The 7 Kids You Find on Every Playground

The 7 Kids You Find on Every Playground

You never know who you’ll meet at the playground, but it might be one of these kids!

By Wendy Robinson

Last weekend it was 80 degrees and glorious. This morning I woke up and it was 38 degrees. My husband had to scrape frost off the car, and I started making my annual list of indoor activities to do with the kids.

After several years in the Midwest, I’ve come to learn that one of the keys to winter survival is making sure that we get out of the house and that the kids get a chance to run off some energy. This learning has come as a result of a lot of hours spent in indoor play areas, where I’ve had plenty of time to identify the seven types of kids you see every time you bring your kid to play:

1. The Speed Bump: This is the child who is barely crawling and seems doomed to get run over by older children as they race from one side of the play area to the other. This child is chubby, adorable, and totally unaware of the fact that he is always in mortal danger.

2. Patient Zero: The kid with the bleary eyes and the neon green snot leaking out of one nostril. Invariably you notice this kid right after he sneezes directly into your child’s face.

3. The Jerk: Sometimes this is your kid, sometimes this kid is picking on your kid. The Jerk pushes, cuts in line, refuses on principle to share and doesn’t at all feel bad when he runs over the Speed Bump.

4. The Hipster: You are giving your kids fruit-shaped gummy snacks and this kid is munching on kale chips. Your kid is in sweatpants and a T-shirt; this kid is wearing a fedora and suspenders. The Hipster’s mom is impossibly chic in an organic linen shift dress and vegan boots. You’ll feel insecure until you bond after simultaneously muttering over what The Jerk is up to now.

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5. The New BFF: Your kid and this kid bond instantly and play happily for several hours. There are hugs when it is time to say goodbye and you’ll wonder if you should try to get his phone number or if that would be weird. You always hope you’ll see this kid again.


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6. The Daredevil: Whatever the highest thing in the play area is, this kid is jumping from there and giving you and every other parent a near-heart attack. This kid is, sadly, usually my 2-year-old.

7. The Picker: One nose, one finger, all day long.

What is your best strategy to keep your kids active this winter?

Wendy Robinson is a writer, working mom, and graduate student. Someday she'd like to sleep in again. She also blogs at

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