Bumps, bruises and even a scar or two are all normal parts of childhood -- but everyone is so afraid to see a kid get hurt these days that no one's giving them a chance to get injured anymore.

And this lack of injury is actually hurting them.

Here's the problem: The relentless quest to create "safe" play areas for little kids has resulted in bland and dull playgrounds that bore even the littlest kids to tears.

Now, daycare providers are telling researchers that toddlers and little kids simply won't play on them -- or they try to use the "safe" equipment in new and dangerous ways to spice things ups.

Is anyone really surprised? Kids want a challenge. Kids want danger.

And I say let 'em have it.

Playtime is a key part of a child's development. Without it, you get fat, uncoordinated, listless kids -- and without it, kids never learn the Unwritten Laws of the Playground they'll need to get through life (those same laws govern every classroom and office in the country).

All that play is even essential to brain development -- with one new analysis finding that the most active kids get better grades.

No kidding... but don't get carried away with this. No one needs to join the football team to get those brain-boosting benefits. The jocks are rarely the smartest kids in class anyway.

All kids really need is a push out the door and a chance to do what kids have always done until videogames and bedroom TVs came along: get outside and play.

Even if it's a little dangerous.