Risky Play

Redactie True Colors Childcare by Redactie True Colors Childcare
According to Ellen Beate Hansen (Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education), risky play involves thrilling and exciting forms of physical play that involve uncertainty, and chance of physical injury and it has been proven to have immense benefits. When you think back to your favourite childhood play experiences, chances are they took place outdoors, unsupervised and while hanging out with friends. But today’s kids spend far less time playing than their parents did.

Developmental benefits of Risky Play:

  • – Antiphobic effect on natural fears and phobias
  • – Physical/motor competence
  • – Spatial/Orientation Skills
  • – Overall positive health effects, such as increased confidence, stamina, independence, capabilities
  • – Over protection from risky play creates anxious children who become anxious adults.

Risky play involves kids experimenting and pushing themselves to figure out what will happen, without knowing the exact outcome. If kids don’t go far enough with their play, it’s boring and if they go too far, it gets too scary. It can be compared to a science experiment, where kids are testing out their environment and determining what they’re comfortable with.

When you can create a context of a relatively safe space, it’s really a fundamental way for children to figure out the world. To figure out how the world works and how their body works.

Risky play in early childhood can help develop a child’s self-confidence, resilience, executive functioning abilities and even risk-management skills. And research shows that engaging in risky play can actually reduce the risk of injury, too.

Trust the ability of the children to challenge themselves
Children will always seek these experiences naturally, no matter how safe you try to keep them and the play area. Letting the kids experience these thrills with you, allows them to learn how to better manage risks when they are alone, which is safer in the end.

6 key factors to risky play:

  1. 1. Play with heights, such as climbing trees or structures
  2. 2. Play at high speeds, such as a fast game of tag or riding a bike really fast
  3. 3. Play with tools, such as building a fort or whittling a stick
  4. 4. Play near elements, such as playing near fire, water, a cliff or something that a child could fall into
  5. 5. Play with a chance of getting lost, such as wandering the neighbourhood with friends unsupervised, or simply hiding in the bushes for younger kids.
  6. 6. Rough-and-tumble play, such as play fighting


What we do at True Colors to provide Risky play:

  • – We take the children on short trips to for example the Aula, where they can climb the rocks or roll down the library hill
  • – We provide gym lessons every week and we set up climbing equipment in the gym
  • – We let the children race their bikes on the playground
  • – We use Skateboards and rollerskates with the afterschool children
  • – Our playground has a risky play area with a trampoline and different sizes of tree trunks.

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