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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Learning how to let your kids have some fun

Any kid can play in Mike Lanza’s front yard.

That’s because the San Francisco father of three boys turned his garden into a “front yard family room,” where all the kids in the neighborhood have received an open invitation to hang out, play on the swing set, draw on the 30-foot white board, shoot hoops and just enjoy being outdoors.

“When I think about my boys’ futures, I’m terrified,” Lanza told The San Francisco Chronicle.

“I’m not terrified that they will have inferior educations or live in an unsafe world. I’m terrified that they won’t have very much fun.”

One of my son’s substitute preschool teachers, a bright young man who is also majoring in child studies at Eastern Washington University, sent me a link to this story.

He and I have been exchanging e-mails on the philosophy of “free-range kids” and how parents need to relax a little more and just let their kids explore and play.

My own front yard is the size of a postage stamp so this would never work, but we do have a wonderful park just two blocks away where our neighbors and others congregate for pancake breakfasts, play dates, dog walks and other gatherings. (Our dear friends and next-door neighbors got married there.)

What’s your neighborhood like? Is it a great place for kids to play?

– Posted by Virginia de Leon

Join the conversation at www.spokesman.com/blogs/ parents

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