Guest Blogger: Melanie Nichols
This March, we are sharing a special series of blog posts from Melanie Nichols. This series was originally posted in February 2021. You can find Melanie and her blog here. If you would like to submit to our blog, please email us.
Venturous play – more commonly known as Risky play – includes factors such as speed, height, and tools. We have removed much of what constitutes risky play in our attempts to keep our homes and schools safe for our children. Unfortunately, this means we have removed the opportunity for our kids to develop self-confidence, resilience, executive functioning abilities, and even risk management skills. Of course, there is a balance to be had as, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, our children need to feel safe. An article on cbc.ca (link below) advises parents and teachers to focus on “as safe as necessary” over “as safe as possible.” The same article gives other suggestions for embracing risky play, such as
– provide guidance
– watch out for our own fears
– wait and see
– provide time, freedom, and space.
Allowing risky play requires courage on our part. It feels risky to us to allow our kids to play in ways that combine the joy of freedom with just the right amount of fear to produce an exhilarating thrill. Prioritizing our kids’ needs over our own fears and worries is truly an act of love.