopped to talk to me. He wanted to know where I was going with my BB gun and dog. I told him I was going to shoot Japs. He convinced me to get in the car and he took me home. I was grounded for several hours. I joined the Air Force and served 21 years.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 2, 21:11

      Thank you for your service.
      All three of my boys and a stepson joined a branch of the services. Navy, Army, 2 Air force. 2 served in Desert storm. One went to Iraq as a security contractor after his service time. One Air Force son is marred to a Coast Guard vet. She’s a sweetheart.

      Reply to this comment
      • Graywolf12 January 4, 03:14

        One daughter enlisted in the Army, one in Air Force, and the other was not qualified as she was an epileptic. We have 5 grand daughters, one grand son, 5 great grand sons, one great grand daughter, and one in the oven. I hope at least one makes the military a career.

        Reply to this comment
  82. sgoeser January 2, 18:09

    I need to ask this question. I am 72 and when I was 10 we moved to the kind-of a country town in 1956. We lived in a housing development on the edge of town. My backyard was orange groves as far as you could see with a train track running through it. Yes I would catch a slow moving train for the three mile ride into town to go to the Boy’s Club. I never told my parents what happened when the train sped up before town. I am lucky to be alive and not in a faraway town. I did all 25 plus more.
    Now my question. My dad was blind and never taught me these outdoors things we did. They just happened to us kids. Was it because we were free to get into trouble or we had very few limits on our lives, both because our parents trusted us and the law could remember what they did as kids growing up?

    Reply to this comment
  83. leftry January 2, 18:40

    We had high school rifle teams in New York City until 1968[idiot City Council woman killed that]We didn’t turn out to be assassins or snipers.Not going back there unless NYC recognizes upstate CCWs.

    Reply to this comment
  84. Allen January 2, 18:47

    When I was young my parents could spank me where all could see even a cop. There was nothing they could do, If it wasn’t LIFE-THREATENING. Do you know why they can arrest you for. spanking your kid now days. Think back when we as kids didn’t get a Social Security Number until we where in or teens. Today a day or two after your born you have one. People sign their kids up for this so they can rake in the Federal benefits. But what they don’t understand or know if your read closely on the second page. Your giving up their Servant American Citizens. As they are now going to be Federal American Citizens. Thus they are government property. Thus when you spank them your are damaging government property and they have the legal right to arrest you. Of course they make it almost impossible to live without a SSN. Low income can’t get food stamps or HUD or any other Federal benefit. You can’t get a job in most places.Now days your SSN is also tied into your driver licence and you can’t get one without it. Children can’t get medical care without it.
    If your kid didn’t have a SSN you could spank him right in front of a cop and there be nothing they could do. But them not knowing your kid doesn’t have one. Or not knowing that is where they get their authority. At lest the first time they would run you in, and the judge would threaten you to get a SSN for your child. Ether nicely by telling you all the advantages or not so nicely with variable threats. This is the government way of enforcing political control in slavery.

    Reply to this comment
  85. Leigh January 2, 19:48

    I did most of it. Grew up on a ranch in the Colorado high country. Walked out of the yard when I was 4 It was okay, because the dog went with me. Lost more knives trying to learn to throw them than I can count. Pulled my first calf when I was 10, my grand ma was holding the rope with the cow on the end of it, wrapped around a post. Calf lived ! Was a working part of the hay crew , that summer, mowed with a no cab John Deere tractor and #5 mower. I drove and did maintenance on them through haying, greased, and fueled. Had to climb up tractor with a 5 gallon can of gas and try to not spill too much on me. I learned how to think out of the box. See potential problems and take care of them before they happened. I am greatful for everything I learned. Passed it along to my daughter. She is very independent , but still calls if she has a question about lighting the furnace or water heater. She plows snow, hauls horses , can drive just about anything with wheels in it. She will do well.

    Reply to this comment
  86. Clergylady January 2, 19:52

    Loved the article and all the interesting replies.
    I did it all except pop rocks. My parents gave me a bow and arrows and later a really good hunting knife. I bought a 22 at a pawnshop when I was 14. I swam in rivers and played in creeks. Killed rattlesnakes. Cought non poisonous snakes to play with. Hated spiders but loved most other creatures. Camped alone from age 12. Rode a neighbors horses by catching a handful of mane and swinging up to ride guiding by knee pressure. By 17 owned three old Harleys. Maintained and repaired them myself. Never owned a helmet for a bicycle or motorcycle. Love being able to build, design, or do what I wanted. Raised my kids, 3 boys and a girl to do the same. By the time they left home most could have built a home from dirt to roofing it. They learned working on projects with us. (Yup, slave labor) they also knew the mountain above us and camped alone at times. Not many chances to swim here on the desert but. On trips they were in motel pools and lakes if available. Free range kids raised by free range parents. Proud of them all. And no big troubles either. I’m sure they have many things they never told us as I have things I never told my parents or kids. Husband and I have laughed over a lot of those things.
    Life is a glorious adventure. I wish today’s kids could have more of that and a bit less electronic time. They need to learn the new but not loose the old. All of my kids have been cooking since their early years. Too many their age and younger can’t cook from scratch. Sad. Everyone needs to be able to cook something, change a flat tire, and read directions with comprehension.
    Life has been a grand adventure.
    I grew up late 40s to early 60s. The changes in laws and families is mind boggling.
    I still look for the next adventure even if its just picking colors and painting the inside of my home or refinishing a piece of furniture or building something I want or need.

    Reply to this comment
  87. Mike January 2, 22:21

    Neatest thing was on Boy Scout campouts. At the end of the event we would put left over cans of food in the fire and wait for the explosive results. I have personally tracked a line of baked beans over 200 feet and seen a can of irish potato’s fly into the sky like a rocket.

    Reply to this comment
  88. IvyMike January 2, 23:06

    Reprint this article every month so we can keep talking about it! I grew up in Dallas in a neighborhood of wild middle class children in the 50’s and 60’s.The Statute of Limitations has happily run out on a lot of the stuff we did. My Dad was a country boy though and I spent a lot of time in the hills where he grew up,that saved me from prison I’m sure. When I was 10 he would drop me off at the 377 Highway bridge over the Paluxy River (no nuclear power plant, then, no Beds and Breakfasts) while he spent the day visiting his Mom in the little bitty town he grew up in.. Just me and my fishing pole and a little box of 1/4 oz spinners, the extent of my parental supervision was his concern for snakebite. Don’t panic, he’d say, just walk back up to the Highway and flag down a car…I survived the snakes, survived drinking creek water, survived a lot of perch half cooked on a green stick over a campfire…
    The life all us olds lived is gone forever.

    Reply to this comment
  89. Rebecca January 2, 23:31

    I was a town kid, not an outdoorsy kid at all and even I’ve done quite a few of these. Most of them seem pretty safe as long as kids go together. For instance, I’d never recommend swimming alone just in case. My kids aren’t really outdoorsy either but even my autistic 11.5 yo goes out in the neighbourhood with his 7 yo brother without me which many people nearby would never allow. My mom freaks out. My kids are learning how to safely make a fire, something I never learned as a kid and only recently taught myself. My hubby doesn’t even want my 7 yo to use a small sharp knife to help me in the kitchen! Seriously! But he was out after breakfast, back for lunch and out til dark when he was a kid visiting his grandma in the country. Some moron in my neighbourhood called the school, who then called CPS because my kids were out for 3 minutes waiting for the bus without me and without hats and mitts. Which were in their backpacks. They said they got too hot as soon as they got in the bus. This is 40 feet from my front door. Really? Can you believe that? The principal walked my 6 yo son home on the first day of school because he wasn’t sure he was allowed to walk home. About 200-300 yards! I can see him just as he leaves school property from my window! I walked to kindergarten at age 4 about 4 times that far! I’m afraid not everyone thinks for themselves here in Canada.

    Reply to this comment
  90. Dave January 3, 00:16

    I’m technically a millennial (22 years old) and i am absolutely and utterly disappointed in the lack of common sense, courtesy and am tired of the general stupidity of a good portion of my generation. It seems these days the rain falling from the clouds would offend someone. Im relatively new to the prepping scene but am looking to expand my knowlege, if anyone has any tips for me on how to get started and the general do’s and don’ts id be ecstatic! Cheers all,


    Reply to this comment
    • fee January 3, 01:42

      Dave, I hate to be the one to rain on your parade, but the rain is offensive lots of times! From the frickin chemtrails–aluminum, barium, strontium, and whatever else they decide to treat us to. One winter where my friend in Indy lives, it was actually FLEAS coming down into the snow in the winter! And when they illegally treated the Gulf with the Corexit, that blew up in the rain and went all over the Gulf States. They get the air (chemtrails), the food (chemtrails, GMOs, Roundup, hormones, antibiotics and even BIOsludge now), the water (chemtrails, fluoride, pharmaceuticals). I just found out last week that it is illegal here in Florida to be offgrid with your electrics (I thought the utility companies were supposed to be NON PROFIT). With governments like this who needs enemies, right???? Dave, stick with this website. I hear from about 9 prepper websites, and this one is by far the best. Claude absolutely ROCKS! Also, I love reading the EMP prepper series books. If you haven’t tried any yet, the ones by A American (Angry American) are really good, there are 10 in that set I think. They have some really funny dudes in that one; great reads! But while they are fiction, they really do have a lot of good info in them, and it is really good for mental preparation, and many of them for physical too. Also, Lights Out by David Crawford, and One Second After, along with any by Mark Goodwin and Borrowed World by Franklin Horton. These books are really interesting, and usually have a lot of good info in them. I am in Kindle Unlimited, so don’t have to pay for them! This is all from a wannabe prepper. My heart is in the right place! But unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get my body and finances to arrive yet!

      Reply to this comment
  91. fee January 3, 01:22

    I was a girl in the 60s with no brothers, and in the suburbs, so I didn’t get a chance to do a lot of this stuff. But I always went barefoot, and always had sandspurs (OUCH) and once got sandworm (Creeping Eruption! Loved that name) (My Pa–I TOLD you not to go barefoot!) When my best high school friend was young (before we were besties), she jumped across the ditch that separated our street from the truck stop on Orange Blossom Trail. Her little toe landed on a pop top thingy, and almost cut her toe completely off. They sewed it back on though, so no sweat! I never had a stitch at all; I was careful! (except for the sandspurs–my GOSH they were treacherous and ubiquitous in Orlando). We did have a huge lake in our subdivision, and me and my best friend (the one above) went out and sat on the dock in the lake during a hurricane, when the water was right up to the bottom of the planks (instead of 3 feet under them, like normal). We walked around the neighborhood in the gale winds and rain, and we LOVED it! Do ya’ll remember back then, if you got in trouble, the cops would help you? Instead of shooting you, like they do now? I would never ask a cop for help anymore! We had some nasty boys in our neighborhood. Don’t know how they managed it, but they put sugar in the gas tank of your school bus! (Actually, the main one responsible was a cop’s son!) And ya know one of the best parts back then! Your frickin appliances did not spy on your conversations back then. They were JUST appliances (and phones and cars)! Things are NOT changing for the better! OH! In JUNIOR HIGH (no middle school back then), I used to sneak out in the middle of the night and walk around the neighborhood. Was totally fun when the full moon was out; it looked like fairyland! Totally quiet and peaceful (and my parents would have had a heart attack had they known)! Used to go ”Dancing in the Moonlight!”

    Reply to this comment
  92. greenlady January 3, 03:12

    I didn’t carry a gun, and I don’t remember there being any school shootings or mass shootings when I was a kid back in the 40’s and 50’s. None of my friends were ever kidnapped or killed. Not being able to cook does not equate with carrying a gun. Young people should be able to take care of themselves, but it’s the parents responsibility to teach them.

    Reply to this comment
  93. mimi@sbtx January 3, 08:14

    Yep, did all these and more. How about jumping off the shed roof with a cape to try to fly like Superman? Nearly cut my big toe off landing on a glass jar that broke. Had to dig the glass out and bandage the wound myself, because my parents went visiting on Saturday morning and left us 6 kids home alone.

    Reply to this comment
  94. Wannabe January 3, 14:01

    Bottle rocket fights. Those were the days. Sliding off a one story parking garage when ice covered it onto a pile of snow on the ground. Laying on a skateboard going down steep hills with traffic traveling really close. Riding bikes on busy roads through neighborhoods to get to the mall. Playing ding dong ditch four several hours. Ordering pizzas for your mean neighbor and watching the recipient and pizza delivery guy scratch their heads wondering who was going to pay for it. Throwing snowballs at passing cars and running for your life when you score a direct hit. Those were the days.

    Reply to this comment
  95. LarryH January 3, 16:06

    Several friends and I used to steal cigarettes from our parents. We lived on the edge of town and we would go climb a big oak tree and smoke the whole pack before descending to do other nasty things like swimming in the Iowa River without supervision.

    Reply to this comment
  96. Thor1 January 3, 21:00

    Dune buggy riding and coming home covered head to toe in mud…LOL Mom got out the hose….. Only clean area was helmet and goggles…. Thanks for the memory….

    Reply to this comment
  97. Rob January 3, 22:54

    My mother recently told me when I was a kid, she was scared to take to the doctor because I was a walking scab from head to toe. The doctor told her he loved to see kids with scrapes and bruises because it meant an active child. With today’s children and their coddled childhood, we are truly screwed as a society. These whiny punks are killing what made America great. We are the land of the whimp and the home of the snowflake. It’s just embarrassing.

    Reply to this comment
  98. Old Uncle Dave January 4, 02:08

    Roller skates that clamped onto your shoes. Metal wheels – a pebble would stop you cold. No pads, no helmets, many skinned palms and knees.

    Reply to this comment
  99. Highland Warrior January 4, 02:41

    Sorry but: “There won’t be anymore more rebels” is EXACTLY why they are doing. That’s when they will be able to take away your guns.. It will take few more years but that’s the plan…

    Reply to this comment
  100. Kesh January 5, 12:28

    I did everything on the list as a child in Western PA. Crawdads and caves… giving my stuffed animals a ride in a shoebox tied with a jumprope to the back of my bike… neighborhood tag in the twilight with all yards up for grabs.

    I have to admit, though, that I have been a much more timid parent. The speed and amount of traffic with distracted drivers who feel invincible has conquered my bravery.

    Reply to this comment
  101. Allen January 5, 20:10

    Did everything there except the snow ball. No snow in south Texas. But did any of you place a card or plastic disk on you bike frame to be hit by the wheel spokes making it sound a little like a motorcycle. Or play Evil Knievel with home made ramps and your bicycle.

    Reply to this comment
    • fee January 5, 23:13

      OH MY GOSH, DUDE!!!! You played Evel Knievel???? Now THAT scares me!! I think that’s what the Duke Boys were doing sometimes! Evel was one bad dude! Ya know, it didn’t even matter if he made stuff or not. It was just the fact he would try it, right?

      Reply to this comment
      • Allen January 6, 03:02

        There was a road near my home that was below side walk level mind you I was a young kid at the time but the walls on both sides where higher than me. We built a ramp waited for car to come by and made the jump over a narrow two lane road. YES we where nuts but mom didn’t know.

        Reply to this comment
  102. Susie January 6, 00:06

    I did most of these plus. I remember in Junior High the boys all had pocket knives and a lot wore hunting knives on their belts, everyday to school. Never a fight. Right before hunting season and after Christmas, the boys would bring their shotguns or rifles to school to show them off. We were actually excused from classes during hunting season. I never wore shoes, not even to church or school, from spring til late fall. Our feet were tough as leather. We left home after breakfast but had to be back at dark. We roamed the hills, found caves, abandoned buildings, pretending were explorers, pirates, cowboys n Indians, whatever and had a blast. We built rafts out of dead all logs and went down the creeks. Caught and kept many wild animals as pets. Raccoons, rabbits, crows, squirrels, possums, owls, herons, anything was fair game for us. We had no indoor plumbing and no electricity until I was 12. There wasn’t a tree I hadn’t climbed on the whole place. I loved to climb to the very top and sway back and forth as far as I could. I would cut grapevine and swing out over the back creek , about 40′ deep. I did fall, I did get hurt, I did get cut, springs, broken bones but I lived and had a great childhood. I got my butt busted many times for doing wrong, I usually deserved it. Went to work for the neighbors at age of 5, picking and killing tobacco worms for 50 cents a day., had to walk over hill at 5am returned right before dark. Graduated to picking beans, 1.00 a bushel. Walked every where. Was sent to store 1 and half miles away. All of this was unsupervised. My parents were strict and raised during the depression so they raised us the same way. If mother didn’t grow it we didn’t eat it. Mother would send us out picking berries (to can) ,alone, in the woods, no one around for mile. Harsh childhood to some, normal to me. Never once went to a doctor or hospital. And I am a girl. I grew up, joined the Marine Corps, did quite well. Did 8 years and raised 3 daughters alone. They did most of the same things I did, had fun, and are very different than their friends. I didn’t mean to post this long but the other posts brought back a lot of memories. Thanks to all.

    Reply to this comment
  103. Clergylady January 6, 00:51

    Yes… My dad showed my how to use a playing card and clothes pin to sound like a motorcycle. Guessing that was 1954.
    My stepson born ’61 destroyed my bicycle playing Evil Kenievil. He bent the frame and it couldn’t be pedaled after that.

    Reply to this comment
  104. SurvivalGal January 6, 19:54

    Great article! I’ve done most of those things you’ve listed (I’m almost 64 years old). My father started taking me hunting and fishing when I was 5 years old. I had to keep up with him in the woods or get left behind. I killed my first “food” (a rabbit) when I was 11 years old (and of, course, he made me clean it and cook it myself) I loved doing things with my dad and thought he was the greatest!. We also had to play outside and then rush to be home by dark or be in trouble. I remember one time playing cowboys and Indians with my brother and he’d tied me to a tree in the nearby woods and then left me! Thankfully, he wasn’t real good with knots so I finally managed to get myself loose and made it home before dark. LOL. I have spent 20 plus years working with kids and it has been horrible to see how unprepared kids are these days. It’s really scary! Thank goodness for programs like 4-H and Scouts to help kids get these experiences in camping, shooting sports, hunting, growing animals and food, cooking etc. You can bet I made sure my kids were brought up like me but it wasn’t easy…just one example, My son was suspended in Kindergarten for pointing his finger at another kid (who was an “alien” while they were playing “Men in Black” during recess!!

    Reply to this comment
    • Black Swan January 8, 01:50

      I was happy my kids enjoyed 4-H, normal camping activities, and some of the other kid games you mention here also. But I’d have drawn the line firmly if my son had tied my daughter, 2 yrs younger than him, to a tree and left her! He wouldn’t have been sitting down comfortably for a couple of days, and he would also have had to apologize, possibly in writing. He learned early to be her protector and to treat her with respect. And she in turn learned to be strong, confident and capable, but also respectable in dress and speech. Yes, a girl can be fashionable without looking like a skank and swearing like a sailor!

      Something I forgot to mention concerning the original list: I am almost the same age as you, and also remember playing Red Rover. I looked forward to sharing my strategy for it with my kids, which is that when you come to where you’re trying to break the line, strike or just fall partway downward. They never expect that, and you always get through even if the two kids trying to stop you are much larger and stronger.

      I did share that information with them, but it was purely academic because their public schools, even out here in the country, didn’t permit Red Rover. Too dangerous, say what? I never heard of anyone in my elementary school getting hurt playing it at recess. It was one of the tamer options available then, IMHO.

      Reply to this comment
      • fee January 8, 14:44

        This is a PRIME example of what is wrong with these buttholes today! RED ROVER is too dangerous? Say WHAT??????? This is right up there with the boy getting suspended from kindergarten because of the way he bit his pop tart!

        Reply to this comment
  105. Dupin January 8, 15:58

    Especially on the news, this list jives well. However, in some cases, reality is a bit different. My son is in elementary school and he does buy his lunch. As a single working parent, it’s much easier on me to do that. However, Thursday is a field trip, so I’ll make him a sandwich…maybe peanut butter and jelly. I’ll seal it well so there’s no worries at his before-school day care where there are some nut allergy issues.

    He’s in Cub Scouts so he’s shot BB guns, slingshots and done archery. He has a few pocket knives though they don’t go to school with him since that would get him in trouble, unlike past times. I know I carried a pocket knife almost daily, including school, from the time I got my Whittling Chip in Cub Scouts, but that time is past, and from the actions of a couple of kids in his school, that may be for the best.

    Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but we drink out of the hose, as do his friends if they’re over, outside and thirsty. No big deal for most of them.

    We camp with friends, and many times the girls outnumber the boys, and they all swim in creeks ponds, lakes, etc, and they climb trees while camping.

    I’m not sure what part of the world you’re in, but all of my son’s male friends have at least a half-dozen Nerf guns and battle regularly…well, not since Sunday. Our high school has a shotgun club, and probably an archery club, too.

    I’ve got several picture of my son and his friends…some of them girls…covered pretty well in mud and/or dirt, and they did get hosed off outside.

    My son didn’t walk to and from school by himself until this year because I needed to be at work early and not back until late, so he does before and after school care. However, I was doing my prep work for a colonoscopy so couldn’t go anywhere, and he walked to and from that day and the day of the procedure, and loved it.

    Point is, a lot of kids still do a lot of these things. Wearing a bicycle helmet makes sense, carrying a pocket knife to school is essentially against the law, and riding in the back of a truck is against the law. I can’t speak to snow activities since we get snow about once every 3 years, and it doesn’t last long.

    Reply to this comment
  106. Darkstar January 16, 21:25

    What a great post and responses. We used to used soak cattails in diesel or kerosene and use tem as torches to explore caves and large drainage structures. I also have fond memories of jumping off the railroad trestle into the river to cool down in the summer!

    It is too bad that a child can’t enjoy these activities anymore without being called dysfunctional, dangerous, or a misfit!

    Reply to this comment
  107. Clergylady January 17, 19:17

    Loving all the posts.
    All my kids grew up with knives, guns, safety lessons, climbing the mountains above us without an adult after they were teens, and riding bikes- sans helmets. A cousin passed on a well used Honda 50 to the two younger kids. They loved it and learned to keep it running. All were good shots but the baby of the family and only girl could out shoot them all. Everyone learned to cook, clean, do laundry, change oil, run a chainsaw and maintain it. Most worked on cars as much as they wanted. Some learned to sew clothing but all could mend a seam, hem a garment and sew on a button. Everyone learned to tell directions by that inner compass that is developed by observation and a few basics either taught or modeled by adults. Everyone learned to read a map after I discovered my husbands parent saw a map as a complete mystery. Everyone learned to read with out loud reading every evening. There was help pronouncing hard or new words, and no laughing at mistakes allowed. That was started when I discovered my 17 year old stepson was functionally a third grader. A King James Bible was full of hard names and unfamiliar words. But a shared chapter each evening, read verse by verse around the family circle turned him into a good reader and helped the rest. Baby sister was a few months old when it started. She sat with us but didn’t participate until she refused to attend preschool, complaining that it was baby. I gave her a placement test to decided what to do. She was reading at second grade level and doing third grade math. Age three. She’d learned by playing school with slightly older kids and from listening to our home reading group. She joined in with the reading out loud with the family group. Everyone climbed trees and enjoyed rope swings and regular swings. I’d even go play on the rope swing once in a while. I couldn’t do that today but I’m still a kid at heart.
    We learned a lot about life and playfulness and grown up responsibilities by our play. So did my kids. They are 40- 57 now and still teaching what they know to another generation. Yes we live in a different framework of laws but self control, critical thinking, literacy and math, coordination, health and descent body strength, paying attention to that danger intuition that’s built in most of us, developing a good sense of direction and some people skills make for productive, creative adults. Play did a lot of that for us. It was pure joy but we learned a lifetime of skills and built strong bodies.
    I’m afraid too many of the new crop of kids growing up will only be capable of thumb wrestling. They grow up parked in front of a tv or smart phone. Texting and games keep them busy but not active. Yes some develope skills learned in PE or other classes but too many budget poor schools don’t have structured PE. Families are single parent or two working parents and safe open spaces are disappearing from everyday life. I’m not knocking single parents but they do struggle and kids need the life lessons learned from both men and women as role models l. They need parents who can take time with their kids. Most high schools don’t have the shop classes they had when I was in school. Dads, if present, have little time. I know what it takes to survive so I understand parents both working. But I don’t like seeing little kids glued to a tv as a babysitter and bigger kids glued to their phones. Too many couldn’t possibly survive much hardship. They won’t have the skills or knowledge needed.
    Our nation survived the depression and the rationing of 2 world wars all within one century. They did it by finding new ways, families and strangers helping each other, and being brave enough to relocate if needed. Most now cook with a mix, cars are maintained by a dealership or local garage. Too many kids can’t read or do math. Many, with good reason, are terrified of guns. Socialism is being heard of as a right, not an expensive failed system.
    I search out older cookbooks for presents for teens and younger folks learning to cook. A grandson gets old scouting books, scratch cookbooks, first aid books, et and we discuss or do a lot of old time things. My kids have seen ancient pit houses, been in older Navajo hogans and and Adobe homes. They volunteered to help repair some of those older homes and learned a lot. Kids need to know there are other ways to survive and rebuild if needed. Visit old ruins, take a mountaineering class. Play with Adobe or make a pot from clay from a damp stream bank. If you know… You share that knowledge. Keep our youth playing and learning and dare to let then explore a bit. And keep on playing and learning. Enjoy the ride while you’re on top of the dirt.

    Reply to this comment
  108. Mad Fiddler January 18, 20:20

    Did all those stunts as a kid, got injured but when recovered went back to doing lots of activities. Dad was 29 years in US Navy, rose thru ranks in WWII, no HS diploma but like many others, as Navy saw his energy and CAN-DO attitude, gave him training and LOTS of opportunities from pre-WWII pilot training (washed out, trainers didn’t like concept of non-officer pilots) served on Hornet CV-8 from before Pearl to its last day, awarded Navy Cross. Later bombardier, team leader for Search & Rescue around Whidbey Island NAS, taught electronics & math, handled nukes, served as JAG officer, eventually retired as Commander after assignments as XO and CO of bases. There were MANY “mustangs” who grew up in the Great Depression who had similar experiences.

    Both our Parents made sure their sons and daughter knew some self-reliance. We mowed lawns & did chores for $ around the neighborhood as kids, hiked, camped, went to Junior NRA & learned range safety and shooting w .22 rifles. Our mom was Den Mother for years for cub scouts, PTA, boy scouts, lots of music, studying and church. THEY set a fine example, most Decent people I’ve known. Great Mom. They stayed together to the end.

    Seems like these days people are too obsessed w material THINGS not family. Big HOLE where some love should be.

    Reply to this comment
  109. Bigjon January 19, 02:38

    Bikes sleds,learned to drive tractor at 12.creek swimming.learned to blow stumps at 13.stolen beer at 15……..

    Reply to this comment
  110. KDC October 3, 15:19

    Well, I did pretty much 98% of those things. What a wonderful time that was. It taught responsibility, and self reliance. These people in these times are whimps that can’t handle anything.

    Reply to this comment
  111. Mamachu October 3, 17:56

    climbing a pine tree and scraping my belly coming back down,catching a mule and riding bareback,building fires,playing with frogs,green snakes and salamanders, riding a sow that got out, staying on till she went through a blackberry thicket and then bucked me off.smoking candy cigarettes and skinny dipping in a neighbor’s pond at night.,

    Reply to this comment
  112. Ted October 3, 18:05

    Bringing my .22 rifle to school, keeping it in my locker, so I could be taught how to clean it by my NON-homo Scoutmaster, at our Boy Scout meeting after school, in the commons room of our school. Just like all We other REAL Boy Scouts did!

    The same Scoutmaster that taught us about what the 2nd Amendment is REALLY meant to be used for!

    Reply to this comment
  113. Torn October 3, 18:13

    Drove a tractor to town cause Gramps said to take it to garage to get fixed, found out why when put it in road gear and pulled the throttle down, thing jumped from ditch to ditch. Had a devil of time to get the throttle shut down. Was 9 and it was 5 miles

    Reply to this comment
  114. tess October 3, 20:57

    playing stick ball in the streets, riding our bikes from brooklyn to queens over a bridge with no adult, running to see if you could jump on these concrete tubes that were about 2ft high an not smashing your face. cooking our own dinner when parents were working

    Reply to this comment
  115. mom October 4, 15:10

    I’m in my 80’s and raised 5 sons and 3 foster boys. Aside from one special boy they did it all. The go-cart without an engine was wonderful on steep hills, They scaled the 3 story house on the outside and sat on the roof (without my permission). There were a few things they did without my knowledge, but not many. All boys learned to cook, sew, clean, and all worked jobs as soon as they could. It is so sad to see young kids sit and fiddle with their hand-held devices and not go out to play. How will they survive as adults without a computer? I agree you should publish this list every so often. My sons did it all and are great adults and face life with vigor.

    Reply to this comment
  116. Energetic1 October 4, 21:14

    Drinking water from the hose was my favorite water! It had a special “hose taste” and I loved it! I can taste it now!

    Reply to this comment
  117. VEE3 October 17, 16:54

    Only 25….LOL

    Reply to this comment
  118. COMSEUR October 28, 22:14

    (snaps to AttenSHUN!)
    Ma’am, both hands (and arms, yes, still have both of ’em, too, yay) raised HIGH! 🙂
    I’ve done most thangs on your list, and missed only a few.
    I’m still shaking my head in disbelief when I see a helmeted biker (kid OR grown up). And yes, I AM that old… sigh.
    People looking at their (not so) Smartphone an falling into manholes? Then suing the city??
    We are doomed.
    Darwin awards left and right.
    I’ll give them 7 days at most, in case of EMP, or other power failure.
    Most of them will kill themselves because they cannot reach facebook/twitter or whatever else is out there.
    Good riddance.
    Having read the book “Cell” by the master story teller gives me hope. Sorta.
    Y’all stay safe now, hear?

    Reply to this comment
  119. Between Three Centuries December 7, 15:31

    Rode horses and bikes and skated down frozen rivers. We had rifles and shotguns at school along with knives, hatchets, traps and ammunition. We built tunnels and rooms and mazes in the hayloft with bales of hay that would have impressed the Viet Cong. BB gun wars meant at some point you were going to get shot with a BB. No one got an eye put out, but did get some good welts. on the legs and butt. Camped out in the woods and built fires and fished and shot game to eat. One kid had enough knowledge gathered from the library to make homemade high explosives that could emboss raised letter initials on an old iron bridge by using the Munroe effect of shaped charges. Blasting caps were common and so was dynamite. Others made homemade shotguns and zip gun pistols. Setting off a couple hundred pounds of leftover ammonium nitrate fertilizer soaked in diesel fuel and set off with a stick of dynamite out in a wide open field would bring the sheriff who would just tell you that you are a dumb shit. We were free and the only people that died did so by doing stupid things like working under a car that had no wheels propped up with concrete blocks.

    Reply to this comment
  120. Westpacwill May 8, 15:54

    Climbing the town’s water-tower late at night to spraypaint our high school’s class year. FHS ’72! (still the coolest bunch of kids this little town ever produced….)

    Reply to this comment
  121. bleach May 8, 16:25

    Grew up in the 50’s so yes did all of that and then some. Grew up in California and believe it or not, while in High School, it was not unusual for kids to have a rifle or shotgun in their vehicle nor unusual for students and staff to be comparing firearms in the parking lot!

    We also blew stuff up with black powder and even a couple of sticks of dynamite.

    Reply to this comment
  122. Ralston May 8, 19:46

    I too did most of those things. Some other things were starting my own fire. I learned three ways to start a fire by the time I was 12. I also learned to cook with those fires. You ask someone nowadays if they use a dutch oven to make cobler, and they look at you like you are speaking a foreign language. We used to go grasshopper hunting in the corn fields, used BB guns to pick off those rascals. And I had a job as a paper boy when I was 13, getting up early so I could make the deliveries before going to school.

    Reply to this comment
  123. red May 8, 23:31

    These are illegal? where? Oh, yeah, those other states. BTW to all, a late MERRY CHRISTMAS! niio

    Reply to this comment
  124. Govtgirl May 9, 09:22

    Driving down a two-lane country road at night with the headlights off.
    Drinking 3.2 beer when you’re 18.
    Having a lemonade stand without a city permit.
    Working in the tomato cannery when you’re 12.
    Buying a carton of cigarettes without an ID check. Oh, and it was $3.50 for 10 packs.

    Reply to this comment
  125. EddieW May 11, 20:27

    A dog in some people’s yard really growled and barked at me as I went by, I loaded a water gun with ammonia, and as he came at me, I shot him in the face with it! From then on he only barked at me from the back yard!

    Reply to this comment
  126. EddieW May 11, 20:38

    At high school in Custer SD we had a race track in our town, and we’d drive around it slow and beep the horn once in a while, then there he’d be, a big rabbit in the center of the track, and the race was on!! He’d run about a half track before he’d duck in under the fence, and the race was over! sometimes you’d go there and there are four to five cars waiting, so we’d watch the race, then all would leave! Our Principal, Mr. Goodrich, found out…went out to the track and when the rabbit popped out, got out and shot it!! leaving it right there, he was the most hated man in school!!!

    Reply to this comment
  127. Gina May 12, 13:57

    That was an awesome article! Having grown up in the 70s, I can relate! I am proud to say that my kids DID do a lot of this stuff, we didn’t own any “real” guns, but they had airsoft guns, BB guns, Nerf guns (lol). I had three boys, we played in the mud, we went camping, they learned how to cook, clean and do laundry. I did homeschool them most of their school years and two are in the military and one is in college. The two in the military are also both firefighters like their father. I think the most important thing they learned was to think rationally, and they had fun. Now, I was a bit more protective we lived in a great area but I had grown up on the West side of Chicago (Austin neighborhood which is one of the worst) and things happened to me as a young child which scarred me. Raising my kids was walking a fine line between being a paranoid weird helicopter mom (I’m exaggerating, I can’t stand those women) and giving them freedom. Most of the time, we just did a lot of fun things together.

    Reply to this comment
    • red May 12, 19:23

      Gina: You did a good job raising yours. We were mostly allowed to raise ourselves. the older we got, the more responsible we were supposed to act. And, being farm raised, we pretty much did. But, when we would get together with the parents, then start to talk about all the fun we had, the folks would start to look shocked, get up and walk away. If we were caught doing something we shouldn’t, we were punished, usually just a sad look that made us ashamed to have hurt the elders. When mine started to have kids, they all said they were never going to spank their kids! My parents just laughed and said genes will tell. niio

      Reply to this comment
  128. Mudbogg August 7, 14:10

    My brothers and I had BB gun fights. Sometimes we used wrist rockets. We quit when I shot my brother in the cheek below the eye. We also would should an arrow straight up and dodge it on its way down. We drank milk straight from the cow. Shot targets in the house with BB guns. Blew up stuff with fireworks. Used a rod connected to the outlet to get nightcrawlers out of the ground for fishing. Yes, we felt the electrical current. So many more. We were nuts. All of us survived and are still here and we are in our 50s.

    Reply to this comment
    • red August 7, 16:39

      Mud: Yeah, when we would get together and talk about all the fun we had as kids, Mom would get this weird look and walk away 🙂 Why, I have no idea because her mother did the same when Mom and her sibs started talking! niio

      Reply to this comment
  129. rick August 7, 15:33

    Making home made rockets and small bombs from stuffing book match heads into a small container or for rockets a piece of aluminum TV antenna tubing,hammer down one end stuff it and crimp the othe end enough to hold a match.Light and run like he**,sometimes it would just explode rather than fly.I could go on and on …………………..

    Reply to this comment
  130. Neen August 7, 21:48

    I think I wasn’t even in school yet. We had a secluded “beach” on the lake and we had an old rusted shovel that we would toss in the bushes for next time. We would go there to swim and fish with our hands. I had a pocket knife and would clean the fish , rinse them in the lake. My mother had given us some lard for frying them, flour with salt & pepper in a plastic bag. We would start a fire, put the shovel on the fire with the lard to melt, jump back in the water for a swim, then get out shake the fish in the flour, throw them in the hot lard, fry them up and then eat our bounty. when we were done we would dump out the hot lard, scoop up sand to clean the shovel and dunk it in the water and pitch it into the bushes for the next time and head home.
    In the winter Dad would pull us down the road with the car on our flying saucers. When the lake froze over he would pull us on the ice. Sometimes we would jump in the snow drifts from the garage roof. Everybody grew gardens, we walked around all summer with a salt shaker in our pockets.We would be walking down the driveway, see a ripe veggie pick it, if it came out of the ground we would wipe it in the grass or on our pants and eat it, dirt and all! We would sometimes raid gardens at night too.

    Reply to this comment
    • Inkslinger003 August 24, 20:27

      Great stories, all. These early experiences do teach independence and resourcefulness. And true, in many situations today, kids are coddled and with enough ‘progressives’ around the coddling can become mandatory, and suffocating.
      One possible escape from the security blanket, in some communities is the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. At the very least they teach some “scoutcraft” skills that are never taught in public school. Even at that minimal level, there’s some independence and pride that comes with knowing what their fellow students don’t know. And if the kid is lucky, they get a Scoutmaster who will take the kids out into the real world and create opportunities where they can still have some of these foundation experiences. If you find a troop like that, SUPPORT IT. Become an adult leader, serve on the Troop Committee, and go on as many of those trips as you can. Give your kid some space (do not hover). Concentrate on tasks that benefit the whole troop (like whatever the Scoutmaster needs done to improve the camp, or prepare meals). Be there as a witness that things were done safely, and that no one was abused or bullied. The fact that there are several adult witnesses is often enough to discourage the sheltered people from objecting. And your participation will show your kid (without a word being said) that you think these experiences are important. Guaranteed, you will have as much fun as the Scouts do!

      Reply to this comment
  131. Audhild August 9, 17:29


    Are you kidding me? 90% of that stuff should not be allowed!

    If this was meant to stir nostalgia or be even funny that’s one thing.

    I support independent children but do NOT support irresponsible parenting!

    Reply to this comment
    • Grywolf12 August 10, 01:56

      You need to detox from the left wing propaganda. We lived through it, became tough, fought wars, put manin space, cured many diseases, and made the world a better place before the communist takeover of the educational system. I bet you are a product of that so called educational system. What you support is control. What we did was freedom to learn that life is tough and you better get tough to make it. The weak looked to the government for support and created the monstrosity we have now.

      Reply to this comment
    • red August 11, 04:28

      Audhild: Today, playing in the backyard without an adult along is illegal in many places. In Texas, after they won independence from Mexico 16-year-old boys and girls were registered to vote. You were expected to have a mind of your own, to make the right decisions, not be treated like an infant till age 18. How old should you trust a child to be a young adult? Why consider someone who is 40 as an adult if they’re still in the nanny stage? My people raise our kids to become adult and be responsible at a very early age. By age 13, when school let out for the summer, if our parents saw us once a week, it was because we got caught raiding the fridge at 2 AM because we got tired of living on fish and rabbit and berries. peace.

      Reply to this comment
  132. TAL August 24, 20:45

    How many of you were wounded in a BB Gun War BEFORE your 13th birthday?

    Reply to this comment
  133. Gunner August 26, 17:03

    Did all that AND even a few things which weren’t legal then either, except our BB gun wars were actually cherry bomb wars. Light, throw, run away! Had them blow up on me. In spite of that, I’m 70 and still throwing cherry bombs.

    I raised two sets of kids, 6 total, and they all turned out good AND are responsible and able to make their own decisions without running to Dad. I made it very clear to them as they became teenagers I would give advice IF asked but they had to make the decision and realize they were responsible for whatever happened. They quickly learned and realized I wasn’t kidding. Amazingly [go figure…] they quickly began making [mostly] correct decisions. They were burned a few times but they learned, grew, matured.

    ….and, YES, I made them drink out of the water faucet and hose. Didn’t make them wear helmets on bikes; taught them to shoot early on and watched them go hunting with their friends when 15–I never worried because the first thing I did when I taught them to shoot was show them what happens to a cantaloupe when you shoot it. That lesson stuck with them….

    Reply to this comment
View comments

Write a comment


Follow Us