CC BY 2.0 jeff.g.moore You’ve heard about risky play. Camping brings together many of those elements. As a parent, I am simultaneously fascinated and unnerved by the concept of risky play . I know how good it is to let my kids engage with elements of danger, in order to learn their own limits and conquer phobias, but I can’t help feeling nervous about what could go wrong. (I wouldn’t be a normal parent if I didn’t!) There are six key elements to risky play, outlined in a 2007 study by Norwegian researcher Ellen Sandseter. They are: 1) playing with great heights, 2) playing with great speed, 3) playing with harmful tools, 4) playing near dangerous elements, 5) rough-and-tumble play, 6) playing where children can ‘disappear’ or get lost. My kids spend much time engaging with numbers 2 and 5 – wrestling each other wildly and racing around the neighborhood at top speed on bikes and scooters – but the other elements can be harder to find or recreate, especially since we live in an urban setting. So that is part of the reason why we go camping every year as a family, sometimes multiple times in a season. […]

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