Ninja warrior girl is physical literacy in action

Ninja warrior girl is physical literacy in action

At age five, Lylah MacCall of Boulder, Colorado is a poster-child for physical literacy.

Have you seen her father’s home video (below) from September 2016? In the video, she traverses a backyard obstacle course that her father built for her in the style of the NBC television program American Ninja Warrior.

The beauty of this video is how it showcases both the benefits of adventurous play and the tremendous potential that our children have for mastering movement. As she leaps, climbs, and swings her way through the obstacle course, Lylah demonstrates superlative agility, balance, and coordination — as well as joy and confidence.

When this video of Lylah went viral in the autumn of 2016, it generated a lot of discussion among parents. Some praised the father for building the obstacle course and encouraging his daughter, while some others criticized him for — in their minds — putting his daughter’s safety at risk.

Managing risk is one of the keys to good parenting. As parents, we should know our children and their limitations. However, we also need to appreciate that their “limitations” can and do change based on their learning and experience in the world. An important part of that world is adventurous play.

It’s clear that Lylah already has a high degree of physical literacy. She has no doubt developed her skills and confidence by challenging herself in her backyard play. We can guess that she probably also got a few scrapes and bruises in the process — maybe even one or two sprains — but it obviously hasn’t diminished her enthusiasm and confidence.

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