News, articles & other literature looking at the importance of risk in play.
Arranged in chronological order, most recent at the top
Infinite Playgrounds: risk
A brochure for a playground design company but has useful info on benefits of risk, good & bad risks, safety guidelines and risk assessments.
Infinite Playgrounds (scroll down to ‘downloadable resources’)
What is Risky Play?
Informative article looking at risky play, unstructured play and listing 7 categories of risky play including play with height, speed, tools, rough & tumble, etc. Plus useful links & infographics.
Megan Zeni (Canada), December 2019
'We're cosseting our kids' – the war against today's dangerously dull playgrounds
'Architects are taking issue with risk-averse playparks full of sluggish roundabouts and tiny climbing frames. But are playgrounds in the middle of roads really the answer?' Includes an interview with the architect of the pirate ship Diana Memorial playground.
31 October 2019
The Guarantees of Risky Play
Thorough article quoting various research. “… keeping kids safe means letting them take risks. Many experts say that outdoor play, in fact, risky play, is a necessary element of childhood.”
Childhood by Nature (US), 6 May 2019
Parents - stop worrying and let your children climb trees!
Opinion piece that includes refs to research from University of Phoenix and the UK, about risks and benefits of taking them. Rain or Shine Mamma (US), 16 March 2019
Articles with similar themes:
21 Benefits Of Risky Play (With Examples) & Examples Of Risky Play (25+ Ideas)
Two thorough & informative articles, with lots of examples. “Children that engage in risky play become more confident, happy, and more ‘well-rounded’. Good luck with the risky play!”
Early Impact, 2019
Utah’s Free-Range Parenting Law is Government Overreach
“It’s great to make sure kids can play independently, but nothing was stopping Utah parents from doing just that. Is this Helicopter Governing?”
Fatherly (US), 30 March 2018
Life is fraught with danger. School playgrounds should be too
Opinion piece about the importance of risk in school playgrounds, from Tom Bennett, teacher & independent adviser to the Department for Education.
The Guardian, 14 March 2018
Do riskier playgrounds make children more resilient?
Arguing that introducing element of risk to playgrounds helps make children more resilient.
CTV News (Canada), 12 March 2018
Playgrounds become more dangerous, to encourage youngsters to take risks
‘Children’s playgrounds are becoming more dangerous, to encourage youngsters to take risks, following decades of safety-first policies.’ This article cites some examples of ‘intentionally provided’ risk.
The Telegraph, 11 March 2018
In Britain’s Playgrounds, ‘Bringing in Risk’ to Build Resilience
Excellent extended article looking at the positives of risky play, projects that are re-introducing risk into playgrounds in the UK, and the rise and fall of protecting children from risk.
New York Times, 10 March 2018
Why kids need to climb trees
‘A London council’s proposal to fine kids £500 for climbing trees sparks debate over children’s rights to freedom of movement and why adults think they can block it’ – also considers risk and helicopter parenting.
Treehugger (US), 21 February 2018
Introduce risky play into your kid’s life
‘Parents are told kids need an element of risk, but how does one actually go about doing that?’ Encouraging article with ‘a list of practical suggestions for adding elements of risk to play,’ sectioned into starting out, getting more comfortable, and as they get older.
Treehugger (US), 6 February 2018
Can we stop treating kids like ‘delicate morons’?
Opinion piece: ‘Kids aren’t stupid, nor will they shatter, but most school playground rules treat them like they are.’
Treehugger (US), 18 January 2018
The Dying Art of Tree Climbing
Article considering the risks and benefits of tree climbing, and offering some tips for supporting your child to climb trees safely. Childhood by Nature, c2017
Risky business: Standard opens door to new playground opportunities
‘Can there be such a thing as keeping children ‘too safe’? Absolutely – and councils shouldn’t be scared to play their part by introducing a little risk into playgrounds.’
IPWEA (Aus), 11 December 2017
Parents, Say “Yes” to Kids Climbing Up the Slide: Here Are 7 Reasons Why
Building strength, promoting risky play, resolving conflict and more reasons why climbing up is just as good as sliding down.
Mike Prochaska, 30 Seconds, November 2017
If you don’t let children take risks, you are damaging them
Children must learn courage or they will always be afraid. Blog post on helicopter parenting & the importance of risky play, referencing some interesting stats and reports.
The Spectator, 28 October 2017
No more ‘cotton wool kids’: New Standard gives councils license to provide risky playgrounds
‘It may seem contrary to conventional wisdom, but councils are being encouraged to introduce risk into their community playgrounds.’
IPWEA (Aus), 17 October 2017
Why kids need risk, fear and excitement in play
Canadian researcher Mariana Brussoni discusses risky play and parents worries, citing useful research, and offers some advice for introducing risky play.
The Conversation, 1 August 2017
When you want to say ‘be careful’
‘Some ideas about what we might say instead of (or in addition to) “Be Careful!”, organized according to Ellen Sandseter’s 6 categories of risky play:’ Play with Great Heights, with Great Speeds, with Harmful Tools, near Dangerous Elements, Rough and Tumble Play, and Play where children can “disappear”/get lost.
Child & Nature Alliance of Canada, 22 June 2017
Coping with risk and danger should be part of curriculum – HSE chair
Dame Judith Hackitt says ‘excessively risk-averse’ culture in schools is stifling children’s readiness for the real world.
The Guardian, 27 March 2016
Dangers of risk-averse childhood
“The Care Inspectorate says being too cautious about what children can and cannot do can unnecessarily restrict their experiences, and has advised teachers that they should not compile time-consuming written risk assessments for everyday activities…”
Leader in The Scotsman, 6 February 2016
Banning cartwheels: What’s the point of recess with no fun?
Blog post on a school in Toronto banning cartwheels at playtime, with wider thoughts on children and risk.
The Globe and Mail (Canada), published 22 October 2015, updated 15 May 2018
The biggest risk is keeping kids indoors
Looking at Canada’s ‘Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play’ which ‘uses hard facts to combat hyper-parents’ obsession with keeping kids indoors to keep them safe.’
Treehugger (US), 16 October 2015
Risk is essential to childhood – as are scrapes, grazes, falls and panic
‘Children need to be exposed to risky play. For ‘helicopter parents’, this might be difficult – but kids need to learn to manage danger themselves.’
The Guardian, 14 October 2015
A Vote in Favor of the Free Range Kids Movement – and How to Give It a Try
The advantages of unstructured, unsupervised play, and some tips for offering children some independence.
Kids Outdoors, 12 May 2015
Five ways to let a little more risk into your child’s day
(and why that’s a good thing) Article about parenting that supports and encourages risky play, with 5 tips to doing it.
Washington Post (US), 16 January 2015
The risks of not letting children play outside
‘There’s growing evidence that unsupervised outdoor play is vital for children’s development and connection to nature. There’s also evidence that children today spend much less time outdoors than their parents did.’
SBS News (Aus), 5 October 2014
The Overprotected Kid
A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution. Very good, lengthy article looking at The Land, an adventure playground in North Wales, risky play, the accidents and litigation that informed non-risk play policies, fear of danger, and more.
The Atlantic (US), April 2014.
Why stopping children from climbing trees and playing in mud is creating a nation of ‘cotton wool kids’
‘The worrying trend emerges in a poll of 1000 UK mothers with children aged between 7 and 12, which also looks at its impact in a 2013 White Paper ‘Emotional Resilience among Children’.’
Mail Online, 29 July 2013
But… Isn’t It Dangerous? Risk & Reward in Nature Play
Useful & referenced article looking at the concept of comparative risk, the importance of risk, and how nature play can play a part.
River Habitat web archive, 17 July 2012
Playgrounds that rip up the safety rules
‘This post has a simple aim: to get you to rethink playground safety. Through a handful of images of playgrounds from around the world, I hope to encourage you to abandon any preconceived notions you may have about what a safe playground looks like.’
Rethinking Childhood, March 7, 2012