Richmond Made A Playground Risky. Now Another Community Is Following Suit.

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Danger lurks in many places at the Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment in Richmond, B.C.

The so-called "million dollar playground" in the Vancouver suburb has a 10-metre-tall treehouse, a twisting slide, and 35-metre-long ziplines.

There are plenty of opportunities for kids to fall and hurt themselves — and one neighbouring community likes that idea so much, it wants to follow Richmond's lead, CTV News reported Monday.

richmond bc playground
A slide at Richmond's Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment. (Photo: City of Richmond)

The community of Delta, B.C. is looking at updating its Annieville playground with riskier equipment, after a public health expert told council that kids who play safe when they're young show more signs of depression and anxiety later in life.

The goal is "to raise a generation of kids that feel comfortable with trying new things and being creative and feel comfortable failing," UBC professor Mariana Brussoni told CTV.

Taking risks good for development

Learning how to handle risks teaches kids how to "protect themselves in challenging environments," according to University of Texas professor Joe Frost.

"The view that children must somehow be sheltered from all risks of injury is a common misconception of adults."

"The view that children must somehow be sheltered from all risks of injury is a common misconception of adults," he wrote in a 2006 paper.

Frost said that limiting kids' outdoor play can harm them later in life during an interview with the Journal of Play two years later.

"It limits their physical fitness, hurts their health, and reduces learning and the ability to cope with trauma," the professor said.

"Research shows that when children engage in free, spontaneous play outdoors, they adapt more readily to their culture, to society, and to the world. They build fine and gross motor skills. They learn to negotiate and solve problems. They stretch their imagination."

richmond adventure park
The Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment. (Photo: City of Richmond)

In Richmond, many parents — and their kids — have praised the Terra Nova park's unique (and somewhat risky) design.

"At the end of the day, you're never going to be able to protect your kids from everything that could happen to them," Levi Higgs, father to seven-year-old Lochlan, told CTV.

"You have to get them to learn for themselves how to handle themselves and be able to pick themselves up."

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