View Full Version : Awesome article on Nature Play

Inspired by Reggio
08-22-2012, 12:53 PM
Came across this today in my online article reading and thought I would share ~ we love the outdoors here and this article just really speaks to me about the reason why we need to spend more time outside with children and allow them some freedom to learn to take risk 'safely' rather than removing all risk from their play entirely!


08-22-2012, 01:53 PM
Thanks Reggio...this is a great article! I would love to share it with my daycare parents as well...so they will understand why their child comes come with dirty knees and the occassional scrape or bruise ;) I met a parent at the park the other day who really epitomized the extremes our soceity has gone to in "safety consciousness". She has a 4 year old starting JK this September and she was complaining about the brand new beautiful play structure being built on the school's grounds...funded by parent fund-raising by they way...she thinks it is way too dangerous and in fact she thinks that schools should not have play structures at all!!! She even suggested that the teachers, since they only work 6 hour days, should not need breaks and should instead provide structured activities to keep the kids safe at recess and lunch:blink: Her reasoning...parents don't get breaks, why should teachers?!!!! I told her that first of all, teachers do a whole lot of prep work after the kids have gone home, and second of all, if she had 20-30 small children at home I am pretty sure she would need a break (she only has one child)...and third...doesn't she get breaks at her job? ANyway, I have digressed a bit here as I hate it when anyone talks teachers down. The point was that she doesn't htink a play structure is safe for a 4 year old...and it will likely be her child who does end up getting hurt as he has had no practice climbing etc. It's sad...kids do need to take some risks (not lethal ones of course) and get dirty and explore. My ownkids do tons of this...but it is a bit more difficult with other people's kids I find because I worry more.

08-22-2012, 02:07 PM
Great article, thanks! I may also have to direct my parents to it. I often wonder what happened to teaching our children how to deal with risks rather than just avoiding them. I am old, so I was raised in the area of monkey bars and spinny things at the park, and all sorts of risk. I don't remember being made to be afraid, just taught how to be careful. Bumps and scrapes happened. All three of my own children were born in the 1980s, and while things were becoming a bit more cautious, nothing like today. Only my older two children had any kind of infant seat in the car.... my daughter was in a cloth basket on the back seat of the car, not buckled in! And we drove 4 hours (one way) on the autobahn in Germany many weekends to visit our in-laws in Austria. I shudder now, but that was the norm then. Not that I want to go back to that, I'm a big fan of putting safety first with car seats and high chairs and baby gates, but I don't want to be so fearful that I become afraid of outdoor activity. Surely there is a happy medium... a walk on an uneven terrain in the forest means possible bumps and scrapes, but I'm not going to give up my passion for hiking either. I wear proper shoes, long pants no matter what the weather (because I'm phobic about snakes), don't go near the edge of cliffs, and just enjoy life. If I sprain my ankle it will be inconvenient and someone will remind me that hiking is dangerous. Oh well. I'll deal with it then. I sound like I'm preaching, sorry. I just hate it when people think being outside is too dangerous so they stay inside and play video games. A pet peeve, sorry.

08-22-2012, 02:15 PM
I'm also going to share this with my daycare parents. I have at times avoided going outside because I felt the parents would be upset if children came home too "dirty". Today for instance, the weather was nice but we had a terrible thunderstorm last night so everything was soaking wet still. Instead of going outside we had a movie morning (a rarity around here but still). I didn't want to have to deal with any possible reprimands I may have gotten from parents allowing thier children to play outdoors in the muck and wet.

I am going to post a copy of the linked article to a Parents Guide to nature play on my facebook business page and let the parents know we will be engaging in more of this play even if it means some messy clothes and mud in thier hair. :)

Thanks for the great article Reggio!

Inspired by Reggio
08-22-2012, 02:15 PM
I hear ya ladies ~ you should see the looks I get at the parks because I allow the 14 month old on the climber without 'hovering' over top of him but instead back an arms length so can 'catch him' if need be and with the occasional' reminder' to watch for the openings but I would let him start to 'fall' so that he LEARNS what not to do up there quicker and that 'adrenaline' of the falling will help it 'retain' faster too for the next time.

My only rule at the park is 'if you cannot get up on it or down from it without assistance than you need to wait until you grow a bit more' but otherwise they are able to climb and go where they want and when they are playing in a manner that makes ME uncomfortable I have a conversation about 'I am uncomfortable about this and worried that XYZ might happen what can we do to allow you to play but to help ME feel better' and the kids are great at coming up with ideas on how to climber higher or play 'safely' on their own ... they will bring pillows to catch break their fall or they will 'spot' each other if my hands are busy elsewhere and so forth.

I think we often do not give kids enough credit at keeping themselves safe with a few 'guidelines' and teaching them to THINK to ask themselves 'is this safe and if not how can I make it safe so I can do it' and than reflecting if they can find an answer or if indeed they should 'refrain' from doing it.

Inspired by Reggio
08-22-2012, 02:18 PM
Oh Toregone definitely ad something to your policy and procedures that outdoor time is engaged in ALL YEAR LONG so you do not have to worry about this ... my clients are required to send mud pants, boots and so forth cause unless it is 'thundering / lightening / storming' we go outside even in the light rain and do puddle jumping and other nature fun ~ the worms come out in the rain and the kids LOVE it.

08-22-2012, 02:44 PM
I know for at least a while this winter we will be housebound. On the praries it gets just so cold. It's not unusual to have weeks where the temprature doesn't even get clost to 0 but stays in the -15 to -20 mark, also not uncommen for it to get even colder than that for stretches. I just do not feel comfortable taking young children out in such extreme cold. That being said a full snowsuit, hats and mitts are going to be required and on milder days we will hit the backyard for sure.

I have one parent that sends thier under 2 daughter in white skirts and white knit sweaters all the time. She looks very sweet... until she's been here 10 minutes lol. As I said I was going to do I posted a link to the article on my business FB page along with some recommendations as to what to dress/send for thier kids and a gentle warning that we will be engaging in more active messy play.

Inspired by Reggio
08-22-2012, 02:55 PM
Ya frost bite is a concern in winter for sure specially for those who do not 'move' outside ... my winter policy is if Environment Canada has issued a 'cold weather alert' for my city due to extreme windchill and cold or if it is colder than -10 taking into consideration 'windchill' and conditions in the yard ~ aka they might have a windchill of -15 but the actual temperature is only -8 than I would still go out because my yard has privacy fencing that blocks most wind at least at the 'kiddies' level.