The power of outdoor play

June 24, 2024 BY

Participants have the choice of competing in the 100km individual or team relay or 50km events. Photo: SUPPLIED

Children need time to play; it’s defined as a fundamental right of the child.

It builds resilience, helps development and grows confidence.

Known for its impact on psychosocial development and physical growth benefits, outdoor play is freely chosen and intrinsically motivated. It connects children to the natural environment, builds life skills for navigating risk and promotes independence in thought and body.

At The Y Kids Go Bush, they provide diverse, inclusive opportunities for outdoor play and risky play across different ages and stages of childhood, starting with parent-supported bush playgroups and continuing with drop-off forest skills sessions for older children from age four and above through primary school. They provide a safe space, themes of learning and interest-based projects using natural materials, bushcraft and survivalism skills along with environmental education each week of term, following the child’s play and empowering them to get involved, try new things and create friendships.

At the Y, children are able to take risks in a controlled environment. Photos: SUPPLIED


Risky play is defined as thrilling and has a consequence.

It also provides an opportunity for challenges, exploring, choices and developmental skills including learning to manage risk and assess complex situations. This is especially valuable as children become independent.

The forest skills sessions are based on Forest School Philosophy and playworker principles using the Surf Coast bush as the play space.

Risky play at Kids Go Bush may involve:

Speed – swinging or running down a hill after a rolling tyre

Fire – cooking popcorn and fire lighting (it’s not as easy as it looks)

Height – tree climbing and self-made rope courses, and

Tools – using real tools to create and build.

The Y allows children to take risks in a controlled environment. Facilitators are on hand to support young people in making their own decisions on how they choose to participate, to feel safe emotionally and physically, as they negotiate new experiences, life skills development, group games, creative options and imaginative play.

By playing, creating, exploring, learning and trying again children can make mistakes and learn from them, embracing life and all its changes in the future.

July 3 – Bush Playgroup Adventure 9:30-11:30

July 5 – Forest Skills drop-off 9:30-3

July 10 – Forest Skills drop-off 9:30-3

July 12 – Bush Playgroup Adventure

Term 3 – Bush Playgroup programs – daily from July 13-19, 10-week term

Term 3 – Forest Skills drop-off programs – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from July 17-19, 10 week term (minimum number dependent).

Bookings are now open and can be found at ymcavic.venue360.me/public/events/homepage.

For further information, phone YMCA Anglesea Recreation Camp on 5263 1512, or head to their Facebook and Instagram @YMCA Kids Go Bush and @Anglesea Discovery Camp.