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Risky Play

The Benefits of Risky Play

Risk-taking is an essential part of children’s play. Managing that risk is the key to providing opportunities that support growth and development and keep children safe from unreasonable risk and injury. The balancing of these two is vital for our children’s health and development. Everyday life is full of risks and challenges and children need opportunities to develop the skills associated with managing risk and making informed judgments about risks from a young age.

Life-Skills Development

Risky play helps to develop important life skill learnings:

  • Building resilience and persistence

  • Balance and coordination

  • Awareness of the capabilities and limits of their own bodies

  • The ability to assess and make a judgment about risk

  • Handling tools safely and with purpose

  • Understanding the consequence of action

  • Confidence and independence

  • Resourcefulness

  • Creativity and inventiveness

  • Curiosity and wonder

  • Problem-solving

Each child is unique and so the level of risk and challenge they seek will also vary, yet most children will actively seek risk and challenge in play as they explore the world around them and their own physical abilities.

Life is full of risk. By providing children with opportunities to participate in risky and challenging play in a safe learning environment, they gain the opportunity for the development of important life skill learnings such as making choices, problem-solving, measured risk-taking, and navigating their way socially and emotionally. These skills will be important right through life –particularly in vulnerable stages such as their teenage years.

Adapted from Samantha Carrigg

Risky Play at Nourishing Hearts

  • Supervised, woodwork with real tools and accessories such as saws, woodburning, and carving

  • Fire pits where children start a fire and cook food under the supervision and learn about the value of fire and the respect of its power must always be remembered.

  • Allowing children the opportunity to climb trees, jump, and challenge their unique individual physical skills.

  • Navigating and exploring the wetland 

15 Reasons to Climb aTree

Tree climbing is a risky play activity that has many benefits for the developing child. I hope you agree that the thrill of climbing trees and its benefits far outweigh the fear of climbing trees and its inherent risks.

  1. Climbing trees can help develop physical strength.

  2. Tree climbing helps develop focus and concentration.

  3. Climbing trees can boost self-confidence and self-esteem.

  4. Tree climbing is an excellent gross motor activity for physical development.

  5. Climbing trees can help children become more flexible in body and mind.

  6. When you climb trees you form new more complex neural networks in the brain.

  7. Tree climbing helps develop a resilient “I can do it” attitude.

  8. Climbing trees helps children become problem solvers.

  9. Tree climbing helps us develop a better connection with ourselves.

  10. Climbing trees provides a rich sensory experience for the developing child.

  11. Tree climbing helps us learn to think for ourselves and feel confident about the choices we make.

  12. Climbing a tree can help develop strong spatial reasoning skills.

  13. Tree climbing is a great way to strengthen the mind and the will.

  14. Climbing trees helps us connect with nature.

  15. You get a great view!


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