It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? To allow our children to play in high spaces, with sharp tools, fire and near bodies of water, or to wander away on their own, away from adults, into places that to them are new and filled with imagined dangers. Who would do that?
Well, it turns out we all should. Canada’s leading expert on risky play, Dr. Mariana Brussoni from the University of British Columbia, tells us that if we want our kids to be more active, have better social and risk management skills, and improved resilience and self-confidence, we not only need to allow it, we should be taking every opportunity to encourage them to enjoy self-directed play with risk as an element. Check out this great tool from Mariana and her colleagues that supports parents and caregivers to encourage outdoor, risky play.
The City of Calgary is leading the way for municipalities providing new playgrounds and piloting Mobile Adventure Playgrounds that encourage risk-taking, and challenge kids to design their own play.
The Lawson Foundation’s Outdoor Play Strategy works with numerous organizations across Canada to encourage outdoor play. Included are projects that explore risk as a critical element of healthy childhood development including the Canadian Public Health Association’s risk mitigation toolkit, and Earth Day Canada’s School-based Outdoor Play and Learning program.
Do you know of other initiatives that take the bubble-wrapping off our kids and boost their sense of agency?