Climbing trees, playing with knives, building fires and getting lost are critical to child development but kids are so rarely being allowed to do such things these days. Without free and risky play, kid’s sensory, motor and balance systems may not develop properly and they may not develop the confidence, resilience and problem solving skills they need to thrive in their later years. The epidemic of anxiety in our adolescents as well as extreme risk taking in these vulnerable years may also be related to the decline of risky outdoor play in early childhood.
Judy Klein is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the UCSF-ZSFG Department of Emergency Medicine. She holds a BA and BS in American Studies and Biology from Stanford University and an MD from the University of California, San Francisco. She trained in both pediatrics and emergency medicine but her primary interest is in the importance of nature and risky play in nature to the physical and psychological health of children. She runs nature clubs for kids and teaches wilderness medicine and survival skills to people of all ages. She is an avid mountain biker, snowboarder, kitesurfer, mother to an energetic 8 year old, and lover of all things that happen deep in the wilderness.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx