Risky outdoor play is not only good for children's health but also encourages creativity, social skills and resilience, shows new research.
Children who participated in physical activity such as climbing and jumping, rough and tumble play and exploring alone, displayed greater physical and social health, the results showed.
"We found that play environment where children could take risks promoted increased play time, social interactions, creativity and resilience," said lead author Mariana Brussoni, assistant professor at department of pediatrics at The University of British Columbia. "These positive results reflect the importance of supporting children's outdoor play opportunities as means of promoting children's health and active lifestyles. Playgrounds with natural elements such as trees and plants, changes in height have positive impacts on health, behavior and social development of children. These spaces give children a chance to learn about risks as well as their own limits."
Safety concerns, such as injury, were seen as the main reason for limiting risky outdoor play.
Playground safety standards and too much supervision prevented children from engaging in risky activities.
"We recommend considering policy, practice and built environment approaches to risky outdoor play that balance safety with children's other health outcomes," Brussoni added.
The study appeared in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health