The Outdoor Environment and ‘Risky Play’

“The benefits of risk taking include extending skills, developing physical and emotional capacities, challenging ourselves in new ways and gaining direct experience of the consequences of our actions. Being brave an conquering a fear is something that is very important to children and a sign of growth.”

Being in the outdoor environment allows children to experience ‘risk’, more so than when indoors. Children learn from possible falls and begin to think, ‘what might happen next?, ‘If I do this I will….’, empowering them to make purposeful decisions. For example, at Little Owl’s woodland the children were involved in making a slide from cable reals and wood. They had to communicate ideas to each other practicing their social skills. They tested their strategies taking a risk by experimenting, problem solving, and critical thinking. The experience also challenged their physical capabilities. The children were able to reflect and evaluate through this experience to reach their goal.

The risk and challenge children take in their early years will set them up in later life to become confident and self-aware, motivating them to reach their full potential.