Only a few short decades ago, moms used to feel free to send their kids outside in the morning and call them in only for a meal or two and, eventually, bedtime. Cut to the present and rarely does that happen. For one thing, relentless news of child abductions and assaults has parents panicking. For another, kids' free time is often packed with academic and sports activities.
Lenore Skenazy, founder of the Free-range Kids Movement, wants to change all that. She and other free-rangers believe that free play outside is key to kids' development. They get exercise. They learn about their world. They flex their imaginations. Skenazy wants to see kids walking and biking to school in the suburbs and taking the train by themselves in the city.
Of course, the concept is altogether frightening for non-freerangers, who consider this an open invitation to child predators and a means for kids to get in trouble or go missing.