Jeremy and I have always been pretty relaxed about our kids taking risks. Jeremy's naturally an optimist and isn't prone to worry. I spent too many years running after-school programs and daycares to realize that no matter how much you my try to bubble wrap everything, kids will find a way to have an adventure. It's better for them to feel safe taking challenges in front of you than to feel the need to be sneaky. Besides, most accidents happen when kids aren't being risk-takers; when they think they are safe, then they let there guards down. Most of the accident reports I wrote were for kids shutting their hands in drawers/doors or walking into desk/walls.
This article, however, still got Jeremy and I thinking. We don't have an 'adventure playground' near our house but we do have several playgrounds and nature preserves in the area. We also have a yard (albeit small) where the kids can build things and be creative. I'm sad to admit that a lot of times, I restrict these activities, not because I'm scared they will get hurt, but because I don't want to deal with the mess. This summer, however, we have vowed to make things different - to encourage messy hands and dirty feet.
Last year we discovered a shallow little creek behind a playground near our house. The kids were dying to try to wade in it last year but I refused, "we don't know what's in there, you'll get all dirty, etc". This year, however, I decided to stay yes and the kids have had a blast!
We've been twice so far and there have no accidents. Things have gotten messy...
But it really wasn't that much work to clean up. It actually added to the fun.