In July 2022 we ran a competition asking for risky play tips and photos to go onto our Outdoor Practitioner magazine Risky Play issue. Even after the competition had closed people still generously shared their tips and pics - because they know the importance of risky play and the benefits to children's' development - and wanted to inspire others to bring it into their work and play too. In some places we've added comments by Muddy Faces outdoor play experts to say what we think the pics are showing.
Tips for risky play with children
1) Allow them to decide what risks they’re going to take, they’ll always surprise you.
2) Don’t help them, you will often hear me say “if you can’t climb the tree, it’s not your tree to climb!” Encourage and coach, but do not physically help. (Except for tool work…)
3) Tool work especially with early years is always collaborative, but do it in a way they don’t realise you’re helping. Try not to put your hands over their hands unless absolutely necessary, as then they still feel in control of the tool.
4) Allow mistakes to happen, they need to work out the consequences of wrong decisions, and then how to avoid the wrong decision next time.
5) Take risks in front of them, I am often found doing “dangerous” things, and get told by my little friends to be careful!
Tips from Paul Lewis, The Children’s Garden Day Nursery, Stamford