Risky outdoor play is good for children: UBC study

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Allowing your child to climb, jump and participate in rough and tumble play is beneficial for their development and outweighs potential dangers, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

“We found that play environments where children could take risks promoted increased play time, social interactions, creativity and resilience,” says Mariana Brussoni, lead author of the study, and assistant professor in UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and Department of Pediatrics.

“These positive results reflect the importance of supporting children’s risky outdoor play opportunities as a means of promoting children’s health and active lifestyles.”

Playgrounds that have trees, natural light and structures of various heights allows for free play and positively impacts health, behaviour, and social development.

Many parents limit outdoor activity, since they view it as dangerous, but too much supervision could actually hinder a child’s development.

“These spaces give children a chance to learn about risk and learn about their own limits,” says Brussoni.

“Monitoring children’s activities may be a more appropriate approach than active supervision, particularly for older children.”

The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

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