Categories of Risky Play and the Role of Educators

course8-lesson5-photo1Ellen Sandseter is one of the leading authorities on risky play. In a 2011 article, Sandseter identified how the risk perceived by early learning teachers influences children’s opportunity for risky play. Attitudes, tolerance to risk, and how they manage risky play, impact children’s opportunities. According to Sandsetter, Norwegian early learning teachers have a more positive attitude towards risky play than educators in most other countries. A survey among Norwegian educators identified that they are generally positive about thrilling and risky kinds of play and that they rarely interfere in or restrict this type of play.

What can early learning teachers learn from others about risky play? Continue in this module to learn about risky play categories. These can help you categorize and understand the play possibilities that you offer children.


  1. Grace Smith

    I have learned a lot from this lesson. I feel more comfortable giving children opportunity for risky play.

  2. Katarina Ninkovic

    The more we learn about risky play, the more we can be better prepared! For the other staff and for parents too! I’m a huge advocate of risky play

  3. Minni Harris

    I am finding this to be overwhelming and informative I have noted our local elementary schools are gearing pre towards more outdoor learning. I am finding some great ideas we can try at our program.

  4. Angel Huang

    With this lesson, I wish I can know how to let the children enjoy risky play just like how I had with my childhood.

  5. Ruth Novak

    There is so much to take in and I’m looking forward to using it with my children. I have tried to be an advocate here, but it’s hard with the space and supplies we have. I will continue to gain knowledge and will continue to share those ideas.

  6. Amanda Funk

    Educators can benefit from other educators who have successfully introduced this into their practice.

  7. Kathy Barnhart

    Every day is an opportunity to learn from others. Educators who are open to continuous learning can benefit from reflecting on how an activity was enjoyed by the children. It helps to discuss how comfortable you are in a safe environment where there is no fear of judgment.

  8. Caroline Driedger

    Educators can learn to support and educate each other regarding risky play. We can also communicate why we are allowing the play at the time to take place so we can share knowledge about the why, how and ask the questions of what are you as an educator afraid of.

  9. Nadira Ramnauth

    Teachers can learn from each other how to support and encourage the children during risky play. I know that there are some teachers who are concerned the children might get hurt during risky play. We have to give the children the opportunity to participate in risky play, this will help the children to know their strengths and abilities. It will also give the teachers ideas on what type of risky play should be provided to the children. Children need our trust and support when participating in different plays.

  10. Alphonsine Hategekimana

    Taking risks with children can come from the way educators guide and encourage children. We need to trust the children who are with us to give them the opportunity to take risks.

  11. Stephanie Vieira

    Early learning teachers can learn from others is to be more comfortable around risky play with children if they are not comfortable. Learn the benefits of risky play and how great risky play is for the children’s health.

  12. Lorraine Kok

    Risky play can sometimes be intimidating but knowing your children and have confidence in the abilities helps

  13. Carrie Maclellan 

    Early learning teachers can learn from others on how to feel more comfortable with the risk and possibly ways to increase risk over time so the increase is gradual and gives other educators a chance to catch up in comfort.

  14. Heather Howard

    Becoming more comfortable with risky play might involve educating yourself with the many many articles of research on the benefits of risky play, engaging in conversations with co-educators around risky play, becoming familiar with the policies and procedures in your program and being open to new ideas and ways that children need this type of play.

  15. Heidi Dueck

    Risky play brings back the freedom to explore. It creates self regulation. This is needed at time where adults having control over every thing.

  16. Patricia Lynch-Staunton

    What can early learning teachers learn from others about risky play?
    Early learning teachers can learn from the experts about the benefits of children assessing their own risk, thrilling, physical play, challenging and adventurous play and that the children will do it, whether we are comfortable with it or not. Our role is reflect upon our own limits to try and understand why we arw uncomfortable and then devise strategies to mitigate these concers.

  17. Alison Rinas

    Educator have to feel comfortable that the liability of the procedure and policies of risky will protect them “if” a child should be hurt. I feel educators don’t want the families not to trust them with them their children, and once everyone has the knowledge required around risky play, then i feel at the point is risky play more enjoyable for everyone.

  18. Romy Ralph

    I think some times seeing it being done in a positive way may help you build your confidence and perhaps try something new in your program.

  19. Laurie Millions

    Teachers can learn different ways to play a game or climb by watching children and by talking with other staff about new and safe risky play experiences that they have done.