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  • jcleland185


Think back to your childhood for a second…

Did you ever climb trees to see if you could get higher than the last time you climbed (or maybe to beat your sibling)?

Did you ever ride your bike down the road and start taking your hands off the handlebars in short bursts, if not riding hands-free the whole time?

Did you ever walk to your friend’s house, and then go together to the corner store for a treat?

Whether you knew it or not,

YOU were involved in RISKY PLAY.

There’s a chance you’ve heard of this phrase before, or maybe it is brand new to you, but it is something we are taught about in early childhood education, and I believe that YOU as parents should know all about it too!


I will be doing a mini-series with TONS of information about EVERYTHING you’ll ever need to know about risky play, but today we are going to talk about the WHAT and the WHY!


Well… the obvious answer is that it is play that is risky. I know it sounds like a lame answer, but it is true. More accurately, risky play is thrilling or exciting activities that involve a level of risk of physical injury. It is children encountering or creating uncertainty and potential risks as part of their play, but without serious danger/harm.

Have you ever thought about skydiving or bungee jumping? Going on a solo trip to a new country or riding a motorcycle for the first time? Going hiking on the side of a mountain or maybe even trying to drive a sea-doo yourself? Whether or not you have actually done these things, you’ve probably thought about the excitement of trying them… THIS is your inner child wanting to COME OUT and take those risks you’ve been doing since you were just learning to walk!!

Children instinctively want to take risks and test their abilities and strengths in all sorts of activities and scenarios they come across. Read: THEY WANT THE CHALLENGE! They want to push themselves to their limits, test their capabilities, and dip their toe into the “what ifs” that can happen when they take that leap of faith into learning their boundaries in a safe environment.

These risks in children’s play allow them to challenge themselves not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Your child is able to overcome fears they may have, as well as be able to have the sense of feeling out of control while knowing they are in a safe environment. These actions allow your child to learn how to get out of trouble while also teaching them about their body’s boundaries and that of the environment around them.

Cool, right?!

Your child could be a timid observer or a little daredevil — either way, they are partaking in risky play day in and day out, and it is beyond AMAZING!

They definitely earn their title of Playground Professionals through and through!

But… WHY?

Why is it beneficial for my child to be doing risky play?

Benefits to risky play are numerous, but here is a small list of some of the biggest benefits you will see when your child is in the middle of risky play:

  • Curiosity and wonder

  • Resourcefulness and creativity

  • Confidence and awareness of capabilities

  • Balance and coordination

  • Problem solving

  • Assessing and making judgements about risks

  • Persistence

... AND MORE! I could list way more, but then this post would be a mile long, so we will save that for another post!

Now, to give you a glimpse even more into what risky play actually is, we can break it down into eight (yes, eight – I used to think there were only six but even I have been recently educated more!) factors to look for while your children, young and old, are playing.

So, here are the 8 key types of risky play:

  1. Play with heights

  2. Play with speed

  3. Play with tool use

  4. Play with or near elements

  5. Play with a chance of getting lost

  6. Play that is rough and tumble

  7. Play that is vicarious

  8. Play with impact

So, what are these kinds of play that I speak of?

What do they look like?

How can I help implement them more during play at home?

(If you’re an educator, maybe even at school/daycare?)

For ALL you need to know about these types of risky play in DETAIL, with real-world examples and how you, as a parent, can help promote these play strategies to encourage your child to partake in them, please keep an eye out for NEW BLOGS COMING SOON!

I am SO excited to share more and more with you, so I hope you can make your way back HERE to learn more with me!

Until then, happy playing!

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