March 2019 Newsletter – Children and Risk: Big Body Play

Children often take risks with their bodies. They seek to understand the strengths and limitations of the vehicle they are using to move around the world. Encouraging physical risk-taking is something that many adults are uncomfortable with. We have been trained since the beginning of our careers to make sure children are safe and that they never get hurt. These are very important rules, but is there a way that children can explore their capabilities that involves minimal risk?

The answer is “Yes!” according to proponents of Big Body Play (BBP). Frances Carlson, author of the book Big Body Play: Why Boisterous, Vigorous, and Very Physical Play is Essential to Children’s Development and Learning, defines BBP as “the very physical, vigorous, boisterous, and sometimes bone-jarring play style many children love and crave.”

Examples include jumping, leaping, chasing, tumbling, rolling, spinning, swinging, bumping, crashing, tagging, tugging, pushing, and wrestling. These activities help children develop physical skills, strength, and coordination. Additionally, children practice language skills, listening to peers, and interpreting body language during BBP. These skills are used to ensure that the play remains play and does not transition into aggression. Children explore concepts of competition, fairness, and cooperation, each of which leads to better developed self-regulation skills.

To learn more, check out these resources:

For the main article Children and Risk, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Risk Taking, CLICK HERE

For the article Encouraging Risk in the Classroom, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Managing Risk, CLICK HERE