Sidewalk Chalk, Bubbles and Other Subversive Childhood Toys

sidewalk chalkStapleton Colorado has a problem with vandalism. You wouldn't think the small suburb of Denver would be a hotbed of subversive public art (now if it were a suburb of Boulder that would be an entirely different story) and yet moms in one neighborhood are being warned to keep their small children indoors. And away from chalk. Because apparently it's the wee tots with sidewalk chalk that are the problem and, according to the homeowners association, doing the drawing that "offends, disturbs or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment" of public spaces. At least until the next rain storm.

Having seen my fair share of chalk drawings on my own driveway, I'm sure they're right. I was particularly offended by one sketch in which my son drew me with blond hair. Not to mention the time another child decided to disband the family by drawing himself with a "new mom and dad who weren't mean monsters" for making him pick up the 700 Legos he'd thrown everywhere. And of course I was very disturbed by my third son's rendering of himself with no arms and legs because he got run over by a train. (Sarcasm aside, I really was kinda disturbed by that one.)

Related: 30 Best Things You Can Do For Your Kids

But I think the home owner's association stopped too short with just banning sidewalk chalk. In addition to the aforementioned Legos (i.e. plastic landmines), there are so many childhood toys that are a hazard to life and limb. Bubbles, for instance, are really just soap and soap on pavement makes it into a concrete slip-n-slide. Plastic jump ropes can leave big welts if you get snapped with one. And Silly Putty is just creepy. I mean, it looks like skin! That you can roll up and make into a bouncy ball! Don't even get me started on skateboards, tricycles, Barbie skates and other wheeled objects that find their way under my feet or my car.

Kids these days. Why can't they just stay inside and play video games like they're supposed to?!

What do you think about sidewalk chalk in public areas - is the ban as silly as it sounds to me or am I missing a larger point?

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