Risky Play - A Natural Part of Children’s Healthy Development

Risky Play - A Natural Part of Children’s Healthy Development

Aug 29 , 2022

Alex deMoca

Putting a child at risk is different from allowing a child to take risks!

How else will they learn, develop and find their limits if risky play is not accessible to children? It's kind of in their nature to test their boundaries (whether physical, emotional, or intellectual).

Risk-taking is part of every child's development!

When discussing this type of play, we DO NOT refer to pushing children beyond their limits, putting them in dangerous situations, or encouraging reckless behavior. We want our children to find exciting and challenging activities that will provide them with fun and natural learning opportunities. Whether it is climbing, jumping, hiding, sliding, riding, balancing, bouncing, or rough play, they all aim to develop their skills and step out of their comfort zone to progress and improve their abilities.

For some, the risky play might mean riding their bike really fast, jumping through an obstacle course, or just jumping in a giant puddle. While risky play may differ from child to child, it gives everyone confidence in their abilities and improves their skills, building on their self-esteem.

All in all, children explore their limits by taking risks and venturing into new exciting experiences.

Why is it important for children?

The unstructured and dynamic play involves uncertainty and risk that will make children gain confidence and be more daring. All these factors improve their confidence and build a new perspective of the world around them. Also, taking responsibility for their actions helps develop their autonomy.

The risky play offers the opportunity for challenge, testing limits, and learning about risks, boundaries, and more.

It offers children a sense of achievement, pride, fun, and excitement.

Works on their motor skills and body awareness every time they climb, hang, or slide.

It is a great way to work on fear and feeling uncomfortable.

They learn how to walk, climb, ride bicycles, and more with every new risky experience.

They develop a sense of what is safe and what is not and choose accordingly to their abilities. They find their limitations and the limitations of their environment.

When engaging in risky play, children usually experience both fear and excitement and find a way to deal with both feelings. Furthermore, they add the unknown outcome of their play—all these work on coping with frustrations and developing emotional wellbeing.

Builds their confidence in learning through each new experience.

The constant desire to keep children safe! Is it safe or dangerous?

As a parent, encouraging risky play is essential for children. Parents who are comfortable with this type of play may contribute to decreasing children's anxiety.

Next time you want to stop your kid from doing something "risky," just apply the benefit-risk approach. That means looking at the benefits (or not), the learning opportunities for your little one, seeing the potential risk, and asking yourself if it outweighs the child's opportunity for development.

Where is risky play?

It depends on each child and the environment he plays in. It can be a tree, a rock, a platform, playground equipment, beams, rope swings, branches, slides, rope bridges/ladders, or tools like hammers and hand drills. Risky play is often found in outdoor exploration (nature or city), where opportunities are endless.