I have noticed that kids in Scandinavia are allowed to play in freer ways than in the United States. For example, in one elementary school that I visited in Norway, kids were climbing trees, and they were really high up – I was very concerned for their safety. And yet the teachers seemed perfectly at ease with this. In Iceland I saw kids playing on these gizmos that involved hopping onto a tire and zipping along this clothes line looking apparatus. I’m sure something like that would not be allowed in our litigious society – it would be a law suit waiting to happen. I’m going to be presenting on September 7 and 8, 2010 at the Annaliese Schools in Laguna Beach, California, and I was glad to read on their website that they endorse “mud play” at their schools. They noted that mud play was especially helpful for kids with behavior and emotional problems. I just want to say hip-hip-horray when I hear things like that going on in education in the United States. Messy play is good play. I was traveling in Asia and had a layover at Narita airport in Tokyo a few years ago and while I was wandering around I happened to notice a “play room.” Initially I thought this was a great idea – having a place to reduce the stress of traveling through play. But when I went in all the kids were playing video games – there wasn’t anything else in there for them to do but be a high-tech zombie. I’m afraid that’s what a lot of people have come to accept as play in our society, but it isn’t play at all – it’s crap, and it’s turning our kids into robots.