I always wonder what the next wonderful new concept will be for playgrounds. Since the early 80s, I have looked forward to the new products playground manufacturers have developed. It’s almost like Christmas each year at the NRPA Exhibition Hall. I love to see the wonderful ideas that come out of our playground industry.
Since before you or I were born, sliding and swinging have been popular activities. These sensations are generations old. Climbing has always been very popular with youngsters and today it is even a fad among many children (and adults).
What new twist will climbing, swinging, and sliding have next?
What new ideas will come forth in San Antonio this year? When do the new catalogs come out? My favorite section of any playground catalog is the new products section!
Every year new names, new shapes, and new concepts are shown to us as forms of play equipment. Names like Nova, Play Pod, Kid Kubes, Mexico Forge, Durascape and Kid Kapsules have come and gone to be replaced by 21st-century names such as Little Buddies, Powerscape, Playbooster, Maxplay, Mega Tower and Play Designs. These playgrounds have individual activities that point the way to the greatest place for a kid to be. Take refuge in the Tree House, play Extreme Play, throw lighting from the Thunderhead Climber, or go to Mars on the Infinity Climber. Enjoy the Big Timber, and be careful of the Slither Slide. Too much fun!
Not enough parks!
Today’s playgrounds have even defined specialized play. If you’re six years old and are considering climbing Mount Everest when you’re older, go ahead and start practicing at your local park with Boulder, Rock Craft, Rock Blocks, Kid Rox, The Ridge, or Yosemite.
I’ve often thought it would be a great job to come up with names for play companies-- PlayCore, Playpower, PlayTime, PlayWorld; or even playground components--Wall Cano, Tuffy Truck, Honeycomb Climber, Sway Fun, or Wavy Wiggle Wall. If someone is paying for these names give me a call. That is my kind of career.
Technology is playing a bigger part with playgrounds in the beginning years of the 21st century. Today’s playground may include water in the definition of play. You may experience Aqua Pets, Splash Pads, Aqua Decks, and H20 or have a water fight with I-Spy Storm.
Looking for some noise at your park? Go ahead and step on Talkin’ Tot Turf, or pound on drums, ring chimes, clang bells, or yell into talk tubes.
Yes, today’s playgrounds are exciting, entertaining, diversified, and specialized. We can always be sure of new names, new products, and exciting new innovations in the playground industry, such as the glow-in-the-dark playground! What will they think of next?!