Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Bumps & Bruises of Child’s Play

Contributed by JC Boushh

A new research report issued by the Health and Safety Executive and Play England indicates that it is perfectly normal for children to get slight injuries while playing on playgrounds. The report states that part of play is grazed and skinned knees. We want playgrounds to be safe, but there has to be an element of risk and challenge associated with it otherwise the playground is boring and uncreative.

Many parents today are over anxious about their child becoming injured during play, and in response many public facilities have dummied down their playgrounds in response. The effect is playgrounds that children have no interest in playing on or those play once on it and never return.

Mike Conway of Play England states; “play area is as safe as reasonably possible and protects against major injuries, but if children can benefit from challenges like climbing, running or trying new stills then it allows for minor injuries”.

Andy Wright, Countryside Manager of the Box Hill Adventure Playground says; ““These days kids are so closeted compared to 30 years ago. This is a controlled way of allowing them a bit of bravery, a bit of risk taking and perhaps picking up a minor injury.”

When we become overly concerned with eliminating every potential bump or bruise on the playground, we also eliminate the potential for healthy lifelong developmental skills. We never would have survived as a species on the savannah if we never took risk, and subsequently never reached our brain potential. Risk-taking + Playgrounds = Growth.