It’s Time to Go UP the Slide

UpTheSlide final coverThe book is here! I’m on the radio today celebrating the release of It’s OK to Go Up the Slide, and everywhere I go – from Denver to Vancouver to Boston – I’m hearing people share the stress points in their lives with kids. Technology. Homework. Strangers. News disasters. Gender roles. Kindergarten curriculum. Lack of time to play and time with nature. All these topics are in the book. All these stress points.

When things are out of balance, it’s time to question the way things are done. It’s time to go up the slide.

That’s why I’m so excited about this new book. It’s going to make some people nervous. It’s going to make some people mad. If kids get hold of a copy, it could cause a revolution (you mean there’s no reason for me to do this worksheet?!)

As early reviewers said: “It’s going to rock some boats, challenge thinking, and nudge adults in the right direction.” (Jeff Johnson, Let Them Play) and “Heather Shumaker stops to re-examine almost all the conventional wisdom about childhood…She’s my hero.” (Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range Kids).

If you love these ideas and want to support the book – the best way to celebrate is to write a review on Amazon, Goodreads or your favorite book spot. The book is out TODAY, March 8 so it’s open for reviews.

  • Sometimes being a good parent – or a good teacher – means breaking all the rules.
  • If something’s bothering you, it’s time to make a change
  • Just because everyone’s doing it, doesn’t mean it’s right for child development.
  • When adult expectations clash with child development, it’s time to change the adults, not the child.

See you at the top of the slide!

Early Bird gifts – Thinking of of getting a copy? Order a copy of It’s OK to Go Up the Slide this week and receive free gifts as a thank you. This special pre-order offer extended until March 13, 2016. Simply 1) buy the book from any bookstore 2) send an email to saying where you bought it. Order here at

What stress points do you see in families’ lives? What are big ways you see adult expectations clash with what children need?

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12 Responses to It’s Time to Go UP the Slide

  1. Deidra says:


  2. Roberta Horne says:

    Congratulations Heather! I look forward to reading it!

  3. Congratulations on your new book release, Heather. I see you’ll be in Madison next month at UWWI. Hope to see you there to say hi and get an autographed copy.


    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Chris, Yes I’ll be there. Will be good to see you and looking forward to signing a copy for you.

  4. On the topic questions you posed, the biggest stress I see is overscheduling of children by their parents. I think downtime has gotten pushed aside because everyone wants their kid to be the best and brightest at whatever the establishment tells them we need. Today it’s STEM, ten years ago it was computer anything, tomorrow it may be stand up comedy for all I know. Give kids “dead time” to just sit, think, daydream, imagine, ponder, ask questions, and I think they have a much better chance of deciding for themselves what path their lives should take.


  5. Warmest congratulations!

  6. Crystal says:

    Please know that I am only trying to understand the logic in no homework when I ask: ” Are your beliefs of over scheduling after school the same for children with learning difficulties? Those that are playing catch up in school and who’s neuro’s suggest non typical practice of social skills and discrete trail ABA?” What is your take on that? For our family I think we have fined tuned knowing limits of my son and that he benefits more from being led outside his comfort zones. That for us is a little social and academic work Afterschool but mostly goal oriented fun. He benefits both scheduled time after school and free time. Most often free time is a new science project that he has come up with:). With the other subjects he looks to be led until he is confident or NEEDS to be led to build confidence. Again, this is all scheduled until he is indepedant. What are your thoughts?

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Such an astute question. I think the idea behind homework and no homework is this: the family needs to be in charge of what’s best for the child during after school hours. Depending on family philosophy and needs of each child, after school time can be many different things. You said it well yourself “I think we have fine tuned knowing the limits of my son.” Keep finding that balance.

      As families with special needs children know, there are not only more challenges, there are also more appointments that eat up a child’s day. It’s an enormous balancing act to give kids the playtime and emotional release they need. Homework to me is an assignment dictated by the school to be done on family time. Home goals are everything you do to support your child, your whole child. Thanks for writing, Crystal.

  7. ray wills says:

    Read your interview article in THE NEWS today your title for the new book is excellent Its so good to see that you understand the importance of free play in a childs life.I have recently moved here from England UK where i was very involved in play provision for many decades establishing adventure playgrounds and managing town wide play programmes. I admin a facebook page on play and also write non fiction and poetry.I wish you every success with the new book .Im looking for publisher for mine which is a history of organised play provision over the years largely based on my own experiences.Take good care ,Ray Wills

    • Heather Shumaker says:

      Welcome, Ray! I wish you every success in helping to establish adventure playgrounds here in the US. Your experience will be invaluable. Also best of luck on finding the right publisher for your history of play book. Redleaf Press often publishes good play books. Perhaps they would be a good fit?