Fraught with frights or full of fun: perspectives of risky play among six-to-eight-year olds

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Hinchion, Sarah
McAuliffe, Ellen
Lynch, Helen
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Taylor & Francis
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Outdoor play provides children with unique opportunities to explore and expand their worlds, and to incorporate risk and challenge into play events. However, international research indicates that children are being exposed to fewer opportunities to engage in outdoor, risky play, while few studies have explored risky play among children aged six-to-eight years in differing cultural contexts. This qualitative study explored children’s perspectives and experiences of outdoor risky play in a rural Irish town. Ten children took part in focus groups, drawings, photography, a child-led tour of the local community and a map-making session. Three themes emerged; Risky play and me, my power to play and ‘sometimes it is kind of worth it!’. Findings suggest that risky play categories evolve as children age, and some new categories surfaced, including risky construction and breaking the rules. Further exploration of risky play is warranted to ascertain its characteristics more fully among this age group.
Outdoor play , Children , Nature , Participatory methods
Hinchion, S., McAuliffe, E. and Lynch, H. (2021) 'Fraught with frights or full of fun: perspectives of risky play among six-to-eight-year olds', European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, pp. 1-19. doi: 10.1080/1350293X.2021.1968460