Archives for January 2012

50 Dangerous Things: Lick a 9-Volt Battery


Lick a 9-volt battery to see what electricity tastes and feels like.


9-volt battery

Aluminum Foil (for extra credit)

Possible Hazards:

Shock (duh)

How It All Went Down:

First of all, I would like to thank Eli’s latest ear infection for prompting me to pull out our new Exergen Temporal Scanner.  Our fancy new thermometer just happened to come with a 9-volt battery.  We had kids, we had a battery, we were ready to get this 50 Dangerous Things show on the road.

Elena was eager and ready to try licking the battery.  Eli?  Not so much.  Knowing that his reaction would most likely be priceless, I did what any reasonable parent would do.  By the time our bargaining was over, Eli managed to walk away with a pack of M&Ms and the promise of a new LEGO Ninjago mini-fig.  I got to stick a battery on his tongue and capture the best battery face ever.  Win-win.

Have you ever tried this?  I remember doing this as a kid. Not because my parents read a book about it (my mom owned one parenting book – Dr. Spock), but because someone dared us.  Our parents were off doing what parents did back then: mind their own business and get stuff done.  Unlike my house today, batteries weren’t stored in a clear, well-labeled container out of reach of children.  They were probably stored next to the chain-saw in the garage.  I bet we had to dig through the ones dripping with battery acid to get to the good ones.   Try it at least once.  It’s not painful.  Elena gave it a 2.5 on the pain scale.  It does taste weird, though.  It’s not something you can pin-point (Eli suggests poop, of course), since the electrical current stimulates random nerves on your tongue not associated with a specific taste.

Elena and I also tried chewing on a wad of aluminum foil, which conducts a weak electric current when mixed with the acid in your saliva.  I forgot the cardinal rule of chewing foil: KEEP IT AWAY FROM ANY FILLINGS.  Yowza.  Thank goodness we didn’t get that on video.  These ones are much better.

What are you waiting for?  Go ahead and lick a battery.  We dare ya.

Want more?  Read about the rest of our experiences with 50 Dangerous Things. Inspired by Gever Tulley’s book 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).


An Introduction of Sorts

I have to give Gever Tulley and his book 50 Dangerous Things (you should let your children do) most of the credit for inspiring Mike and I to start this blog.  I first heard about Gever and his book through a link to his TEDTalk.  Mike and I loved his idea that so many activities that are taboo now – letting a kid fiddle around with a pocket knife, using real tools, climbing trees, walking places by themselves, are lost opportunities for kids to experiment, grow and gain confidence.

Mike was ready to buy the book and tackle everything in it with the kids.  My thought process, as someone who lives and breathes the internet, was “This would make great blog material!”  And I think it will.  As we document our experiences with each of the projects, we hope you’ll be inspired to try some out on your own.  It’s not just for the kids – you’ll see us try a few, too!

There were already a few blogs out there taking on the projects in the book.  Knowing that, and also knowing that confining ourselves to only blogging about the 50 Things would limit us (What do we do after we finish? Close up shop?), we decided to make The Risky Kids about more than just the 50 Things.  It will be a banged-up, messy, awesome little corner of the web where we can share a laid-back, paranoia-free, inspiring way to parent without fear of the evil eye from more, ahem, uptight methods of raising kids.

Bear with us as we figure out the kinks – how things are organized, how often we post, what our risky style will be.  For now, we’ll try to make things easy and categorize posts as best as we can.  You’ll be able to find links to all the 50 Dangerous Things posts from the main menu above.  We’ll also keep a running tab of resources and links that we think other  Risky Parents will find helpful, amusing, or maybe downright appalling, up there as well.

More than anything, we want this to develop into a community.  If you have anything you’d like to see, share, or write for us, please let us know!  We always want to hear from you at or via Twitter (@TheRiskyKids).


Let The Fun Begin


The Risky Family: Eli (4), Elena (9), Angie & Mike

We don’t look so dangerous, do we?  Nah, to most everyone we look like your average family.  But somewhere between our daughter’s first tentative steps and now, we realized that our philosophy on kids and play was not quite the same as most parents.

When other parents were hovering we were stepping back.  We heard “Get down!” and encouraged our kids to climb higher.  Even though we live in suburbia, we wanted our kids to experience some of the wilder, less-restricted days of our youth.  Eventually we realized that most of the things we let our kids do – exploring creeks, climbing trees, skateboarding, riding bikes alone, even monkey bars – were considered “too dangerous” for kids’ safety.  We didn’t want that to be the prevailing attitude for this next generation of kids, and so we created The Risky Kids.

The Risky Kids is our place to share a different way to play and parent: one that worries less, encourages freedom and fun, and yes, might include a few bumps and bruises.  While we won’t be throwing any machetes or bungee-jumping, we will push the boundaries of what society today considers “safe” play.  Through reflecting on issues on play today, sharing our favorite books, toys and activities, and making our way through Gever Tulley’s book 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Kids Do), we hope to make risky play everyone’s business.