This all depends on your perspective of this multi-faceted place. What’s your point of view? I want to be a child today and have what they have. I don’t know how many times I have said “We didn’t have that when I was a kid.” We played Planet of the Apes on the older-styled monkey bars, and I was always captured and never got to win. There was one little boy who was always the "leader ape" and he always got to make the laws we " other apes" would play by, which was really ok with us too. We didn’t seem to care and sort of fed off of each other’s ideas as we played.
I know we had real rules too, but we sometimes didn’t follow them. Hard to believe. Our teachers seemed to always be trying to reform our playground ways for safety concerns. Still, the playground was whatever we wanted it to be. If we wanted a moat filled with alligators around the merry-go-round, done. If we wanted our swings to be airplanes, so be it. It’s all about perspective.
For a lot of children, the playground is a place to pretend to be the world’s greatest superhero and have a good time with friends. The aforementioned examples aren't even the tip of the iceberg of ideas we had for play, and they aren't for today's children either. Children are able to explore their imagination and come up with new ideas on the playground all the time as they grow and develop, probably unknowingly.
For the caregiver the playground could be a change from every day activities, or hopefully it IS an every day activity with a twist each day.
For the parent the playground can be a place to go with the family and reconnect after a long day at work…or maybe even a field trip for the stay-at-home parent. Adults can have a lot of fun on the playground with children, just pushing them on the swings.
For the teacher the playground could be a place for sort of a break and, more importantly, a place for children to shake out the wiggles before they return to the classroom for the next segment of the school day. Children are able to get out and burn off some energy, use their imagination and maybe unknowingly regroup so they can refocus themselves on learning in the classroom again.
For the manufacturers, the playground must create some satisfaction, knowing they are contributing to a safe place that helps children grow and develop in a positive way.
Nonprofit organizations might see the playground as a learning ground. They can see the benefits of the playground and are always trying to educate the end user and supervisors how to play safe and get the most out of the playground experience.
For the doctor, the playground might seem a nemesis. Approximately 200,000 children are injured each year on playgrounds. Not to cast a negative spin, but it helps put the need for safety into perspective. That doesn’t mean playgrounds should be done away with. In fact, that should drive us to continually strive to design and create even more safe play structures while in the mode of innovation. Safety is a big concern for all, and that is constantly addressed with the products being made today.
I think congratulations are in order to all helping make the playground what it is today. There is a continual effort being made by all involved in the industry.
Can we outgrow such a place? I think not. There seems to be a way for most everyone to be involved in play. A playground is the place to be, no matter how old you are! If you haven't been out in a while, it’s time to get out and find your own perspective.
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