Risky Play and Children’s Well-Being, Involvement and Physical Activity

New article from the EnCompetence project published this week!

Sando, O.J., Kleppe, R. & Sandseter, E.B.H. Risky Play and Children’s Well-Being, Involvement and Physical Activity. Child Ind Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-021-09804-5

Abstract: Children’s activities and experiences in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) institutions are essential for children’s present and future lives. Playing is a vital activity in childhood, and playing is found to be positively related to a variety of outcomes among children. In this study, we investigated how risky play – a fundamentally voluntary form of play – related to children’s well-being, involvement and physical activity. Results from structured video observations (N = 928) during periods of free play in eight Norwegian ECEC institutions indicated that engagement in risky play was positively associated with children’s well-being, involvement and physical activity. The findings in this study suggest that one way to support children’s everyday experiences and positive outcomes for children in ECEC is to provide children with opportunities for risky play. Restrictions on children’s play behaviours following safety concerns must be balanced against the joy and possible future benefits of thrilling play experiences for children.

Ellen Beate

The relationship between indoor environments and children’s play – confined spaces and materials

From the EnCompetence project: Sandseter, E. B. H., Storli, S. & Sando, O. J. (2021) The relationship between indoor environments and children’s play – confined spaces and materials, Education 3-13, DOI: 10.1080/03004279.2020.1869798

Abstract: The provision of environments that support and afford play is fundamental for young children’s experiences, learning and development. Play environments of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) institutions are therefore of great importance for the opportunities provided children to create and engage in a wide range of play. This study examines the association between Norwegian ECEC institutions’ indoor environment (spaces and materials) and children’s engagement in different types of play. Children (3–6 years, N = 86) were observed in two-minute sequences during periods of the day when they were free to choose what to do. The data consists of 943 randomly recorded two-minute videos, which were coded second-by-second to register the type of play occurring, the space in which it occurred and the materials children used. The results show that the indoor environment in the participating ECEC institutions afforded predictable play types in what could be called confined spaces designed and furnished for certain kinds of play activities. The authors discuss how this helps practitioners maintain predictability and control of children’s play, while on the other hand, it restricts children’s play and freedom to bring their own initiatives, ideas and creativity into the play in unpredictable ways.

Find the full text article HERE

Enjoy! 🙂

Innendørs risikofylt lek – et bidrag til spenning og variasjon i barnehagens lekemiljøer

A Norwegian article about how to facilitate physical environments for indoor risky play.

https://jased.net/index.php/jased/article/view/2460

English title: Indoor risky play: Opportunities for excitement and variety in the ECEC play environments?

Abstract in English: Risky play is a form of play that can contribute to both children’s well-being and development, but there is a lack of research on the topic. In this study, we have investigated various aspects of risky play in the indoor environment of Early Childhood Education and Care settings (ECEC). The study is based on video observation of 65 children aged 3–5 years, from seven ECEC centers, during periods when the children were free to play as they wished. The video observations were conducted in two phases: Autumn 2017 (T1) and Autumn 2018 (T2), and the final data material consists of 770 video observations of 2 minutes each. Based on the observations in T1, an intervention was carried out to strengthen the existing physical play environments. The intervention was developed and implemented as a collaboration between the researchers and staff in the participating center. The effects of the intervention were observed in T2. The data material was analyzed with descriptive statistics and regression analyzes. The results show that children engaged in risky play indoors, especially with great heights and rough-and-tumble play, and that the risky play mainly took place in tumbling spaces and in cubbies. Results related to the intervention show that the ECEC centers that established an integrated tumbling space had an increase in risky play indoors. In addition, the results show that both girls, boys and children of different ages used the tumbling spaces for risky play after the intervention. Overall, this study demonstrates opportunities to create exciting and more varied play opportunities indoors in ECEC.

Kleppe, R., Sando, O. J., & Sandseter, E. B. H. (2020). Innendørs risikofylt lek – et bidrag til spenning og variasjon i barnehagens lekemiljøer . Journal for Research in Arts and Sports Education4(2). https://doi.org/10.23865/jased.v4.2460

How children utilize spaces and materials in outdoor play

A new article from the EnCompetence project:

Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter, Rune Storli & Ole Johan Sando (2020) The dynamic relationship between outdoor environments and children’s play, Education 3-13, online first: DOI: 10.1080/03004279.2020.1833063

Abstract: Play is a fundamental activity for experiences, learning and development among children in their early years. Early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions’ play environments, their features and design, are therefore of great importance for the opportunities provided for children to create and engage in a wide range of play. This study examines how children utilise features in the ECEC outdoor environment (spaces and materials) to engage in different types of play. Children (3–6 years, N = 86) were observed in two-minute sequences during periods of the day when they were free to choose what to do. The data consists of 935 randomly recorded two-minute videos, which were coded second by second to register the type of play occurring, the space in which it occurred and the materials children used. The results indicate a dynamic relationship between the outdoor environments and the play in which children engage and point out the complex nature of playground design, where planning for the predictable, and at the same time opening up for the unpredictable, is important.

Prevalence of risky play

For all who are interested in how much children engage in risky play, we have recently published and article where we look at this.

Sandseter, E.B.H., Kleppe, R. & Sando, O.J. The Prevalence of Risky Play in Young Children’s Indoor and Outdoor Free Play. Early Childhood Education Journal, online first: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-020-01074-0

Abstact: Research on children’s risky play and young children’s risk taking is a relatively new research area that has drawn the attention of many researchers in the last decades. Nevertheless, to our knowledge, no earlier studies have measured the prevalence of risky play when children can freely choose what to play, with whom, and where. Most research on risky play has also exclusively focused on outdoor play. This study aims at examining the occurrence and characteristics of children’s risky play, indoors and outdoors, in early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions. Children (N = 80) were observed in two-minute sequences during periods of the day when they were free to choose what to do. The data consists of 1878 randomly recorded two-minute videos, which were coded second by second for the occurrence of several categories of risky play. Results revealed that risky play was registered in 10.3% of the total data material. The data is further analysed to explore distribution among different types of risky play, as well as differences between gender, age and environment (indoors vs. outdoors).

Barriers for Outdoor Play in ECEC

Earlier this fall some colleagues and I published an article on barriers for outdoor play in ECEC in five different European countries. You can find the article here (click):

Sandseter, E. B. H., Cordovil, R., Hagen, T. L., & Lopes, F. (2019). Barriers for Outdoor Play in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Institutions: Perception of Risk in Children’s Play among European Parents and ECEC Practitioners. Child Care in Practice, 1-19. doi: 10.1080/13575279.2019.1685461

Abstract

Risk aversive perceptions and practices among ECEC practitioners and parents have proven to be an important reason for the decline of young children’s opportunities for free outdoor play. Yet, there are also cultural differences in the perception of children’s risky play. This study aims at examining the factors that ECEC practitioners and parents experience as barriers for children’s outdoor play, especially those associated with risk. ECEC practitioners and parents in five different European countries (Greece, Portugal, Estonia, Croatia and Norway) received questionnaires about their perception of children’s outdoor play. The sample consists of 32 ECEC practitioners and 184 parents. Results show that parents and ECEC practitioners from Norway are less risk aversive to children’s play than those from the southern European countries. Traffic is a barrier for outdoor play among parents from all countries (above 50%), and stranger danger is particularly noticed in parents from Greece (80.6%) and Portugal (62.9%), whereas in Norway this value is only 13.3%. The mean average age from which parents allow their children to play outside is quite different between the participating countries, ranging from 5.8 years in Norway to 11.8 years in Greece. In total, fear of children getting injured and adults’ own concern/anxiety are only mentioned as barriers by 9.4% and 3.1% of ECEC practitioners, respectively. Lack of play spaces (74.3%) and poor play facilities (80%) are also considered obstacles to letting children play outside by Greek parents, whereas Portuguese ones emphasized media alerts (61.3%). Our results suggest a differentiated approach between countries to tackle the reported barriers to children’s outdoor risky play.

The article is part of the MLO-project

Another EnCompetence newsletter!

Newsletter no. 9 from the EnCompetence project is now available in Norwegian and English.

I particularly want to point your attention to the fourth scientific article from the project that was published in July 2019 in Early Child Development and Care. You can find it here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03004430.2019.1651305 . This article focuses on the importance of tumbling spaces in ECEC institutions’ indoor environment.

Ellen

Latest EnCompetence newsletter and a new publication

I have recently published the 8th newsletter in the project Competence for developing early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions’ indoor- and outdoor environments (EnCompetence). You can read the newsletter in this LINK, and see more about the project in this LINK.

The PhD-student in our project, Ole Johan Sando, has also recently published his second research article:

Sando, O. J. (2019). The physical indoor environment in ECEC settings: children’s well-being and physical activity. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 1-14. doi:10.1080/1350293X.2019.1634238

Happy summer to you all!

Ellen