Dutch Safety Organisation Launches Campaign for More Adventurous Play

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We all want our kids to have the opportunity to be daring and confident, but sometimes it can seem that there is a thin line between those opportunities, and actually putting them in danger. It’s a constant battle between being protective, and not being overbearing to the point they don’t have enough confidence to face fears and learn new things as they grow.

In today’s world, there’s a notion from various quarters that many children are ‘wrapped in cotton wool’ compared to previous generations. Some even believe that unnecessarily cautious care is causing more harm than good. ‘Risky Play’ is a campaign launched by a well-known national safety organisation for encouraging parents and children to play in a more adventurous manner. According to UNICEF, Children in Holland are currently among the happiest in the world.

The Benefits of Risk

One key motive behind the campaign is the idea that children actually benefit from being encouraged to take little risks at this stage of their life. Whether climbing trees, playing sport or getting out into nature, there’s room to explore under the care of a responsible guardian. The organisation who initiated the campaign has the opinion that activities with a small element of risk can have a positive effect on the children, developing the child’s physical and mental health, actually helping them to understand various types of risks in a monitored form, so that they can be aware of risks well in advance in the outside world.

The organisers say children can also learn to help themselves and build up their self-confidence, with the campaign warning overprotective parents, schools and governments that this generation children may not be getting proper lessons on how to manage risks for themselves. Judith Kuiper is the project leader of the ‘Risky Play’ campaign and believes that this campaign is a good initiative to implant ‘risk competence’ into children, which will help throughout their life. They are specific about the goals of this campaign; they wish to make children to more independent and able to protect themselves against risks.

An Interesting Take

It will be interesting to see how this new campaign impacts popular methods of play in Holland, and whether the ideas spread across Europe. There are many individual voices who share similar views about maintaining, or re-introducing, little elements of risk alongside supervision and instruction. The difference here is seeing an organisation associated with risk being the ones to promote the benefits of a measured level of risk.

The ‘Risky Play’ campaign was inspired by a survey conducted by TNS-NIPO, where they took input from thousand families, with 79% saying they would allow their children to take these small risks with some security assurances. We’re all for develop a sense of adventure while maintaining the highest safety standards, something we ensure with all of our playgrounds.