Drawing on data from Peru, this article explores how poverty mediates diverse risks in rural children's lives. It offers four main arguments. First, risk is not simply a feature of ‘extraordinary’ childhoods, but integral to everyday, ‘ordinary’ lives. Second, children's responses to adversity are crucially shaped by sociomoral considerations. Third, children participate actively in household risk mitigation, their engagement structured by individual (biographical) and collective factors. Fourth, changing circumstances present new opportunities and challenges for children living with adversity. Current approaches focusing on so-called ‘objective’ risks neglect children's own priorities and subjective experiences.