Posted by: Democratic Thinker | June 13, 2015

News: Science to Parents: Let Your Kids Run a Little Wild


Jessica Leigh Hester report at City Lab on a new paper published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.


The evidence from our systematic review indicates that the overall positive health effects of increased risky outdoor play provide greater benefit than the health effects associated with avoiding outdoor risky play. Although these findings are based on ‘very low’ to ‘moderate’ quality evidence, the evidence suggests overall positive effects of risky outdoor play on a variety of health indicators and behaviours in children aged 3-12 years.

City Lab.

A new literature review suggests that unsupervised play fosters resilient kids.

Jessica Leigh Hester @jessicahester Jun 11, 2015

Andrea Slatter/

Kids’ play spaces are too sanitized and too safe. That’s the takeaway from a new literature review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The authors analyzed 18 studies on the benefits and consequences of unsupervised, exciting play for kids and teens ages 7 to 15.

Their conclusion: Missing out on “risky play” comes at a cost.

It’s important to note how the term “risk” functions here. No one is suggesting, for instance, that kids head out into the backyard and juggle knives. They’re not advocating for a culture of kiddie parkour. The authors write:

We use the word “risk” in the context of risky play to denote a situation whereby a child can recognize and evaluate a challenge and decide on a course of action.

What does that look like? “Risky” play can encompass behaviors that offer a jolt of adrenaline, whether it’s scaling a structure, swinging, or running amok in a way that’s a little rough-and-tumble. The authors distinguish between this type of play and play that’s flat-out reckless (or, for that matter, infrastructure that’s inherently dangerous—such as playground equipment that poses the risk of head entrapment or strangulation).

. . .

(Read the complete article at City Lab)

What is the Relationship between Risky Outdoor Play and Health in Children? A Systematic Review.
(Paper available from MDPI, or as PDF)

NOTE: MDPI appears on Beall’s List.

A tip o’ the hat to the Maggies Farm.


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