Sunday, April 22, 2007

Modern playground equipment sucks

My local parks and schools continue to install bizarre new pieces of equipment that are more like works of art than somethings kids can actually play on. They're dangerous, prone to vandalism (plastic burns) and offer kids far less fun and exercize than old-fashioned swings, slides and monkey bars.

I'm sure the latest generation of playground equipment looks very appealing to whoever is in charge of buying this equipment. Bright colors, fancy accessories like climbing walls, etc. must look great in the catalogue.

I get informative letters and meeting announcements all the time asking for my input in important civic improvements like transit projects, but you never hear about new playground equipment being installed. You just show up with your kids one day and there it is. No way there's money in the budget to dig it up, ship it back and put something more fun and functional in.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

How would you prefer to see new playground equipment look? Like the stuff from the 60's and 70's? That stuff was so dangerous, most of it has been outlawed.

7:04 AM  
Blogger alphie said...


I think the main reason the old playground equipment was dangerous was because it was built over asphalt or concrete.

The new stuff is built over energy absorbing foot-deep pits of sawdust or rubber, but the designers have negated some of the safety gains from this by making their structures much higher than the old stuff.

It's hard to describe how non-functional some of these new play structures are. You really need to see one up close.

Monkey bars so high that only high school kids can reach them, for example. Or inverted rock climbing walls that would be a challenge to an experienced adult rock climber. Or giant animals made out of slick plastic with no hand holds at all.

Ideally, I'd like to see playground equipment that combined modern safety features with the functionality of the old stuff.

4:23 AM  

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