Would You Send Your Kid To An ‘Adventure Camp?’
If you're in the camp of parents who think our kids have too safe, sanitized childhoods low on outdoor time and high on screen time -- enrolling your child in an "adventure camp" might be what you're looking for.
So-called adventure camps pride themselves on being extremely hands-on -- some camps allowing children loosely supervised access to power tools, allowing them to get as dirty as they want, and explore being a kid 1980's-style.
An article in The Atlantic describes one of these playgrounds like this: "If a 10-year-old lit a fire at an American playground, someone would call the police and the kid would be taken for counseling. At the [playground], spontaneous fires are a frequent occurrence. The park is staffed by professionally trained “playworkers,” who keep a close eye on the kids but don’t intervene all that much."
This stance is echoed by many, explaining that developing a sense of risk and danger during play, is critical to appropriate risk-assessment as adults.
"Developmental psychologist Peter Gray notes the importance of fostering resilience through free-play: “Children are designed by nature to teach themselves emotional resilience by playing in risky, emotion-inducing ways. We deprive children of free, risky play, ostensibly to protect them from danger. In the long run, we endanger them far more by preventing such play than by allowing it. And, we deprive them of fun.” - "No Parents Allowed: Kids Explore, Take Risks at Junkyard Playgrounds" TocaBoca.com
If you're interested in sending your child to an adventure playground, there's one about 2 and a half hours away in Ithaca, NY. The Hands-On Nature Anarchy Zone is described on their website as inviting "visitors to take it to the next level and dig for worms, play with water, sand, and clay, build forts out of straw bales and stumps, climb trees, and more — and in the process get muddy, wet, and dirty while exploring their connection to nature."
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