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  • Writer's pictureSunny Days at Brook

Exploring the Benefits of Risky Play for Child Development: Why it's Essential for Growth and Learning

In today's increasingly structured and supervised world, the concept of "risky play" might seem counterintuitive to some parents. However, research suggests that allowing children to engage in risky play can be incredibly beneficial for their development. Forest schools, with their focus on outdoor activities and exploration, are particularly well-suited to providing opportunities for risky play in a safe and supportive environment. Let's delve into why risky play is important and how forest school supports this essential aspect of childhood.

What is Risky Play?

Risky play involves activities where there is a risk of physical injury, but it is important to note that these risks are well-managed and controlled. Examples of risky play include climbing trees, balancing on logs, and building dens. While it may seem daunting to some parents, these activities are valuable for children's development in several ways.

Benefits of Risky Play

Sunny Days nursery and forest school brook, haslemere, godalming
Climbing High at Sunny Days

Physical Development

Engaging in risky play helps children develop their gross motor skills, balance, coordination, and strength. Climbing trees or navigating uneven terrain challenges their physical abilities and encourages them to push their boundaries in a controlled environment.

Cognitive Development

Risky play also stimulates children's cognitive development by encouraging problem-solving, decision-making, and risk assessment skills. Children learn to assess the situation, make decisions about what risks they are willing to take and adapt their actions accordingly.

Emotional and Social Development

Risky play can boost children's self-confidence, resilience, and emotional regulation. It teaches them to manage fear and anxiety, cope with failure, and persevere in the face of challenges. Additionally, engaging in risky play with peers encourages teamwork, communication, and social skills.

How Sunny Days Nursery and Forest School Support Risky Play

Nursery and Forest School Brook Haslemere Godalming
Risky Play at Sunny Days

Forest schools are ideal environments for facilitating risky play in a safe and supportive manner. Here's how:

Risk Assessment and Safety Protocols

Forest schools prioritise safety and have clear risk assessment protocols in place to ensure that children can engage in risky play in a controlled and supervised environment. Trained educators guide children in assessing risks and making safe choices.

Natural Play Environment

The natural setting of forest schools provides a rich and diverse environment for risky play. Children can climb trees, build dens, explore uneven terrain, and engage in imaginative play, all of which offer opportunities for risk-taking and learning.

Supportive and Encouraging Educators

Forest school educators are trained to encourage and support children in their risky play endeavours. They provide guidance, encouragement, and reassurance, helping children to challenge themselves and develop their skills and confidence.

Risky play is an essential and valuable aspect of childhood that offers numerous benefits for physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Forest schools are uniquely positioned to foster risky play in a safe and supportive environment, helping children develop essential life skills, resilience, and confidence. So, the next time you see your child climbing a tree or balancing on a log, remember that they are not just having fun – they are learning, growing, and developing in meaningful ways.

At Sunny Days, nestled in the beautiful village of Brook between Godalming and Haslemere, we embrace the concept of "risky play" as a fundamental part of our outdoor learning approach.



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