Scouting about risky play: ‘We have been doing what they say for years’

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Children should play more risky from the age of five, says SafetyNL. No fewer than 79 percent of parents would like that, but in practice this does not happen. The caution of the parents spreads to the children, who also become frightened and insecure.

At Scouting Nederland they are happy that  this topic comes to attention. “What they say is what we have been doing for years,” says spokesperson Wendy van Rossum. “Doing challenging activities in a safe way and discovering everything yourself, that gives children self-confidence.”

‘Food from nature’

“Playing in the mud, eating from nature, climbing the highest tree, lighting a fire or learning how to handle a pocket knife or ax are activities that children are offered at a young age in scouting. They learn how to do this can do in a safe way, both of the other children and the guidance”, the organization writes on their website.

Children not only become handy from these activities. “They become self-reliant and also develop themselves on a personal level,” says the spokesperson. “With us, children always take a step more between the ages of five and 21. Between the ages of five and seven, for example, we look at how a pocket knife works with managers. Between the ages of seven and eleven they can practice safely themselves and then they really go for it themselves. After the age of eighteen, everything is unaccompanied.”

‘Blue spot not bad’

And a wound or a scratch, according to the organization, that is not a problem at all: “If you provide a safe setting in which the children can play and discover for themselves, then getting dirty and sometimes a bruise is not a problem, because it symbolizes that the child has gained a new learning experience.”

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