The Benefits of Risk in Children’s Play

Are you familiar with KaBOOM?  If you’ve heard of this fabulous non-profit, it’s most likely in conjunction with their mission to build playspaces in areas that need them.  Perhaps you’ve even participated in a KaBOOM! Community Build.  That in and of itself is awesome, but KaBOOM! is about so much more.  Their ultimate mission is saving play for America’s children.

Last year our family worked with KaBOOM! for their Park-a-Day Challenge.  The kids and I spent most of the summer visiting area playgrounds and making sure they were accounted for and documented properly on KaBOOM!’s Map of Play – an excellent resource to find playspaces wherever you go.

A few weeks ago I was asked if I had any photos or videos I could share with them that showed our kids playing in ways that might be considered risky.  Of course I did, and the result is that you might recognize a few faces in the video I’m about to share.

The video is entitled “The Benefits of Risk in Children’s Play.”  Produced by KaBOOM! and The Alliance for Childhood, the video features Tim Gill  (former director of Play England and author of No Fear: Growing Up in a Risk-Averse Society), Darell Hammond (Founder and CEO of KaBOOM!), Dr. Elizabeth Large (Pediatrician), and Janice O’Donnell (Director of the Providence Children’s Museum).

Risk teaches children many invaluable lessons, yet in today’s American culture we are conditioned to protect our children from risk and encouraged to steer our children away from any situation where they might encourage risk.  As the participants in the video mention, we have confused managing risk with reducing risk entirely in our children’s lives.

There are so many topics within this video that I would love to delve into further, and definitely will address in the weeks to come.  For now, however, I’d just love for you to check out the video and let me know what you think.  And definitely check out the kids (big and small!) hammering nails, jumping bike ramps, and conquering the slackline!

If you feel as strongly as we do that our children must be allowed and encourage to take risks in order to thrive and grow, please share this video on your blog, website, Facebook page or Twitter.