From the classics of the 80s The Goonies” and “E.T. to some more recent productions such asSuper 8andStranger Things, kids are portrayed as explorers, setting off on an adventure into the wilderness of their neighbourhoods to discover what lies in store for them and their friends. These 80s classics can be said to have inspired and instilled a spirit of adventure in the young generation; awakening their imagination and curiosity to head out and create their own adventures and memories. With their epic journeys, treasure maps, booby traps, pirates, aliens, they made friendship bonds and challenging decisions which resulted in them embracing their adventures. Therefore they developed a sense of adventure by exploring the world of children, separated from the world of adults, because of their intrigue, curiosity and a sense of wonder.

Nowadays, our lives and free time are largely consumed with technology, social media and smart phones. This is definitely the case among a large proportion of young people and children. Glued to Instagram, Facebook, celebrities and the Xbox; what has happened to society´s get up and go sense of adventure? With limited television and computer access to keep them sat inside, for the mostpart, kids used to have to make their own fun and learn to entertain themselves. So, it´s not like the ´good old days´where you grab your bike and your bunch of mates and head off into the woods to explore and create your own adventures.

There are many factors which have contributed to this reduced sense of adventure. Among parents, technology seems to be a large factor, but also, what is known as a “cotton wool culture” has developed. An increase in the fear for children´s safety of playing out in the streets has largely become associated with traffic accidents and a general mistrust of people leading to more closed neighbourhoods. The “cotton wool culture” relates to the idea of over protection resulting in decline in freedom to play and explore due to an increase in wrapping children up in attempt to ensure their complete safety.

But to what extent is this healthy? Maybe in the past there wasn´t enough precautions taken with regards to health and safety, however, not is it changed to the other extreme? Scrapes, scratches, cuts and bruises are part of childhood. Ripping your clothes and getting them dirty is all part of the adventure and the exploration. Cuts become warrior marks that narrate your memories becoming part of your life story, while adventures give you the chance to face your fears. Children need to be able to grasp reality of the world when they are younger so that when they get older life is a little less daunting.

So is fear killing our spirit of adventure?

If a spirit of adventure is not instilled into children when they are young, and they are not faced with challenges and problems to solve, how will they come to face life in the real world. Kids need chances to explore and to take risks and it is important that they learn how to do that safely. Their curiosity and spirit of adventure should not be ignored, but nurtured.

Many people complain about that younger generations have developed an addiction to the indoors, so maybe they just need to be taught and shown how to adventure and explore to ignite their imagination. You should show them that getting dirty in the mud is fun, that rope swings on trees are meant to be swung on, and that bikes are there to ride out into the woods and discover. Everything should be aimed at developing a sense of imagination and allowing them to feel free rather than cooped up, both physically and mentally.

Some simple ways to have adventures with friends of family:

  • Camp in the back garden
  • Make a mud pie
  • Go on bike rides
  • Rock climbing
  • Surfing
  • Horseriding
  • Skateboarding
  • Hiking
  • Treasure hunts
  • Conkers
  • Rope swings

It´s about having experiences and making memories and friends. Your adventures don´t have to involve aliens and scavenger hunts for pirate treasure, but just a passion for life. We have to keep adventure alive because if not it will die out.

Some reasons to keep the spirit of adventure alive:

  • Adventure is a healthy way to express and deal with fears and worries.
  • It can aid you in decision-making and develop self-confidence.
  • Adventure can help  build resilience and develop an open spirit.

You can´t let fear of failure or worry of embarrassment steal the value that you can experience once you step outside of your comfort zone and try new things, face new challenges and set out on new discoveries and explorations.

Do you think the times have changed? Is the age of kids´spirit of adventure over?