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New Playgrounds Are Safe—and That's Why Nobody Uses Them (More Nanny State Unintended Consequences)
The Atlantic ^ | Feb 1 2012 | The Atlantic

Posted on 02/02/2012 7:15:24 PM PST by DogByte6RER

New Playgrounds Are Safe—and That's Why Nobody Uses Them

A Safe and Boring Playground

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 ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: biggovernment; boring; childhood; culturewar; forthechildren; helicopterparents; junglegym; liberalism; multicult; nannystate; pc; playgrounds; whatsucks; wimpy; wussification
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To: DogByte6RER

I learned that it is possible to bounce somebody off a teeter-totter if you get a firm grip, your feet on the ground and jerk the plank at the bottom of the downstroke.


51 posted on 02/02/2012 8:23:33 PM PST by elkfersupper ( Member of the Original Defiant Class)
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To: Mr Rogers

Whatever else could be said about the situation, she doubtless never forgot again to lean forward when her steed reared! Whoo boy. Glad she suffered no lasting harm beyond the cosmetic.


52 posted on 02/02/2012 8:27:46 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
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To: Alberta's Child
How sad. Not a single slide that is suitable for use as a downhill ramp for launching a shopping carriage packed with four kids.

NYC's street steps work well.

53 posted on 02/02/2012 8:28:48 PM PST by Alice in Wonderland
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To: NoGrayZone
The jungle gym we had as a kid, my dad made out of cast iron pipe. The school got one about 5 years later, we use to play Mad Monkey on it. Tag on a jungle gym, lots of jumping and leaping for the other side, no-one ever got hurt bad. After us kids grew up my dad gave our gym to the school where is was in use for 12 years before the school decided it was unsafe because the 1/4” bolts we used to double secure it had the threads exposed and some kids MIGHT get hurt.

And where the hell on that safe playground can ya have a real old fashion dirt-clod fight?

54 posted on 02/02/2012 8:28:59 PM PST by SledgeCS (I will vote for Obama when he says "The F'ing MUSLIMS attacked the USA and are the enemy")
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To: ThomasThomas

Oh man, that’s just awesome.


55 posted on 02/02/2012 8:29:10 PM PST by Free Vulcan (Election 2012 - America stands or falls. No more excuses. Get involved.)
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To: Mr Rogers

Oh, and did they have to shoot the horse? :-)


56 posted on 02/02/2012 8:29:10 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
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To: DogByte6RER

Years ago parents and community folks at our local school got together and put up a “Leathers” playground. It was fantatic! Heavy rope/telephone poles, etc. Then a kid got a splinter in his belly, and after enough whining from his yuppy mother and friends, they now have all this plastic CRAP. So glad my kids got to enjoy the old Leather’s playground.


57 posted on 02/02/2012 8:30:38 PM PST by EDINVA
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To: ThomasThomas

Across the street from our house when my boys were small was an unoccupied house with a driveway which went down a hill and around the back into the back yard. Merna Hill (don’t ask). I would let my kids go over there and ride their big wheels down that hill. One day they all came running because my youngest (3) was told by the older boys to stand at the bottom of the hill and throw his small big wheel at the other boys as the came around the corner. He knocked out the teeth of a neighbor boy. His parents were very nice about it. I made sure our insurance paid for this kid to have all the dental reconstruction he needed until they could do implants. He loved it. Used to pop his teeth out to show off. My youngest always felt bad about it though.


58 posted on 02/02/2012 8:31:55 PM PST by Mercat
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To: SledgeCS
because the 1/4” bolts we used to double secure it had the threads exposed and some kids MIGHT get hurt

How lame-@$$, can't even slip some rubber hose, put acorn nuts, or daub some tool handle dope on it?

59 posted on 02/02/2012 8:32:04 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

She said she later rode a lot of miles on that horse. Tough gal!


60 posted on 02/02/2012 8:32:06 PM PST by Mr Rogers ("they found themselves made strangers in their own country")
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To: cripplecreek
"I have learning scars from my youth and from what I’m seeing in the world around me, more kids need learning scars."

Yep. Had many a splinter in me bum from wooden teeter-totters. Mashed fingers from twisting up the chains on the swings. Oh, the stories I could tell...

61 posted on 02/02/2012 8:37:07 PM PST by redhead (, , , comedian)
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To: DogByte6RER

I think the sad thing is is most of it is brought about of fear from lawsuits of people if their kid gets hurt on government property. Our parents would not have sued if we got hurt, they’d just take us home and patch us up and maybe tell us to be more careful next time. Not people today who are always out looking for their next free meal ticket.

Of course there are plenty of people who are PC and promote zero-fun policies as well.

My old grade school isn’t far away from where I am. went in a few years ago and got a little tour of the changes. Went in to the old cafeteria/gym and was talking about how great it was playing dodge ball in there. The now female gym instructor says ‘we don’t play dodge ball anymore’. Too dangerous, and not everyone’s good at it. They don’t play kickball like we used to either. Again not everyone’s good at it. They just do ‘skills’ work, and running. Everyone can play soccer because even if you suck you’re just running around. Hard to tell if you suck at soccer because hardly any goals are scored anyway. Team skills. That’s what’s important now. They do real sports in junior high and high school. Supposedly.

I already knew I’d probably see this as I had already known for years how they were messing up gym in the elementary schools. I was one of those kids that sucked at gym most of the time because my eyes were bad, and I was able to be in a class a year ahead of my age so I was smaller. Still had good memories of stuff and there were times when I did okay. Dodge ball was still great. Even if you aren’t the best you can still get people out and you can still dodge balls, for awhile at least.


62 posted on 02/02/2012 8:38:37 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Mr Rogers

If you could have asked the horse, it probably would have said it was glad she was there to fall on :-)


63 posted on 02/02/2012 8:42:12 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
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To: SledgeCS

Easy enough to take a sabre saw to the exposed threads and make em flush with the nuts.

Then they’d probably bitch well the nuts are still sticking out. Just bubble wrap all the damn kids up then. Stupid libtards.


64 posted on 02/02/2012 8:44:33 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: DogByte6RER

Back in 1980 we had one of the worst ice storms I can remember. Right around 3 inches. My parents lived on a gravel road at the top of a 1/4 mile long hill at the bottom of which lived my aunt. The ice completely covered the road and I thought it’d be a good time to sled down it.

Never have went that fast on a sled again.


65 posted on 02/02/2012 8:47:51 PM PST by Free Vulcan (Election 2012 - America stands or falls. No more excuses. Get involved.)
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To: DogByte6RER

In many ways these libtards are robbing our children of being able to be children.

In the same way lame-ass parents who would sue at the drop of a hat rob our kids of being able to be kids too.


66 posted on 02/02/2012 8:48:02 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: DogByte6RER

This is not new. If you transported back 50 years you would see playgrounds were not used then either. Playgrounds have always been interesting for about half an hour then they are boring. Even with teatertotters.

We spent our times in the woods making forts.


67 posted on 02/02/2012 8:50:34 PM PST by DManA (to)
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To: DogByte6RER
Aaah, the good ol' days:


68 posted on 02/02/2012 8:57:03 PM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: DogByte6RER

In the same vein, I grew up in the town of Amherst, MA. Amherst college there happens to have God’s Own Sledding Hill, officially known as “Memorial Hill”. It’s sloped at about 30 degrees, starts at about 25 yards wide and ends at about 100 yards wide, is perfectly flat, and is about 100 yards long. The sole obstacle is a 24” drainage ditch at the bottom where the hill opens out onto the college playing fields. When I was a kid, the hill was open to all, and during the winter was the main destination for kids to sled. There were usually two well-packed tracks going down the center of the hill, and often some college kid would build a ramp off to one side (or even sometimes a small one on one of the tracks). The slog to get back up the hill was exhausting, but it was worth it for the ride down.

Shortly after I graduated high school, the college declared the hill to be closed, and would stop the usual weekend-day sledding festival, though people could still sled it on their own unofficially later in the day or evenings. A few years after that, I found that they had closed it completely, and the campus cops would patrol the area when there was snow, to prevent anyone from using it at all.


69 posted on 02/02/2012 9:05:47 PM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: DogByte6RER
I grew up in the '70s, in a world of tree rope swings, skinned knees, poison oak, hands and forearms red from catching footballs all day and falling on my butt trying to do wheelies on my bike. I honestly can't remember any kids with peanut allergies or ADHD back then - most of us were too busy playing.

The music was better, too.
70 posted on 02/02/2012 9:14:50 PM PST by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: christianhomeschoolmommaof3

Some local nanny called the cops on my 7 and 9 year old boys for climbing on the roofs of this type of “playground equipment”.


71 posted on 02/02/2012 9:20:29 PM PST by Yooper4Life (They all lie.)
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To: DogByte6RER

It’s an interesting theory, but I doubt it is correct. I had two kids, and they loved playing in these “gerbil cages” as you label them.

The reason kids don’t do anything anymore is that they can have all the fun they want without getting out of a chair. When I was young if we wanted to have fun, we went out, found some kids, and played together.

Now kids have the internet and video games. The games even allow them to talk to “friends” while playing, so it’s like they are socializing, but without moving their bodies at all.


72 posted on 02/02/2012 9:21:23 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: elkfersupper

Lol, we don’t need no stinking foward visability.


73 posted on 02/02/2012 9:22:02 PM PST by Lurkina.n.Learnin (The democratic party is the greatest cargo cult in history.)
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To: Yardstick
I was a camp counselor during My summers off from college in the mid to late 80's.It was about then they started pushing "new games"e.g. non competitive, no winners or losers. The motto was "play hard, play fair, nobody gets hurt".The kids, of course hated them. We hated them too, so much so that some of us had t shirts made up that said "play hard, play fair, TAKE NO PRISONERS!". The new games initiative was quietly dropped shortly thereafter.

CC

74 posted on 02/02/2012 9:22:36 PM PST by Celtic Conservative (Wisdom comes from experience. Experience comes from a lack of wisdom.)
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To: cripplecreek

I used to play swords in the street with big tree branches
at night no less it was awesome!


75 posted on 02/02/2012 9:23:31 PM PST by funfan (and his crew)
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To: MissH

I guess the helmets can make you look funny; much better to hit your head falling and die.


76 posted on 02/02/2012 9:23:50 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: mom4melody
Unfortunately, today’s children aren’t safe outside thanks to the perverts.

I'm not so sure that the percentage of perverts changed much over the last, say, ten thousand years (modulo cultural variations, like the ancient Greece.)

What did change, though, is the awareness of those crimes. If a kid anywhere in the USA is abducted then everyone else in the country instantly knows about it. This allows a dozen criminals to terrorize tens of millions of parents. However only a few decades ago the news would be only printed in the local newspaper, and hardly anyone - even in the next town - would know. People would feel safer. And in practice the chance of a kid to be abducted or otherwise hurt by a criminal are miniscule compared to other risks that growing up entails.

Yet another factor is access to children, which is getting easier as more and more people live in large cities. A hundred years ago if a stranger shows up in the village he will be noticed. Today if a stranger walks into Los Angeles ... do you think many people there will pay attention?

But, unfortunately, the old-fashioned decay of the society is also taking place. That's what most comments in this thread are about. The value of honest work, and the need to work, are being diluted by government's handouts. When people don't need to work for food they start getting other ideas, not always good ones. Why not if they are all set for life and have nothing to worry about.

77 posted on 02/02/2012 9:31:27 PM PST by Greysard
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To: DogByte6RER

“...and then the grownups started and they moved in......the monkey bars.....the monkey bars came in, we lost 124 kids on one day...”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rqv38fP7cr0


78 posted on 02/02/2012 9:37:21 PM PST by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

Yeah, because roller skating deaths are so common.


79 posted on 02/02/2012 9:37:42 PM PST by Yooper4Life (They all lie.)
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To: Dagnabitt

My kids were born in Japan, same kind of thing. The playground equipment on the U.S. bases was being replaced with the new pussy stuff from the states at the time, but off-base the Japanese still had good equipment in their parks.


80 posted on 02/02/2012 9:53:44 PM PST by GATOR NAVY
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To: DogByte6RER

I see a slide and then several gangways for walking. Is that what passes for playground equipment these days?


81 posted on 02/02/2012 10:05:16 PM PST by radiohead (Buy ammo, store food, pray for the Republic.)
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To: AnotherUnixGeek
"I grew up in the '70s, in a world of tree rope swings, skinned knees, poison oak, hands and forearms red from catching footballs all day and falling on my butt trying to do wheelies on my bike. I honestly can't remember any kids with peanut allergies or ADHD back then - most of us were too busy playing."

If you were a normal male child with a bicycle in the 1970s, at one point or another, you got hurt emulating Evil Knievel.

82 posted on 02/02/2012 10:06:33 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: KoRn

I grew up in the 70-80’s (born in 1969) and agree with you.

The “law-yahs” made all cities shudder against huge lawsuits.

In CA, my 5-year old must wear a helmet on his bike, or I face a fine.


83 posted on 02/02/2012 10:56:20 PM PST by wac3rd (Somewhere in Hell, Ted Kennedy snickers....)
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To: MediaMole

“If you never get hurt, you never learn from your mistakes.”

Profound. Deeply profound.

You, in one sentence show the danger of Liberal Utopianism. The Left tries to shelter everyone from hardship by moving the playground or the job or earning a living to not be at a price.

I think Conservatives understand that human nature is about risk, both body, mind and soul. We avoid pain as human beings (save those S & M freaks) but inevitably there is loss, death, disappointment and failure.

The Liberal lives in a perfect, soft-floored, slow-slide, no sharp edges playground, shielded from the pedophile that lurks in the adjacent street that they fought to not have “stigma”.

You learn by trying and not achieving, then figuring it out and perservering. Kids today are not allowed to fall and when life slams them post-HS or college, they have never know defeat or hardship, and cannot function.

Great observation.

Bravo.


84 posted on 02/02/2012 11:05:44 PM PST by wac3rd (Somewhere in Hell, Ted Kennedy snickers....)
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To: Alice in Wonderland

That looks like something Laurel and Hardy would pull a piano up...


85 posted on 02/02/2012 11:07:51 PM PST by decal (I'm not rude, I don't suffer fools is all.)
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To: concentric circles

We had one of those, too...North River Elementary, Mt. Solon, VA.

It was the last generation of America. Ted Kennedy’s Hart-Cellar Act hadn’t ruined the strongest, wealthiest and best nation in the country. 90% European, 10% black and other.

It’s all done. The lawyers and Liberals wrecked it.


86 posted on 02/02/2012 11:10:58 PM PST by wac3rd (Somewhere in Hell, Ted Kennedy snickers....)
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To: Georgia Girl 2

Tackle football, when the end zone was my granddad’s brick wall. Wonder how no one ever died, but we were careful going deep.


87 posted on 02/02/2012 11:12:20 PM PST by wac3rd (Somewhere in Hell, Ted Kennedy snickers....)
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To: Yardstick

The parachute stuff started in the 70’s. We did it on rainy days and it was a precursor to frisbee baaseball or dodgeball.


88 posted on 02/02/2012 11:14:06 PM PST by wac3rd (Somewhere in Hell, Ted Kennedy snickers....)
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To: DogByte6RER
Our gig was street football, on a two-lane farm-to-market road with bar ditches fulla rocks on both sides - don't run a wide-out unless you have long sleeves on.
89 posted on 02/02/2012 11:14:37 PM PST by decal (I'm not rude, I don't suffer fools is all.)
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin

I’m sure a sail of clear plastic sheeting would have ameliorated the problem but hey! the blanket was handy.


90 posted on 02/02/2012 11:27:01 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
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To: DogByte6RER
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.

Well we did that with the old school steep metal slides, so the new equipment is still safer.

91 posted on 02/03/2012 12:26:10 AM PST by Oztrich Boy
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To: KoRn

You know what happened in the 90’s?

More women were elected to offices at every level of government than ever before.

It’s when the hovering began.

Today, the only place a kid isn’t safe is in her mother’s womb. If he or she can make it past the labia in tact, they never have to worry about so much as a scuffed knee.

Every budding mother is an executioner.

Nothing in our culture is as overrated than modern motherhood.


92 posted on 02/03/2012 12:32:25 AM PST by RinaseaofDs (Does beheading qualify as 'breaking my back', in the Jeffersonian sense of the expression?)
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To: DemforBush

Habitrails for tots.


93 posted on 02/03/2012 12:34:56 AM PST by RinaseaofDs (Does beheading qualify as 'breaking my back', in the Jeffersonian sense of the expression?)
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To: wac3rd

Fourth, fifth and sixth grade recess at St. Catherine’s School - Smear the Queer.

One guy gets the ball on a blacktop playground. You tackle that guy, and he has to give up the ball to another guy.

Rinse and repeat.

Can’t play Smear the Queer anymore. In fact, you can’t even say ‘Smear the Queer’ any more without losing family and fortune.


94 posted on 02/03/2012 12:46:12 AM PST by RinaseaofDs (Does beheading qualify as 'breaking my back', in the Jeffersonian sense of the expression?)
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To: DogByte6RER
I didn't read the whole article.

However, I saw no mention of the most important factor for safe, fun-free playgrounds...

Lawsuits.

A kid gets injured?

Parents ring the cash register on anybody with deep pockets and a hint of liability.

95 posted on 02/03/2012 12:57:05 AM PST by zeestephen
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To: concentric circles
We had one of these babies at my elementary school playground many years ago.

You were soft

We has one of these

Lighter, faster, and only one point of support so you could combine a pendulum motion with the spin.

Less than a week to the first injury, so the teachers put a restriction on use

No riding where you could be caught between the platform and the ground/centre pole on the inswing

Teachers were such fussbiddys in those days

96 posted on 02/03/2012 1:15:22 AM PST by Oztrich Boy
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To: concentric circles

The one at my grade school (~1970) had a solid platform to the center. We used to play “King of the ____” (name of that thing eludes me - not a merrygoround, but...).

Anyway, spin it as fast as you could while pushing the other kids off and trying to stay on yourself.

One Monday we got to school and just an empty spot of dirt where it used to be. The Principal called about 6 of us guys in and said we were the reason it was gone because we played too rough with it.

I asked him if he would be pulling out the slides next, as we would now be forced to playing “King of the Slide” and tossing kids from the slide. (Yeah - one more time mom had to come down to school!).

I seem to recall another thing that they pulled out from our rough play - it may have been the teeter-todder.

When I took my kids to the park they were always the bain of the other parents. One park had a bunch of great big mud puddles off near the woods that my kids enjoyed. The kind that would suck a tennis shoe off. We figured the clothes would wash (and they would). And the kids had a ball. (And the other parents would have to grab their crying kids away as they didn’t let them play in the mud).

And they also liked to climb up to the top of those castles and ship structures and throw themselves off to me waiting to catch them. Although I did have to remind my son once in awhile to make sure I had placed his sister on the ground and was looking at him before he jumped!


97 posted on 02/03/2012 1:47:54 AM PST by 21twelve
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To: DogByte6RER

The grandkids’ school solved the kid to ground impact problem by putting down about 8 inches of tire chips. The surface is a little like playing on sand, but with ‘bounce’ and is very forgiving compared to the playgrounds of my youth. Considering the relative lack of skinned knees and torn clothes, it is a good deal. They can still fall, but are less likely to get hurt.


98 posted on 02/03/2012 2:30:30 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: DogByte6RER; TheOldLady
This is how WE rolled.




99 posted on 02/03/2012 2:37:48 AM PST by Lazamataz (Yes, I am THAT Conservative.)
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To: dandiegirl
If we fell, we fell. We said ouch, laughed at whomever fell and continued on. And if you got hurt, no one sued the school. We used to climb on the monkey bars and all the girls wore shorts under our dresses so our underwear wouldn’t show. It was a major accomplishment when we could go all the way across bar to bar with our hands.

Yep - if you came home with an injury, and it was determined you were not maimed for life, the real issue was whether the blood would come out of the clothing or if the tear could be sewed up.

100 posted on 02/03/2012 2:45:04 AM PST by trebb ("If a man will not work, he should not eat" From 2 Thes 3)
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