Here’s a seasonal activity for you, with a hint – or more than a hint – of adventure: leaf-pile-diving.
That is one big pile of leaves, and those are some pretty adventurous dives. But the nice thing about leaf-diving is that it can be up-and-down-scaled, depending on the amount of leaves about, and the size and appetite for risk of the participants.
I have modest experience of the pursuit myself. Here’s the evidence (recorded exactly four years ago, in one of my local parks):
This pile – which took a couple of minutes to build – consisted mainly of leaves from London Plane trees. These are particularly large, firm, and crunchy. As a result, they have great impact absorbing qualities – plus they make a very satisfying sound when you land. I can recommend them.
In case you think this is all a bit adult-centric, I can confirm that my daughter has also enjoyed leaf diving:
Though I must confess I’d be a little nervious about letting her somersault off the top of a house. In fact, I’d be nervous about doing that myself, and so should anyone. But hey, some people get their kicks from leaping off rope swings into watering holes. Others get theirs from wearing weird suits and swooping through the air along mountainsides (those with no head for heights should look away now):
When people take part in risky activities, they can get things wrong – sometimes, catastrophically wrong. But what is the alternative to allowing people to make their own choices about the risks they take (so long as they are not illegal and don’t endanger others)? If we place any value at all in personal autonomy and freedom of action, then we have to give people that choice.
Indeed it is vital that we allow people that choice. We all have our risk thermostats. And finding out our personal risk thermostat setting is a very useful thing to know. What is more, no-one else can tell us where our own setting is. The only way we can find out is by taking risks, and learning for ourselves.
This goes for children, as for adults. Of course, children generally have less experience of the world, and of their own capabilities. So we do not expect them to take the same degree of responsibility as adults. But even young children need to learn their risk thermostat setting. Because one day, they won’t have any adults around to make the decisions for them. As someone once said to me about their teenage son: “I don’t want his first experience of managing risks to be when he gets behind the wheel of a car.”
Credits: Pop-up adventure play (for sharing the first video); My partner Kay (camera-person for the second vide0).