Dangerous Playgrounds – Delightful!
Remember the playgrounds of the past? If you were a kid in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s you probably remember the “steel” playgrounds at the park or at your school. Most included swings, metal slides, merry-go-rounds, teeter-totters, see-saws and lots of bars (monkey, uneven, arc ladder, etc). Schools had the most “colossal” sets with some equipment reaching more than 15 feet tall. You could swing at frightening heights, climb to incredible altitudes, and slide down the kahuna slides at lightening speeds. Ahhh – the memories!
With the fun and adventures came some risk. Colliding with friends or falling off the monkey bars – it wasn’t unusual for kids to sustain minor cuts, bloody noses, or even a broken bone. What did we learn from all of this? In a recent blog published in the Huffington Post – Dangerous Playgrounds Are Good For Your Kids, Darrell Hammond (CEO of KaBoom) writes:
“We all have a natural instinct to protect children from harm. It’s never fun to see a child hurt, even if it’s just a scraped knee. But on the other hand, children need to take on physical challenges to learn and grow, and scraped knees and other bumps and bruises teach them valuable lessons about their own limits.”
Today, playgrounds are colorful and very safe…definitely appealing to the youngest audiences. Unfortunately, older children are steering clear from these playgrounds. Some experts are concerned about ”injury-proof” playgrounds – asking questions like…”which hurt our children more? Playgrounds that bore them, or playgrounds that challenge and engage them?”
“We don’t give our kids enough credit. No child wants to fall off a jungle gym or slide. Accidents are an unfortunate fact of life, but to lower every last slide and jungle gym to a height that would only interest a toddler is doing our children a grave disservice.” Denise Brown, Manager of the Berkeley Adventure Playground.
Risk is important in the development of our children. Watch this video – The Benefits of Risk in Children’s Play.
Tell us about your playground experiences! What are your thoughts about a “safe” playground or an “adventurous” playground?