15th September 2020

Children Need ‘Tricky’ Experiences

“The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves. If you never let them take any risks, then I believe they become very prone to injury,” 

Roald Dahl​

tricky experiences Guardian

Children require physical and mental challenges which push the boundaries of their knowledge and skills. According to the children in our Centre, ‘Tricky’ means “something which makes you feel scared, but not too scared…”

When your child rolls down a hill or slides down a slide, they are developing their senses and understanding their bodies. When they spin, hang upside down, run down a hill or climb a wall. When they balance, jump, skip, stand on one leg, roll, walk backward and sideways, over, under and through things. The list goes on!​

As part of real-world learning, children need physical and mental challenges which are a little ‘tricky’. That push the boundaries of their knowledge and skills. It’s about physicality, but also developing skills like resilience, confidence in themselves and their bodies, and reinforcing that they are capable and competent individuals.​

Of course, this is not about putting your child in harm’s way, but about supporting them to develop important life skills.​

How you can create ‘Tricky’ Experiences at home

With the warmer weather upon us, now is the perfect opportunity to get children outside, exploring the world around them, and overcoming some ‘tricky’ environments.

Depending on the age of your child, there are many ways to bring this learning to life at home:​

  • Create an indoor obstacle course using household items like chairs and boxes.​
  • Run down a hill together. Or even more fun, roll down it!​
  • Take a trip to the playground or park and support your child to climb across a tree trunk.​
  • Visit the national park and climb up a mountain together.​

What’s the science behind ‘Tricky’?​

‘Tricky’ encounters involve something called ‘proprioception’ and the ‘vestibular’ sense.​

  • Proprioception is the awareness of your body and its position in space, even without looking. It’s essential for all normal body movements. For example, it allows you to touch your nose when your eyes are closed.​
  • The vestibular sense is related to the movement of the body through space and is guided by the sense of balance in the inner ear. It’s the co-ordination of movement and muscles and allows us to keep our balance when walking on slippery ground or when we sense a car starting to move.​

When children play in these ways – jumping, bounding, climbing and hanging – many assume it’s simply ‘children being children’. But these are all examples of your child learning about the power and uniqueness of their own bodies and what they are capable of.

Isn’t it amazing!?​

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