Safe Risk Taking For Toddlers

While there is a growing consensus that kids need to take risks, the conversation often focuses on “danger” versus “safety.” Not all risk taking ventures for kids involves potential danger. Rather it’s more about the idea of exploration and getting outside of a comfort zone.

NOODLE FOREST: NOT YOUR EVERYDAY NOODLES via childrensmuseumofphoenix.org

Consider a terrific exhibit/experience at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix – the Noodle Forest, comprised of lots of pool noodles. Check out the description from the museum’s website:

Oodles of noodles suspended from above offer sensory immersion in a unique and engaging environment. A thick forest of textural delight awaits visitors as they navigate this unfamiliar yet stimulating terrain. The Noodle Forest is guaranteed to activate the senses and inspire the giggles.

Here’s the thing. For a toddler, it can be a little disorienting making your way through the Noodle Forest. You do indeed get immersed in the noodles – you can’t see or hear much of anything else. You have to push your way through it and the noodles swing back at you. I’ve tried it myself and it is surprising how quickly you feel like you are, well, working your way through a Noodle Forest.

So it’s somewhat “risky” for some kids because it’s different and perhaps even a little challenging psychologically. But it’s physically safe and kids know that a parent is waiting for them once they get through it. This is an excellent balance of sensory stimulation combined with experiencing something a little different that pushes a toddler a little and makes them feel like they did something cool.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix has many other exciting exhibits and exhibitions. Some especially promote creativity and fine motor development. Some push kids a bit more to get out of their comfort zone. This is the kind of risk taking play that toddlers need.

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You Know You Have A Toddler When¿
You Know You Have A Toddler When¿
You Know You Have A Toddler When¿

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