Traditional playgrounds which teach children about risk and danger are being reintroduced after research found that they aid development.
Climbing frames, monkey bars, sand and water features have been replaced with sterile play areas in recent years amid overzealous health and safety fears.
Councils removed features such as paddling pools sand pits and fitted rubber mats in a bid to avoid costly litigation. But experts believe that the opportunity to assess potential danger and react to risk in the playground helps children make decisions in later life.
South Somerset district council has revised its play strategy and has granted approval for more traditional playgrounds which including stepping logs and wooden forts.
Adrian Moore, the council’s play and youth facilities officer, told the Sunday Times: “Playgrounds are the nursery slopes for real life. If we don’t help children differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable risk, we are failing them.
“Instead of eliminating it, let’s embrace it. In a playground, learning to judge speed, movement and distance stands you in good stead when you master other vital but dangerous skills, such as riding a bike or crossing the road.”
Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway, wrote in the journal Evolutionary Psychology: “Children must encounter risks and overcome playground fears, monkey bars and tall slides are great.
“They approach thrills and risks in a progressive manner. Let them encounter these challenges from an early age and they will master them through play over the years.”
Good grief. I don’t think the kids ever worry about danger.
Mommies and daddies are always ready to rush out in overprotective mode. The best thing they can do is ban parents from anywhere they can watch their children playing.