Things to do outdoors – What Are The Benefits Of Risky, Adventurous Play For Children?

Most parents wish to protect their children against even the tiniest of risks. However, did you know that taking part in adventurous play can be beneficial? A study by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Child & Family Research Institute found that “play environments where children could take risks promoted increased play time, social interactions, creativity and resilience.” Safety concerns such as injuries are the main reason why parents limit outdoor play. Playground safety standards can also keep children from indulging their most adventurous instincts. While these standards can help prevent serious injury, it’s also important to balance safety with children’s health. Additonally, as the researchers stated, to “monitor rather than actively supervise,” especially in the case of older children.

Embracing The Rough, Exciting Side To Life At Diggerland

At Diggerland, children negotiate diggers, drive them over different surfaces, and get up close to soil, rocks, and other natural elements that enable them to build a stronger bond with nature. In the UBC study, it was found that play areas such as these, where trees, plants, height changes, and other natural features abound, encourage children to take part in activities of their own choosing, benefitting their health, behaviour, and social development. Because Diggerland is an outdoor play setting, there are many free activities that children can take part in – including running, jumping, and the like.

If you’re looking for things to do outdoors, Diggerland visitors can also enjoy the fantastic outdoor Adventure Play Area at Diggerland Devon! All of our 4 UK parks also have indoor soft play areas for children to use to their heart’s content.

Tree Climbing And Heights

If you are at a play area with trees, your children may ask if they can take part in a little climbing. Tree climbing can be safely undertaken by teaching children a few key tips. These include avoiding wet branches (i.e. tree climbing is not a good idea if it has just rained), wearing fitting clothes (since loose clothing can get caught on branches) and taking jewellery off, choosing trees with strong branches and branches of at least six inches in diameter, and climbing healthy trees exclusively. In general, good tree species to climb include oak, maple, buckeye, pine, and sycamore trees (hardwood trees). Fast-growing trees such as willows and poplars are not good choices because their branches can be weak and brittle. Parents should stay close to children – close enough that they can catch them if necessary, and help them create a climbing strategy.

The Cognitive Benefits Of Risky Play

Activities such as running, jumping and climbing in the Great Outdoors improve strength, balance and flexibility. They can also improve the way the brain works. A 2015 study by University of North Florida researchers found that climbing trees and balancing on a beam can significantly improve cognitive skills and boost working memory. Because climbing makes people think of the best way to reach higher branches, it exercises the brain as well as the body. The researchers said that this benefits children and adults alike: “By taking a break to do activities that are unpredictable and require us to consciously adapt our movements, we can boost our working memory to perform better in the classroom and the boardroom.”

Adventurous, risky play has a host of physical and mental benefits. Climbing, running, jumping, and controlling a digger can help people strategise. This while also improving their sense of balance. Parents who wish to keep their children safe can take a moderate approach, permitting children to discover the world around them. Whilst monitoring them and teaching them how to safely undertake potentially risky activities.

Things to do outdoors – The ultimate UK family day out

Book your tickets for Diggerland Theme Park today and visit any of our 4 UK parks in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire. Let your children run wild, and enjoy the great outdoors.

We look forward to seeing you!

* All information correct as of 02/08/2021.


Guest blog post by Jane Sandwood