Risk Taking on the Toddler Climber.

I came across this set of images recently.  I carefully saved them and was going to share and then life happened and it didn't make it to this place.  Until today.

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook
 about children climbing up the slide at the playground.  Quite a conversation ensued with many parents chiming in with their experiences in the playground and their thoughts on whether or not children should be allowed to climb up the slide.

In my opinion, I have come to the place where I like to assess the situation on a more individual basis and not have a hard and fast rule one way or the other.  

I have taken my granddaughter to the park where because there were fewer children present the way that she chose to use the climbing apparatus was a non-issue.  She could do her own thing because no one else was affected.  We have gone sometimes when it's been busier and I have watched her regulate herself and take turns and slide down the slide and not climb up.  My help was not required.  Her choices were perfectly socially acceptable.

The following pictures are taken in a toddler room where I used to work.  We had this lovely wooden climber/slide/tunnel donated to us.  Needless to say, it gets lots of use.  Safety is always a rule in this daycare but children are given a lot of space to move and challenge themselves.

This little two-year old arrived first thing in the morning with lots of energy.  He was the only child there and had the climber to himself.  How he used it was incredible.

He thought of several ways to go up and down.  

Using hands to climb up.

Then no hands.

Driving cars up.

Experimenting with how to go down.  On the tummy, feet first.

Crouching and hiding underneath.

Head first going down.

He navigated the bottom just fine.

Running down.

Running down and jumping off at the end.

Perhaps the most significant thing of all, apart from how adept and capable he was physically, is that this kind of risk-taking completely changed when other children arrived.  He was able to regulate on his own, at two years of age, how to play when others were also using the slide.

Trust.  He showed me that I could trust him and I did.

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