Why children need to experience risky play

Early childhood is a time of exploration, joy and wonder about the world around us. Young children love to be outdoors exploring nature, whether it is their own backyard, local beach, forest or farmland.  With this comes an element of risk, and it can be difficult to allow children to engage in play where they can potentially hurt themselves. 

But research confirms there are well substantiated benefits to allowing pre-school children to take risks. Children need to explore and experiment with a range of natural materials to feed their curiosity, their physical and their academic growth, and to develop the skill of critical thinking.

Early childhood researcher, Ellen Sandseter, describes the six elements of risky play to be:  Great heights, rapid speeds, dangerous tools, dangerous elements, rough and tumble and disappearing/getting lost. 

Here at Kereru Kindy, we support children to become critical thinkers by providing opportunities for children to experience risky play in a safe, well supervised environment.

Debbie Pitout, Acting Manager, Kereru Kindy