Sunday, June 20, 2010

Playgrounds Build Character

Early 21st century playgrounds are full of safe brightly colored play equipment. Slides, Swings and soft cushioned material should a child stumble or fall. The slopes of the slides are designed for a smooth glide. Swings set in dirt covered with wood chips with shavings progressively lighter, finer… nearly fluff. Shade trees strategically planted for a light canopy, shading children’s delicate skin from the harsh sun.

Overall the playground leaves visitors with a feeling of ease and splendor. Oh the joys of outdoor time.

Contrast that with playgrounds of the 1960s-70s. Those playgrounds built character. Ten feet steel sheets at a sixty degree angle, stairs, no, ladder, no… those playground designers of yore made sure they welded a solid steel bar along the three upper sides of the perimeter so kids could pull themselves up to the top. Swings made of hard rubber attached to fifteen foot chains with the frame embedded in black top or concrete for durability. Blacktop on a summer day was an experience unto itself. Kids could watch the sizzling heat create vapors mirages of puddles across the playground. Run at your own risk because a fall would mean blacktop gravel burned and embedded in bloody wounds on knees and elbows.

Overall the playground left an entire generation wounded warriors before the end of elementary school. Oh the joys of outdoor time.


Nicole said...

*sigh* I miss the old style playgrounds

Kate OMara said...

Yes Nicole... me too ;)