Mothers' beliefs about risk and risk-taking in children's outdoor play

Helen Little*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    56 Citations (Scopus)


    Changes to social and environmental contexts impact on children’s opportunities for and the nature of outdoor play in many ways. A number of studies over the past decade have noted a trend towards over-protective parenting practices that restrict children’s activities and limit children’s independent mobility and engagement with their neighbourhoods. Through semi-structured interviews with mothers of four-year-old to five-year-old children, this study examined beliefs about children’s outdoor play opportunities and exposure to and management of potential risks in outdoor environments. Whilst the mothers overwhelmingly acknowledged the benefits of risky outdoor play, tension existed between their desire to provide opportunities for their children to safely engage in such play and overcoming their own fears and concerns about their children’s safety. The study has implications for examining ways in which children gain access to outdoor play and the role that early childhood settings may have in providing access to outdoor play environments that compensate for children’s decreased opportunities in other areas of their lives.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)24-39
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015


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