Nature Play Spaces - Risk vs Reward

Well-designed nature play spaces are no more dangerous than regular play spaces. 

In fact, they can help keep children safe by providing them with sensible opportunities to develop their physical confidence and their ability to measure and manage small risks.

Good play spaces should be free of hazards, but they will never be free of all risks and nor should they be. Not only is some level of risk inherent in everything we do, it is also a fundamental part of play, learning and growing up.

The Health and Safety Executive (a UK government body responsible for public safety from nuclear power plants to playgrounds) has expressed it well:

"Play is great for children's wellbeing and development. When planning and providing play opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh up the risks and benefits. No child will learn about risk if they are wrapped in cotton wool"

The following websites for some great information and resources on planning and providing play opportunities that weigh up the risks and benefits:

Tim Gill - Re-thinking Childhood 

Ellen Sandseter - Risky Play PhD

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