Today I’m talking with Rachel Sanchez about risky play. Rachel and her family love to explore the red rocks of southern Utah. They access beautiful and remote locations through their van conversion. While exploring all the beauty Utah has to offer, they also allow their daughters to explore what their bodies are capable of. From climbing rocks to swimming in hot springs, the Sanchez kids have the opportunity to take risks and learn from their experiences. Rachel and her husband Mike keep close proximity to their young children as they explore. I loved talking with Rachel on this topic because it’s something I try to practice in my daily outdoor play with my own young children. I hope you learn something new about risky play, and that you’ll feel open to let your own children challenge themselves in new ways outside!
Participating in risky play allows children to develop resilience and independence. These elements allow children to develop into more self-confident adults. This also helps develop problem-solving skills for the future. Ever have to navigate rocky terrain? It triggers a heightened response in you to be aware of your steps and carefully plan your next move. Children get the same rush and feeling of accomplishment from completing something challenging as adults.
I think risky play is such a powerful and important part of outdoor play for children. Our society has shifted in a way that the phrase “be careful” is the normal background to kids outdoor playtime. I encourage you to rethink what you mean by the phrase “be careful” as your kids explore the outdoors this week. Is there something else you can say instead to build confidence in your child? Examine your own relationship with risky play this week and see if you are willing to give space for your child’s exploration.
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Follow Rachel Sanchez and her family: https://www.instagram.com/beboldlittleones
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