Skidded knees, scabbed elbows and bumped heads were all normal parts of our childhood, but did you know that we were engaging in a type of learning experience called ‘adventure play’? Adventure play, also known as risky play, is defined as a challenging and thrilling form of play that involves a risk of physical injury. It is the kind of play that can create an opportunity to challenge and test kids’ limits and boundaries and learn about injury risk on their own.
Through this form of play, children can develop confidence whilst encouraging self-awareness about their own limitations. Currently, there has been great concern with the outdoors being less child friendly. However, the risk significantly outweighs the benefits children could gain through adventure play. Here are some adventure play ideas that your little ones will enjoy and learn from:
1. Climbing to the highest heights
I am sure we all remember the challenge and excitement of climbing trees! Pushing yourself to get to the highest point or swinging around to get to that difficult branch - the sense of confidence and accomplishment was unparalleled! Nowadays, treehouses built high up in the trees are rare and few as safety has become a major concern. There are alternative ways to mimic this experience either through modified treehouses or wall climbing. Climbing is an adventure play activity which has many benefits for a developing child. Kids have the natural instinct of being cautious when working with heights. When climbing, they learn to find stable areas to determine the best way to get to the top. It also helps in building their physical strength, problem solving skills and coordination. Even better, it helps build their resilience levels and create an ‘I can do it’ mentality – which will help them in later life. It is one of the best ways to get your kids off the screens and help them reconnect with nature and find their inner strength!
2. Crackling fires and marshmallows
With the nights finally starting to get chilly, why don’t you teach your children how to build a fire? Spark their curiosity in a safe environment and use this as the perfect opportunity to teach your child new skills. Whether it is orienting them about fire safety or basic survival and bushcraft skills – it is bound to be an exciting new experience! Teaching them to build a fire is a perfect learning experience where they can gain a sense of accomplishment whilst learning how to handle risks. It is also a brilliant activity for developing their motor skills and muscle memory! Make a fun activity out of it – why not roast marshmallows and make some S’mores?!
3. The need for speed
It was always an exciting day when we were able to go to the park as children. Whether it was whizzing down the slide or swinging high off the ground in the swing – it was always exhilarating! One of the most common forms of adventure play that carries on through adulthood is the need for speed. The traditional playground slide is a fantastic tool for providing speed in a safe and fun way. Children do not feel quite in control as they slide down, nor do they know how far they will land or how far they will shoot off the slide’s end. There are also various ways to go down the slide which cultivates creativity and decision making. Anybody tried sliding down head first? Most children love the danger and fear involved, and the sense of trust they need to place on an activity. Although there could be the possibility of the odd bump or scrape, this environment helps your child establish their boundaries and test their comfort levels. Playing at high speeds can also have an anti-phobic effect, helping kids become less afraid in other scenarios in their life!
Adventure play comes in many shapes and forms, but the objective remains the same. Kids learn so much about their own abilities and how the world works by getting them to engage in a bit of risk – just enough to challenge them without bringing them to harm. At Plum Play, we believe that active play is vital to a healthy and happy start in life! Whether it’s reaching the top of the mighty rock wall or swooping high into the sky on our swings, there’s a playset that can inspire children and encourage safe adventure play!