We have got a toddler who climbs on everything. He has figured out how to get on to all the downstairs window ledges, kitchen surfaces, tables and the piano. Anything that can be climbed on, he’s scaled.

Dealing with risk

In a post on learning through play, Parentzone Scotland explain that children and young people need opportunities to play in lots of different situations, experiencing adventure and challenge. Play should be free and safe. Your child will learn to manage risks and make appropriate choices about where, how and when they play.

While risks are real, they need to be kept in proportion and controlled. They shouldn’t affect the opportunities children and young people have to play outside. The goal for you as parents is not to eliminate risk in play, but to weigh up the risks and the benefits. Learning to manage risks and challenges will help your child or young person to grow and develop into a healthy, confident adult.

Some useful phrases to respond to risk-taking activities:

  • ‘Go as high as you are confident.’
  • ‘Stop where you feel safe.’
  • ‘Look at what that other boy/girl is doing.’
  • ‘What do you think?’
  • ‘Can you go a little further?’
  • ‘Remember what happened the last time? What did you do that worked?’
  • ‘That’s OK, have another go.’
  • ‘I’ll stand here, just in case you need some help.’
  • ‘Think it through.’

Triclimb and Miri Slide

In an attempt to keep Cian safe with a designated indoor climbing zone, we encouraged the boys to put their Christmas money together to buy the Triclimb and Miri Slide.

Day 1

From the very first day of using it, Cian (16 months this week) was able to confidently climb up and over the Triclimb and slide down. He also followed Ioan’s lead and crawled through the tunnel underneath it.

He climbed and walked up the slide, ‘Oooh’-ing and ‘Aah’-ing to his brothers all the way up.

Day 2

What a difference a a haircut makes. These pictures were taken after breakfast the following morning, on the second day of us having the Triclimb. When Cian saw the Triclimb was still there he ran around in circles of excitement for a good 5 minutes. Look at the joy on his face when he first spotted it!

Once he’d finished running his laps, he decided to climb up the slide. When all three of them are playing on it we have to enforce a one way system to avoid collisions, which was why (on this occasion) I asked him to go down the slide, not up.

We’ve been trying to encourage turn taking. Cian is still impatient, and quick to try and push his brothers down the slide if he feels they are taking too long. We use this as an opportunity to explain not to push and instead to ‘use kind hands’.

Cian’s very lucky he’s always got Ioan and Finn on hand to cheer him along. They are both very good at offering support through words and kisses, whilst allowing Cici to figure things out for himself.

Ioan and Finn aren’t always quite so gentle with each other. Cian often frowns as he watches his brothers’ antics, he takes his observations of their behaviour very seriously.

Day 3

Finn made a tunnel with his legs, for Cian to slide through.

He was enjoying having his two cheerleaders back in action.

Then they decided to change direction and climb up the slide and down the climbing frame. This was the moment that Cian decided to slide back down, taking Finn with him.

After three days of varied, but none stop play, I can’t wait to see how their play evolves with this equipment.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Physical development

ELG 04 – Moving and handling:

Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space.

ELG 05 – Health and self-care:

Children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe.