Outdoor play: Does avoiding the risks reduce the benefits?

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108 Citations (Scopus)


Although the term 'risk-taking' often has negative connotations, the reality is that the willingness to engage in some risky activities provides opportunities to learn new skills, try new behaviours and ultimately reach our potential. Challenge and risk, in particular during outdoor play, allows children to test the limits of their physical, intellectual and social development. This paper examines the current status of outdoor play in urbanised, Western societies such as Australia and provides a critical analysis of the literature to present an argument for the inclusion of positive risk-taking experiences in children's outdoor play, principally in the context of early childhood education. The increasingly restrictive regulation of early childhood services is considered in terms of the impact of risk avoidance in outdoor play for children's optimal growth and development. Finally, a model of possible developmental outcomes resulting from the minimisation of risk-taking in early childhood contexts is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Early Childhood
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


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