Spontaneous games: not so harmless

Every year, Markel receives camp claims for youth who are injured while participating in spontaneous games. These games range from wrestling, flashlight tag, slip-and-slide, basketball, Truth or Dare, and pillow fights. While spontaneous games help to make time go by and help create entertainment, they can result in severe injuries. A good risk management practice to help prevent these accidents involves implementing a policy that discourages spontaneous games unless they have been reviewed by either the camp director or at least three adult staff for safety rules, possible hazards, and indicators to stop the game.

Recommendations from Youth Sport and the Law can help strengthen a camp’s strategy for addressing spontaneous games.

  • Always put the safety and welfare of the participant first
  • Warn participants about the dangers and inherent risks of the activity
  • Teach proper technique and correct skills
  • Explain and demonstrate safety rules
  • Check facilities on a regular basis
  • Inspect equipment on a regular basis
  • Post warning signs in facilities explaining dangerous areas and proper behavior
  • Always supervise activities
  • Develop a plan in case of emergency
  • Never assume anything with children. Be prepared for the unexpected, and anticipate problems


Appenzeller, Tom. Youth Sport and the Law A Guide to Legal Issues. Durham, North Carolina. Carolina Academic Press. 2000
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