Risky Play(ground) Practice

A recent trip to a local playground reminded me of how much my perspective on acceptable playground play can differ from my other colleagues in the field. What I witnessed was a staff from another summer camp frequently requesting children to "reign in" their actions, from what I assume was a fear for the children's safety. Below are some examples of the scenarios, along with my thoughts.

Scenario #1: Child stands on swing seat

Staff: "Sit down! No standing on the swings."

My thoughts: The child was on an individual swing set and posed no risk to other children. By my estimate, the child appeared to be 8 or 9 years old and seemed perfectly confident, comfortable and in control of the swing. In fact, he wasn't even swinging, but merely standing on the seat, with both hands grasping the chains on either side. I asked in my own head, "how is this action any riskier than climbing any of the other structures on the rest of the playground?"

Verdict: Risk minimal. Let them play!

Scenario #2: Child shuffles up pole that supports swing set

Staff: "Get down. No climbing up the swings."

My thoughts: Why not?! The child was not in the way of any other participants, nor was he in the path of the swings. Again, the risk to this child climbing, or to those around him, was no greater than, say, climbing the monkey bars at the other end of the playground.

Verdict: Risk minimal. Let them play!

Scenario #3: Child climbs up side of playground structure

Staff: "Be careful..."

My thoughts: I've grown to hate this phrase. Why? Because it conveys NOTHING. First, will saying "be careful" change how the child is behaving? Doubtful. Do you think the child is actually trying to be careless hurt herself? Second, saying "be careful" doesn't tell the child what you want her to do. It conveys no direction. If you have an actual concern, simply prompt the child to think about the dangers (i.e. "if your foot slips, do you have a good grip with both hands?")

Verdict: Useless phrase. Let them play!

Let's be reminded of why we have playgrounds. Yes, the obvious reasons are for fun and physical activity. But playgrounds, or playing in general, are for exploring risk and developing skills! Of course we should set some limits to prevent major hazards from inflicting serious harm. But an exposure to reasonable risky play only serves to develop skills in our children, both in assessing and overcoming risks.

No risk? No reward!



Summer Daycamp Pro Tips

With a super fun and sunny start to daycamps this summer, the kids and leaders have been having a blast. The first week has flown by with a great variety of activities, from face painting and rocket building, to trips to playgrounds and waterparks, to some quality time just playing board games with friends.

The following are some Summer Daycamp Pro Tips to keep the summer rolling smoothly for children and parents alike:

  • Sunscreen and water bottle - Send it! The staff remind the children multiple times a day to apply sunscreen and drink water. Forgot to send sunscreen with your child? Just ask a leader to borrow some camp supply!
  • Water shoes - Dry or wet, it's important to keep your child's feet protected. Pack some footwear for waterparks or beaches.
  • Food safety - Is your child's lunch perishable? If so, stick an ice-pack in the lunch kit to keep things cool. Warm yogurt is gross!
  • Waitlists - If a desired daycamp is full, always get on the waitlist! You'd be surprised how much movement there is in the registration system.
  • Be on time - Please stick to the program times for which you have registered. It's not fair to the staff or other participants if you drop off early or pick up late. Having to give warnings or charge late fees are the least favourite tasks for the leaders!



Return of the Sun

Hi Jr OSC families!

Thank you all for doing your sun dances. It's paid off and Mr.Sun is back again!

The school year is almost over and here at OSC we are preparing for an amazing summer program!
Your little sunbeams will be getting lots of vitamin D from here on out. Please make sure to gear them up with water bottles, sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats!

Earlier this week, we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some of the new and hottest hair trends for Wacky Hair Day. We are so lucky to have the kids keeping us up to date with what is cool and hip.

There are lots of exciting events coming up, one of them being the OSC Family BBQ! The BBQ is a great way to celebrate the end to a great year with your children. There will be food, a slideshow, and even a revenge against the leaders event . Please bring food bank items to vote for which leaders will receive punishment! We really hope that all of you and your sunbeams are able to make it! Have a beautiful, sunny weekend!


Glove Monsters

Hello OSC families,

On Thursday, Mackenzie organized a creepy and creative art activity called glove monsters. From googly eyes, multi-coloured felts, buttons and sharpies, the kids eagerly started to decorate their monsters. They used brightly coloured toe socks and used stuffing to make their monster plush and 3D. With our supplies, the kids used their imagination and decorated these amazing and unique glove monsters. Some were scarier than others with sharp teeth and others were covered with colourful feathers and pom poms. No two monsters looked the same and the final products were oh so scary! The kids were so excited to show Mackenzie and me their completed monster. This was a great opportunity for them to express their artistic skills.

Until next time,

Sarah A

Baking up a storm!

In the kitchen for a special activity were Jason and a bunch of our expert bakers, making bread pudding. The kids were given different tasks at their table, pouring in ingredients, mixing the batter, and even a little bit of cleaning up. They were so excited to bake that we posted the recipe here in the blog. If anyone would like to make it at home, check out the recipe below!

6 slices day-old bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.

Happy Baking!

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