The importance of risk-taking in early years
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The importance of risk-taking in early years

26 May 2021 By Cosy

child on tree

“The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves.” Roald Dahl

There is a difference between putting children at risk and allowing children to take risks. Taking risks in a safe and controlled environment can lead to positive outcomes when it comes to child development, independence, and confidence. By taking a step back and allowing children to explore their environment, you’ll encourage them to problem solve and make decisions for themselves.



Cosy Complete Loose Parts Panacea (100+ items).

Real items in play

Loose Parts outside offers many benefits to children’s play. They are commonly used in many play and educational settings and they are assessed daily for health and safety. Many loose parts should be ‘real’ items for children to experience their true weight and size. Your professional judgment and detailed knowledge of your site and circumstances will guide you in your exploration and enable you to effectively discuss the risk/benefits analysis with your practitioners and parents. Each setting is unique and careful planning and risk assessment will help you plan a safe environment.

Remember to check your resources regularly and ensure that equipment is safe and reflect on your practice; include children and parents voice in your loose parts selection


Cosy Many Ladders Set – Pack of 4.

All about ladders

Ladders are often called ‘dangerous and hazardous’. Children love to pretend and bringing realism and practical application by adding ladders will enhance your provision. They are moveable and allow children to participate in physically challenging experiences as they move the ladders and design new challenges.

“Sandra, Japanese architect and designer of children’s play environments, argues that contemporary societies have become overprotective of children in their concern for safety. As a consequence, increasingly children are deprived of physically challenging experiences, kept enclosed in a cage called safety”. (From the book ‘Playing Outdoors in the Early Years’ by Ros Garrick)

In addition, he identified three stages of how children use play structures such as ladders.

  1. Functional Play – children use the equipment as intended
  2. Technical Play – exploring new ways of using the structures and mastering new physical skills
  3. Social Play – children begin to use play structures as settings for group play, pretend play


There are open ended possibilities in using ladders, from being a fire fighter, carrying it together with a friend, creating an obstacle course, den walls to leaning against structures to provide exciting and challenging climbing experiences. They can be used in vertical or horizontal positions, and the possibilities of play are endless.


Cosy Obstacle Course Starter Pack (23 PK).

Why not try… an Obstacle Course!

Creating obstacle courses is one of our favourite activities. It is so fascinating to watch children build their own by working together and developing vital skills such as understanding and explaining their viewpoints. It is an amazing opportunity to problem solve and experiment with their ideas about how to position each item.

There are plenty of physical development opportunities and lifting, jumping, climbing, crawling, and balancing will help build core muscles.  A fantastic learning opportunity to take risks and test their thinking, abilities, and strength.

Interacting with children while building an obstacle course is super fun, and it is very fascinating to watch them lead the play and let them feel in charge. Adults should supervise but allow freedom to take risks and manage their own designed obstacle course. Children will develop confidence, gross motor skills and coordination as they progress to independently manage risk themselves.

Looking for engaging resources and equipment that allows children to take risks safely? The Cosy Collection at YPO has some fantastic loose parts and physical development products that allow you to do just that.

Categories: Early Years , Education

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