Kloppenmum’s post on kids and risk reminded me of an Australian study conducted four years ago.
The study was called “Popping the Bubble Wrap”. Children in primary school had their playground and their creative play transformed when ‘loose parts’ were added. Things like buckets, hay bales, wooden planks, milk crates, truck tyres.
The children’s cooperation, creativity, and activity increased. The usual playground games in Australia are handball, basketball, and soccer. I see a lot of non-sporty kids wandering around not knowing what to do. Some schools open up the computer lab at recess and lunchtime for those kids, which is not active or social.
I heard that as soon as the researchers left, the loose parts were removed due to the risk.
You can read about the study in these places…
Journal reference (this took a while to find):
Bundy A, Naughton G, Wyner S, Tranter P (2008). Taking a risk with active play: A low-cost intervention using “loose part” materials in the school ground. American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
Go down the page to the title “Promoting Play & Playfulness”.