Freedom, joy and wonder as existential categories of childhood: Reflections on experiences and memories of outdoor play
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. 2022, Artikkel 2066008. 10.1080/14729679.2022.2066008
This study conveys how young adults reflect upon their childhood experiences and memories of outdoor play, friluftsliv and outdoor places. Inspired by a phenomenological approach, we conducted walking interviews in nature areas where they used to play as children, revisiting the same informants and places as in a research project 14 years earlier. Today the respondents emphasise the experience of freedom encompassing joy, wonder and communication with surrounding nature and people, associating it with autonomy and self-determination. Joy, wonder and communication in someone’s experience are subjective existential categories often used to characterise friluftsliv in outdoor education. Personally meaningful to the young adults, these experiences have become important parts of who they are today. These results differ from previous research on outdoor play as it highlights freedom, joy and wonder. Based on this, we argue for facilitating self-directed outdoor play, and emphasize conscious choice of location for outdoor pedagogical work.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.