Let The Children Play! Why risky play is so important for children's development.

“Be careful.”
“That is way too high for you!”
“That is dangerous! NO!”
“You can hurt yourself!”

What is risky play?

Think back to your childhood. You were probably around your friends, unsupervised and untouchable. You could do ANYTHING you wanted, you just had to be home for dinner!

These days children are often not spending as much time as they should outside and this can affect a child's development, creativity, and potentially lose their connection to nature. Risky play in early childhood can help develop a child’s resilience, self-confidence, gross-motor and fine-motor abilities and even risk-management skills. Engaging in risky play can also prevent injury if taught correctly.

Parents' fears can often get in the way of children's freedoms when playing outside. Risky play often involves children testing their boundaries in a new experience, such as climbing a tree. There are many fears that arise for parents in those situations, but instead of inhibiting your child's freedoms, I urge parents and educators to be their guide instead.

What does risky play look like to adults?

“Mom, I want to climb this tree” Instead of saying no because it may cause a fear inside of you, guide them under the tree using your own risk management skills!

“Put this foot here… reach for that branch… use your hand to pull yourself up…”

This allows for parents and adults to feel safer about the situation when they are in control and narrate what they know to help their child understand how to safely engage in risky play.