Friday, July 3, 2009


What I really would like is a playground for adults. I took my kids to the mall yesterday and while they were playing on the playland stuff, I had some thoughts.

First, boy do they have it easy. All of the equipment was foam padded and antibacterial (the signs even proclaimed it. The floor had some sort of shock absorbing material under it so that if somebody decided to jump off of the highest toy, they wouldn't get hurt at all. Not only that, all of the shapes were cool: books stacked to make a slide, a pile of fruit with a slide, an ambulance with a tunnel through the back wheels and a slide.

Contrast this to when I was growing up. At my elementary school, the playground was covered with about a foot of pea sized gravel. When you fell off of something you were going to draw blood. The equipment was all metal and wood. Not only that, all of the bolting materials weren't covered up, so if you snagged one, you were drawing blood. Coming out to recess on a sunny day could give you a burn if you were wearing shorts and decided to go down the slide. Then there was the 20 ft poles that you could climb (which we routinely climbed and then jumped off, guess what, kids drew blood this way too). Basically, the school playground was designed to maim and injure, yet somehow, we all survived. (I remember seeing plenty of blood, but no deaths).

We have made much in the way of technological advances since then. Gravel has been replaced by wood chips, which was replaced by ground up tires. Equipment when from bare metal and wood, to plastic coated, to plastic extrusions, to foam filled plastic with anti-bacterial stuff embedded in it. We do our darnedest to make our kids save and they find ways to foil us (read the post about my daughter's fingernail).

Second, while sitting there, I was reminded of some late nights in college when several of my friends would get together and play tag on the playground of one of the apartment complexes. If you were "it" you could go anywhere. If you weren't you couldn't have your feet touching the ground for more than 2 seconds. There were lots of acrobatics going on, and I think in all the times we played only one person sprained their ankle.

As I sat there watching my kids, I couldn't help but think how fun that would be for me if it was scaled up. Think about all of the crazy contortions you might be able to try on some foam jungle gym equipment with a shock absorbent floor! Adults are fun when we revert back and act like kids. It takes away the stress of the real world for a while.

1 comment:

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