Risky Outdoor Play Has Positive Impacts

Children who engage in risky outdoor play see greater physical and social health benefits. Photo: Flickr

Risky Outdoor Play Has Positive Impacts

Risky outdoor play positively impacts children’s health

Posted on 21.09.2015

New research from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital shows that risky outdoor play is not only good for children’s health but also encourages creativity, social skills and resilience.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, found that children who participated in physical activity such as climbing and jumping, rough and tumble play and exploring alone, displayed greater physical and social health.

“We found that play environments where children could take risks promoted increased play time, social interactions, creativity and resilience,” said Mariana Brussoni, lead author of the study, and assistant professor in UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and Department of Pediatrics. “These positive results reflect the importance of supporting children’s risky outdoor play opportunities as a means of promoting children’s health and active lifestyles.”

Mariana Brussoni

Playgrounds that offer natural elements such as trees and plants, changes in height, and freedom for children to engage in activities of their own choosing, have positive impacts on health, behaviour and social development.

“These spaces give children a chance to learn about risk and learn about their own limits,” said Brussoni, also a scientist in the British Columbia Injury Research & Prevention Unit at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital.

Safety concerns, such as injury, were seen as the main reason for limiting risky outdoor play. Researchers found that playground safety standards and too much supervision prevented children from engaging in risky activities.

“Monitoring children’s activities may be a more appropriate approach than active supervision, particularly for older children,” said Brussoni. “We recommend considering policy, practice and built environment approaches to risky outdoor play that balance safety with children’s other health outcomes.”

Source
Maria Brussoni
UBC News

Comments

If you let kids learn how to fall when they’re little, they’re short trips with soft impacts. The longer you put it off, the harder the falls are. People think they’re protecting kids keeping them strapped into car seats, high chairs, bouncy chairs, etc., but they’re setting them up for poor or incomplete cognitive development and perhaps even obesity and related illnesses. The best way to keep them safe is by letting them probe the boundaries of their ever-changing abilities. Let them follow their natural path towards becoming resilient to life’s unpredictable challenges.

Daniel Cadzow on September 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm

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