Risk -An Important Part of the Playground Experience


At any age, it is natural to feel nervous about trying new things and taking risks. For children, risk is an essential part of growing up. It can build confidence, and resilience helping them learn valuable life lessons. We currently live in an era of sedentary behaviour and overprotective parenting where children invest their time on screens and no longer climb trees for fun.

When children do play outside parents can worry about their safety and discourage them from climbing too high, swinging too fast, or getting too dirty. It’s important to provide opportunities for children to encounter age-appropriate risk as it’s a necessary component of growth. Children are experimenting with new things when playing outside. They face the risk of injury, mistakes, and unknown outcomes as they move from one challenge to the next, but that shouldn’t, and won’t stop children from playing.

Risk in the playground

The recent decade’s playground safety discussion has revolved around the question of whether public playgrounds have become too safe. Despite recent claims that UK playgrounds can be designed using what has been dubbed the “KFC” approach – Kit, Fencing and Carpet- Mark Hardy, Chair of the Association of Play Industries, stated in a recent article that the UK leads the way in challenging play environments with built-in risk. Because risk is such a valuable part of the playground experience, incorporating the appropriate level of risk is an important part of good playground design.

A playground that is overly safe, with no risk associated, will simply not appeal to children. Playgrounds provide a safe environment for children to experiment with risk.  It has an impact on both their emotional and physical development. The benefits of playground equipment such as monkey bars, high climbing structures, swings and slides are vastly different from the dangers posed by unsafe, damaged, or broken playground equipment.

Playdale specialises in playground equipment that is exciting and fun as well as posing an age-appropriate risk. To ensure safety all of our equipment complies with European Safety Standard BSEN1176 and all materials are subject to extensive quality controls, ensuring that Playdale equipment is built to last.

Our stainless-steel Frontiers range offers an excellent combination of risk and safety. Each encounter with our stainless-steel Frontiers is unique, encouraging risk-taking and social engagement through free-flow activity!

Brockhole on Windermere Lake District National Park Authority

The goal was to revamp the playground and add additional excitement, adventure, and challenge while staying true to Brockhole’s setting and complementing the natural surroundings. The key to a great playground is striking the appropriate balance between risk and safety, and this one succeeds! A ten-meter high, nine (yes, nine!) tower multi-play unit is the centrepiece of the design, providing adrenaline-pumping fun for all users.

Choosing playground equipment that strikes the right balance between risk and fun can be an exciting experience. There are  many pieces of equipment that can be put together in different creative combinations. Click here to view our latest catalogue for plenty of playground advice and inspiration.


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