This is an amazing new tool — simple, clear, interactive — from Outsideplay.ca (Canada) that helps parents see the importance of giving their kids free, unsupervised time AND make a concrete plan to bring that about!
As the University of British Columbia’s Medical School press office explains:
Developed by a team led by Marian Brussoni, an Associate Professor in the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) and the Department of Pediatrics, Outsideplay.ca walks parents through their priorities for their child and common concerns about playing outdoors to help them develop an action plan for changing their approach to outdoor play.
“What we now consider ‘risky play’ are activities that previous generations of kids just did as normal – building a fort, climbing a tree, cycling really quickly,” Dr. Brussoni said. “These activities have become progressively less common because parents are limiting where and how children play without considering the effect on children’s health and development.”
Research found that risky play is associated with increased physical activity in children and the development of social behaviours, self-esteem and risk management skills. It did not find an
increase in the number of reported injuries.
“You still need to manage risks and hazards, but not automatically default only to safety,” she said.
I just walked through the app myself. It asks questions about what traits we want to see in our kids, what WE did as kids, and what traits those activities developed in us, like confidence, and problem-solving skills.
Then it gives really simple scenarios like, “You’re walking your child home and he sees some friends walking. Do you let him join them?” And a decision tree shows the consequences of a “Yes” or “No” decision.
It is really easy to use and it may be just the solution for parents who are interested in Free-Ranging, but aren’t sure how to start.