Children should engage in 'risky play' near cliffs and water, parliamentary group says

The recommendations are part of a new report looking into child play

Children should partake in more “risky play” including playing near cliffs and water, an all-party parliamentary group has suggested.

The recommendations are part of a new report, ‘Play’ by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood, chaired by Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick and Liberal Democrat Peer, Baroness Floella Benjamin.

The committee decides recommendations to improve and contribute to children’s health and wellbeing and presents them to parliament.

One of those recommendations suggests child’s play has become too safe, the report says: “Many urban playgrounds are invariably neat and tidy, supplying playful options that are neither properly challenging nor exciting.”

The report suggests this should be changed, saying: “Risky play involving perhaps rough and tumble, height, speed, playing near potentially dangerous elements such as water, cliffs and exploring alone with the possibility of getting lost gives children a feeling of thrill and excitement.”

According to the report, the benefits include: “risk assessment and mastery”, “learning when feelings of fear indicates that behaviour is unsafe and learning to balance feelings of fear and excitement” as well as “a crucial sense of competence which forms a foundation for the development of healthy self-esteem, self-reliance and resilience in the face of life’s stressors.”

The report also looks at the role of technology in child’s play and calls on the play industry, advertising, the media and national and local government to recognise the importance of play for children.

Baroness Benjamin, who was also a presenter on the children’s programme Playschool said: “This is the most comprehensive recent study of play in all its forms and proves the truth of the old saying ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’”