Category Archives: risk

Hello CTV Morning Live Viewers

Thanks to Heidi and the Morning Live crew for profiling play on the show. If you tuned into the segment today and are interested in more background or resources, here are a couple of places to start. Click on the image, or all CAPS title to take you to Storify content.

Adventure and Loose Parts – Storify

Adventure and Loose Parts


Talking about risk and play, here are a few resources.

A Greater Risk

A greater risk

More PlayGroundology content on Storify here.

Check Adventure PlayGround YHZ for adventure play info and upcoming events. Stay tuned for details on loose parts play on the October 24 weekend in Halifax.


Looking for Your Stories

My PlayGroundology alter ego is looking for your stories to share with attendees of Halifax’s 4th annual unconference – Emergent Learning. I have submitted a successful proposal to be an unpaid speaker at the event which is attended by educators, policy makers, parents, members of the medical community and others from across our part of the world here in Atlantic Canada who care about education.

Emergent Learning  graphicEmergent Learning Unconference – Halifax, Nova Scotia, October 2015

I’ve entitled the presentation, Risk, Resilience and the Renaissance of Play. If you have an anecdote, a photo, an infographic or video footage that illustrates the subject matter I will be speaking to, I’d love to hear from you. I will credit everything I am able to use.

Emergent Learning my sessionPresentation outline – Emergent Learning Unconference.

I’ve already had the opportunity to connect with some ‘play people’ in Australia, the UK, the USA and Canada and would be pleased to gather additional stories form these venues as well as other parts of the world.

Help PlayGroundology tell the story of Risk, Resilience and the Renaissance of Play. The final presentation will be available for sharing in November.

Thanks in advance to all those who are able to share stories. You can leave a comment here or write to playgroundology ‘at’

Emergent Learning PostBackyard fun – simple pleasures with a twist of risk

More freedom to roam and outdoor play with risk good for kids says ParticipACTION

More freedom to roam and outdoor play with risks make Johnny and Jane more physically active says ParticipACTION in the The 2015 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth (formerly the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card).

The Wave riskyplayRisky play was the subject of a recent public presentation in Halifax with Tim Gill made possible by Stepping Up Halifax and the NS Department of Health and Wellness

Highlights of ParticipACTION’s 2015 report are available here and the full report, here.

ParticipACTION has also put together a handy social media kit and an infographic.

2015-Report-Card-Infographic-EN-FINALclick image to enlarge

Keep the kids movin’and give them some space to play unsupervised it can do wonders. In Dartmouth this Sunday, June 14, check out some outdoors loose parts play at the Findlay Community Centre.

Today Only: Popping The Bubble Wrap with Tim Gill in Halifax, Nova Scotia

If you’re in the Halifax area, we hope you can join us at 2:30 this afternoon at the funked up Halifax Central Library to hear about risk and play from Tim Gill, one of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood.

Risky play is crossing a lake with not a lot of rocks (to step on)…..


Tim Gill - Public Event Poster 8x11A helping hand to adventure……


Tim Gill - Public Poster Library Screens Draft 1-01Getting Out on a limb

Hope you can join us at the halifax central library….

halifaxcentrallibrary3Photo credit – Alexa Cude

PlayGroundology on CBC’s Maritime Noon

Today, I’m an in studio guest with Norma Lee MacLeod, host of CBC Radio’s Maritime Noon. We’ll be talking playgrounds and I’m looking forward to hearing from listeners in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia about their perspectives on the state of public play spaces. If you’re a PlayGroundology friend in the Maritimes, tune in for the conversation. We’ll also be giving away a copy of Brenda Biondo’s beautiful photography book – Once Upon a Playground.

I’ve cobbled together a few storify stories that Maritime Noon listeners and regular PlayGroundology readers can explore. Just click through on the bolded titles below or the accompanying photos and you’ll be whisked away to curated content that includes journalism, videos, blogposts and more.

One resource that I would like to single out that may be of interest to listeners is No Fear – Growing Up in a Risk Averse Society (free download) written by British play advocate Tim Gill and published by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

And now, on with the storify content.

Adventure and Loose Parts



A Greater Risk



The Makers
Toshiko storify


Right to Play

Resources for Play
Glasgow Green storify
If you are able to tune in to today’s program, thanks for listening and thanks to the Maritime Noon team for making it happen.



Somewhere in urban America, sometime ago, this lad jumped. And what a leap as he sails toward the fence.

If anyone knows the photographer, the jumper or the story behind this photo, I’d love to hear from you.

I jumped from a swing in motion when I was a kid and lived to tell the tale. It never approached the drama or daredevilry of the image above but nevertheless my buddies and I felt like we were living a little on the edge.

My young kids are doing it now too. There are such looks of wonder, fear and elation rapidly shifting across their faces as they fling themselves through the air.

This is a concrete example of a playground activity where kids assess risk. It’s all about their own ability and judgment as they face off against gravity.

Check the facial expressions and aerial acrobatics of these jumpers captured by flickr photographers and curated by PlayGroundology in JUMP.

2722837321_74639701fd_zPhoto credit – Wayne Silver. License – (CC BY 2.0)

Get out there and JUMP!

If you’re a swing lover, you may also enjoy – The Unbearable Lightness of Swinging.

On The Rocks

On a recent excursion along Nova Scotia’s South Shore we stopped for a leisurely play at Crescent Beach. The kids were drawn to a large outcropping of rocks rising a couple of metres above sea level at its peak. The rock surface was uneven, fissured, pocked with holes and in some places slippery. Like billy goats, Noah and Nellie scrabbled about in search of footholds trying to maintain their balance as they explored the rock’s features and their own climbing abilities.

More On the Rocks photos from Crecent Beach here

Now if this immoveable force of natural beauty were to be transposed to a playground in Canada or the US there is no doubt in my mind that it would not pass a safety inspection. The transgressions against code would be legion. It would be deemed too risky. There was risk at play on the rocks and as parents we were aware of the potential dangers. In fact, the risk made the play all that much sweeter for the kids. Note – during the time they played, there was only one request for a rescue mission.

Meanwhile, in New York City, 11-year-old Ashima Shiraishi is a real climbing sensation. She got her start in Central Park on Rat Rock. I came across her story through Diana Kimball’s submission to The Last Great Thing (submission changes daily and there is no archive) via


I watched the video posted on the NY Times site that accompanies the excellent article by Julie Bosman. It’s electric. Now Ashima is light years beyond the funning that our kids were doing at Crescent Beach. But I think the difference is one of degree. Ashima, Noah and Nellie are engaged in play, pushing boundaries and understanding risk. In the end these are some of the key attributes and skills we want our kids to hold dear and bring with them into adulthood.

In keeping with the spirit of The Last Great Thing folks who inspired this post, I’ll share this.

Last night after supper, my 4 1/2 year old daughter Nellie-Rose and I went out for a solo mission. Older brother and younger sister stayed at home with maman. It’s not often that just the two of us get to go on these little trips. En route to purchase a new lawn mower and pick up a few groceries, Nellie-Rose talked non-stop – questions, stories, more questions, statements and professions of love. It was great just to be able to focus on her. Then she said the last great thing I’ve heard:

if i was playing in some puddles i will be as happy as can be and if you were playing in some puddles with me you can be as happy as can be too

I think of this as a pretty foolproof outlook for the two of us. I feel fortunate that there is lots of playing left ahead of me and that I’ve got a good guide to help me along the way.