Characteristics of risky play.

Sandseter, E. B. H.
Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 9(1), S. 3-21.


This study examines what makes children’s play risky, and it aims to find out on the basis of what characteristics it is possible to apply in assessing risky play. Risky play can generally be defined as exhilarating and exciting types of play, involving a risk of getting hurt. 


The study identifies two categories which influence risky play: The environmental conditions, characterised by the conditions of the playground, and the individual conditions, characterised by how the child is playing. A child’s willingness to take risks depends on the child’s subjective perception of the risks associated with the play in
question. Children and adults sometimes have very different perceptions of what games are risky and what surroundings are associated with risks. The study contributes to increased focus on children’s natural willingness to take risks in their play, and on what characterises risky play.


The study has a qualitative design and is based on observations, video footage and field notes.


Sandseter, E. B. H. (2009). Characteristics of risky play. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 9(1), S. 3-21.

Sandseter, E. B. H. (2009). Affordances for Risky Play in Preschool: The Importance of Features in the Play Environ-ment. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36(5), S.439-446.

Sandseter, E. B. H. (2009). Children’s Expressions of Exhilaration and Fear in Risky Play. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 10(2), S. 92-106.

Sandseter, E. B. H. (2009). Risky play and risk management in Norwegian Preschools – a Qualitative observational study. Safety science monitor, 13(1), S. 1-12.

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