Study Finds Benefits of Risky Outdoor Play on Kids

August 7, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. horseplay / ˈhɔrsˌpleɪ / (n.) – rough or wild play
ExampleHorseplay is not allowed in our home.

2. hone / hoʊn / (v.) – to improve or make better
Example: Musicians hone their skills through constant practice.

3. resilience / rɪˈzɪl yəns / (n.) – the ability to recover from hardship or difficulty
Example: Some professional athletes are known for their resilience.

4. supervision / ˌsu pərˈvɪʒ ən / (n.) – the act of overseeing a person or a process
Example: New employees need a lot of supervision.

5. intervention / ˌɪn tərˈvɛn ʃən / (n.) – the act of becoming involved in something
Example: I would like to work without anybody’s intervention


Read the text below.
A recent study found that children can benefit from risky outdoor horseplay.

Marianna Brussoni and her colleagues from the University of British Columbia analyzed 21 related studies to find the link between risky outdoor play and a child’s health. The studies that the researchers reviewed looked into different types of risky play, play environments, and their health and behavioral effects on children.

According to the researchers’ analysis, children who engaged in risky outdoor play tend to have better physical and mental health. Risky outdoor horseplay also did not just promote an active lifestyle; it helped hone the children’s social skills and creativity as well. The researchers also found that environments that allow risky play encouraged more play time and better social development and resilience among children.

Brussoni and her colleagues explained that risky outdoor horseplay provides the said benefits because it allows children to learn about risks and to become aware of their limits. Brussoni also mentioned that very strict playground safety guidelines and parental supervision stops children from engaging in risky outdoor play.

A child psychologist from the NYU Langone [lang-GOHN] Medical Center agrees with the results of this recent study, saying that risky and uninterrupted group play is beneficial to children. Dr. Rebecca Berry said that uninterrupted play—activities without intervention from parents—helps children learn decision-making and problem-solving skills on their own. Also, uninterrupted play may teach children some important values, such as taking turns and handling emotions.

While allowing children to engage in risky outdoor behavior has its benefits, Berry stressed that ensuring the children’s safety is still very important.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the results of this study? Why or why not?
·         What can be the disadvantages of risky outdoor horseplay?

Discussion B

·         Do parents in your community usually allow their kids to play outdoors? Why is that so?
·         Why do you think children nowadays do not usually play outdoors?

August 7, 2015