To inform the Playday 2008 campaign, Play England reviewed a comprehensive
array of recent research on the benefits and dangers of risky play and general
attitudes towards this. The findings are summarised i this review.
The report looks at the benefits of play on children's health and well-being, and outlines what we should be doing to compensate for the loss of natural play space in recent years.Read the document » »
There is a growing debate on the balance between making sure our children are safe versus letting the children play in physically and emotionally stimulating and challenging environments. The focus is now on children's right to do risky play. There are no studies categorising risky play. The present study has aimed to do this. Qualitative observations of 38 children and semi-structured interviews with 8 children and 7 employees from two Norwegian preschools gave 6 categories of risky play: 1) Play with great heights; 2) Play with high speed; 3) Play with harmful tools; 4) Play near dangerous elements; 5) Rough-and-tumble play; and 6) Play where the children can 'disappear'/get lost. The reliability of the analysed categories was tested through a second opinion made by an experienced preschool teacher, who has long and varied experience with children's play in preschools.
This study investigated the impacts of playing in a natural environment on motor development in children. A quasi-experimental study was conducted on five-, six-, and seven-year old children with an experimental group playing in a natural environment and a control group playing in a more traditional playground. When provided with a natural landscape in which to play, children showed a statistically significant increase in motor fitness. There were also significant differences between the two groups in balance and co-ordination in favor of the experimental group. The findings indicate that landscape features influence physical activity play and motor development in children.Read the document » »
The author is a landscape architect, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
Seven Cs is an informational guide for early childhood educators, designers, administrators, and parents.
1 The goal of Seven Cs is to help people design outdoor play spaces that support the development of young children and integrate the unique qualities of playing outdoors. The guide should be used in concert with existing codes, safety regulations, and design guidelines. Seven Cs is based on findings identified from a five-year multidisciplinary study of outdoor play spaces at child care centres in Vancouver.
2 This study was funded through the Consortium for Health, Intervention, Learning, and Development (CHILD). It has involved academic researchers, early childhood educators, governmental agencies, and professionals.