“It’s about taking the risk”: exploring toddlers’ risky play in a redesigned outdoor space

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Physically challenging, risky play is a natural part of children’s outdoor play behaviour, yet risky play is often limited by the environmental affordances as well as educators’ reluctance to allow this type of play due to safety concerns. This case study explored the influence of the redesign of the outdoor environment on 18–26-month-old children’s play behaviours and their educators’ attitudes and responses to the children’s risky play. Video recorded observations examined the children’s play behaviours and adult interactions with the children during their usual outdoor play time. Interviews with educators explored their conceptions of risk-taking and attitudes towards the risky elements included in the redesigned space, whilst their attitudes towards children’s risky play and personal risk-taking behaviours were examined using the Tolerance of Risk in Play Scale and Attitudes Towards Risk questionnaire. Findings indicate that despite initial concerns, educators were supportive of the children’s risky play in the new environment and the environment afforded opportunities for diverse play including risky play.
Original languageEnglish
Article number677
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • affordances
  • early childhood education
  • educator attitudes
  • outdoor environments
  • risky play
  • toddlers


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