How to Introduce Risky Play Safely in Early Years

Are you a parent who lets fears get in the way of allowing your kids to get involved with the risky play? If yes, then we don’t blame you. You are looking out for your child’s well-being. However, enabling risky play is a vital aspect of providing your kids with the opportunity to push and challenge themselves. This can help them determine what they are capable of without parental or teacher help.

Let us proceed by having a better understanding of Risky play. 

What Is Risky Play?

Risky play can provide kids with the opportunity to challenge themselves with an exciting and thrilling activity. This kind of play does involve some risk, however, when conducted in a safe environment and with minimal input from teachers or parents, it can serve as an excellent tool to aid in mental, and physical development. 

Risky play activities involve the experience of vital emotions such as excitement, pleasure, fear, hesitation, and courage. It can help in the stimulation of brain activity in kids and also help with emotional development.

When kids are introduced to new environments, a fight or flight response is evoked in the brain. Risky play can help them train the brain to regulate fear, thereby, giving them an opportunity to acknowledge and develop the confidence to overcome the challenges.

Risky play can also allow kids to understand risks and teach them to define their boundaries. This way, they are better equipped to assess and manage different scenarios.

What Activities Are Involved?

Risky play activities should be age-appropriate, and teachers/ parents should supervise their movements, encourage them to explore, and enable them to try new things. This will help kids gain confidence and provide them with the freedom to manage themselves and take risks.

Risky play can be broken down into six main categories:

Activities that Involve Speed – Activities like sliding, riding, and swinging can allow kids to experience the thrill of speed, know their limits, and learn how to manage their fears.

Climbing and Sliding Climbing outdoor play equipment can produce a sense of achievement, and sliding down a slide can evoke excitement and teach them how to let go of their fear of falling in a safe environment.

Dangerous Equipment – Parents or teachers can teach kids how to use a knife to cut vegetables, use a hammer to pin a nail, or hold drill machines while drilling. Such tasks require extra concentration and present kids with a real situation of danger. This can teach them to gain confidence, stay in control, and know how to use something dangerous without harming themselves or others.

Separation or Getting Lost – Playing games like hide and seek can help kids explore the threat of getting lost and even overcome separation anxiety.

Rough and Tumble Play – There is a thin line between fighting and playful contact. Having an understanding of this can help a child know when to stop when it gets too rough while playing with a partner. 

The Role Of An Adult

To improve the effectiveness of risky play, parents/ teachers can do the following:

  • Ensure the environment can provide a certain sense of thrill accompanied by safety. Outdoor playground equipment can help you create such an environment.
  • Know that some kids might take longer than others before they feel confident to engage in an activity. Be patient, loving, and encouraging. Avoid making them feel inferior to others in any way and avoid comparison.
  • You can encourage kids to pair up with a friend so that they can help each other through the activity. If an activity seems too difficult for a child, you can simplify it to help them develop confidence.


At ArihantPLAY, we specialize in designing play equipment that can help in the development of a child’s physical and cognitive development. With over 35+ years of experience, we are experts in providing kids with play areas that can enable them to explore and feel confident. If you are on the lookout for innovative, high-quality, durable, and safe outdoor play equipment for your school or community, then feel free to connect with us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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