Skip to comments.New Playgrounds Are Safe—and That's Why Nobody Uses Them (More Nanny State Unintended Consequences)
Posted on 02/02/2012 7:15:24 PM PST by DogByte6RER
New Playgrounds Are Safeand That's Why Nobody Uses Them
The problem with safety guidelines is that they make most playgrounds so uninteresting as to contribute to reduced physical activity.
Playgrounds don't look like they used to. Steep metal slides and wooden towers have given way to slow, plastic slides and carefully penned-in climbing contraptions. And forget about seesaws -- they're a thing of the past.
When kids are bored by unimaginative (read: safe) playground equipment, they're less active as a result, and with childhood obesity at epidemic proportions, that's a danger, too.
An interesting new investigation looks into this phenomenon. Researchers visited 34 daycare locations in suburbs and cities, including Head Starts, Montessori schools, YMCAs, and facilities at universities, corporations, and churches. Workers and parents were questioned about what they thought the main barriers to children's activity were. Injury concerns, financial constraints, and a wish to put academics first were among the chief reasons cited by parents and daycare employees for not encouraging more active play.
According to the study, the new, safer equipment often became boring because children mastered it so quickly. To make it more challenging, kids tended to improvise, walking up the slide the wrong way, or using supports as a climbing apparatus. Sometimes younger children were drawn to the older kids' equipment, presumably because it presented a more interesting set of challenges.
Lead author Kristen Copeland, a researcher at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, commented that some participants said that overly strict safety standards made much of the climbing equipment uninteresting, thus reducing children's physical activity.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
1. That may have been the last decade when most of the teachers were subject to the military draft. Aside from the morality and politics of compulsive military service, this "forced socialization" helped ensure that most adults had a maturity that is, frankly, quite lacking today.
2. That was also around the time when the combination of the growth of one-parent households and two-income families passed the critical tipping point of this country. As a result of this change, teachers basically became nothing more than day-care providers whose sole function was to "protect the children" while Dad and/or Mom went off to work somewhere.
Classic. I know them well. Thanks!
My favorite was "Asses Up."
Picture anywhere from 3 to a dozen kids on an asphalt parking lot or playground, with a brick wall (usually the side of the school building) on one side. Each kid is assigned a number from 1 up to however many kids are playing. Kid #1 throws a rubber ball against the wall, which Kid #2 is then obligated to catch when it bounces back at the group. Repeat this through the whole group and then start all over again . . . with Kid #1 coming next after the last kid has thrown the ball.
The game gets its name from what happens whenever a kid misses or drops the ball. When this happens, that kid runs up to the wall and leans against it spread-eagled like he's being patted down by a cop. The next kid in order after the one who missed or dropped the ball recovers it, and -- from wherever he is standing -- throws the ball at the kid leaning against the wall, in an attempt to hit him in the @ss (ideally), the back, the head, or wherever. LOL.
Do that for an hour every day and you'll have a neighborhood full of kids who will be Gold Glove baseball players by the time they get to high school.
I have accompanied my grandson to several playgrounds, including one of his favorites near my house. There are many children there on a busy day and most are having a great time. The fixtures are age developed and present physical as well as mental challenges.
As with all the world, some kids are dissatisfied and unhappy but the reason likely has nothing to do with the playground.
Safety considerations are paramount. A few bucks spent on a soft surface and design offer great rewards if there is a lawsuit. There are also rewards of fewer actual injuries.
The absence of certain fixtures is lamented by a writer who has not really studied the interaction of the kids and the fixtures. It is possible the playground he may have visited for a few minutes to take a picture and see what’s there was not well made and done on the cheap.
The writer is a typical ignorant J school clod
My daughter had a soccer game out of town in a park that also had a playground. They had a merry-go-round, and after the game, the whole team jumped on it. A couple of the girls fell off, but they survived. My daughter was disappointed that they didn’t play that team the following year, because she wanted to play on the merry-go-round again!
And all of that was on asphalt. Not only that, but we went out in the coldest of winter and deepest snow. That made it all the more fun. And I remember that the muddier it was, the more of a challenge to ride the merry-go-round with to see if you could stay on and not fall off in the mud while kids were working hard to spin it faster. Then we would take turns and we would spin and they would try to stay on. It seemed that all of them sloped downward toward the outside making it more of a challenge.
My how times have changed (and not necessarily for the better). In the early 60’s,we would play “murder ball” in gym class. The teacher would limit each “scrum” to five minutes. The basic object was to get the ball down to the other end. The only rule was no rules. You could do anything you wanted to anyone. There were some fights, but so what. This was in-class and “supervised”. I think the game taught all of us a lot about things. Only the guys participated.
I must have been about 10 or 12 when a pal and myself were riding bikes out to my grandmother’s. I heard a car coming up from behind and went into ‘stupid kid mode’. I figured I’d help out the driver by moving over into the other lane. He moved over too to go around. Bike was twisted and I got a chunk taken out of my elbow plus some other dings. The guy loaded up me, the bike and my buddy and delivered us to my grandmother’s. No ambulance, no lawsuits.
To this day I always take a quick look over my shoulder before moving into possible traffic, even in the grocery store!
So that was you ... spoilsport ...
When I was a kid we live on a street that had a really serious hill. The town would actually close the street to traffic (except residents, of course) so kids could use the street for sledding. It was NEVER plowed. Whenever a car showed up, the kids would move aside and then went right back to the business at hand.
On a snowy Saturday, there would easily be 100 kids or more out there from sunup to sundown. After dinner, we would go back out and sled by the streetlamps. That was better as it wasn’t as crowded.
We used to scrounge big cardboard cartons and fill them with kids to groom the slope for better speed.
The more adventurous kids would go back in the woods behind the houses and use a trail there, the only problem was the creek at the bottom. You made sure you made a quick turn at the bottom, or you got wet.
The people who lived on that street never complained, even the ones without kids.
It’s all different now, of course, with all the lawyers and people who bitch if their street isn’t plowed before the last flakes stop falling.
LOL! I have learning scars from my 20’s. My late 20’s, LOL!
Well, it’s no wonder that you’re so FReepin’ tough!
I remember our high school had a fire escape slide from the third floor during my first two years. It was removed when the admins found out we would use it as a play slide during the summer.
Unfortunately, todays children arent safe outside thanks to the perverts.
that is hysterical!
“Unfortunately, todays children arent safe outside thanks to the perverts. My kids are watched even in our backyard and a big pit bull stands guard.”
Depending on age, I think this can be overdone. The increased danger is as much a perception problem caused by news coverage as anything else. I know there were child molesters when I was in 2nd grade—and that was a long time ago. But it was handled firmly and quietly.
My 12 year old is going to get “how to schedule and ride the bus by yourself” lessons next year. He and Dad will take some trips around town together and go wherever he says to go. See how it comes out. Then turn him loose. He’s old enough and that is an important life skill—in addition to giving him some independence.
Yes. There are risks. But there are risks not doing it too.
“When in the 6th grade I tried a cool stunt, riding a bicycle hands free, that Id seen many a buddy do.”
I could get all the way to jr high school without hands (except when I had to stop).
My brother found out the hard way that flying over the handlebars could lead to a very painful personal injury. We still tease about the doctor cutting it off...