favorite blog of mine I had written (with help from Amy!) about why I think allowing danger in the lives of infants and toddlers is so important. I had spent the majority of that spring and summer, minus my maternity leave, watching the boys creep, run and crawl around up and down the hill in our front yard. It was amazing sight, especially with the added obstacle of sharing outside space with the preschoolers.
Now at almost a year later it is a joy to watch the boys continue to use the front hill in their motives for activity and challenge. Everyone is a confident walker at this point, so they choose to use the hill for their bikes. Like I said in my favorite T navigates the changes in terrain, finding ways to always make it work. This is problem solving when he lifts the bike as he goes across the grass and pumping hard with his feet on the asphalt, skills that will continuously build and be used in so many ways as he grows. The sense of confidence in his ability that SC shows as he quickly goes down the stairs in his bike, calls back to when he was first crawling down them. GH scoots quickly by at the end, sharing in the joy of the moment with his friends, and later tries out the hill himself. Even though his truck will not cooperate with the grass, he keeps trying to go, even trying different angles, and eventually realizing that the asphalt is the best place for the truck.
By giving the children the gift of a challenge, they are able to master their body and its relationship to this potentially dangerous environment. The result I have seen are children who are able to be confident and happy as they play with all aspects of their world.