playground post of the day
Byzantium's Shores has an excellent rant dissenting from a CBS News story that says modern playgrounds are too safety-oriented to be any fun.
I echo Jaquandor's rejection of that premise. Growing up near Central Park in Louisville, Kentucky, my brother, sister, friends and myself played on a large wooden playground set, complete with tire swing (since dismantled), monkey bars and rusting, exposed bolts. The big wooden playset -- it's still there -- made an excellent play fort, and we had loads of fun, but it was hardly the safest structure in the world. (We were also forunate in that kids got more-or-less free run of the Shakespeare in the Park set during the off-season; with its multiple levels, balconies, and rough plywood construction, it's a miracle none of us broke a limb playing on that sucker).
Today, near the old wooden playground, there's one of those modern, plastic-and-steel structures. Also, the nearby University of Louisville has an enormous public playground with several massive structures, and of course, we live near a couple of parks offering more of the same. Frankly, The Girls and I just love them. They're actually very well designed -- they give plenty of opportunities for climbing, sliding, crawling through tunnels, and exercising gross motor skills. And since they're modular, they offer lots of different spaces for kids to carry their short attention spans around.
What I found interesting about the article is that, apparently, despite advances in design and the replacement of asphalt with rubber surfaces made, if memory serves me right, from recycled tires, injuries have not really subsided all that much. But that isn't too surprising, after all -- on the one hand, playgrounds are intended for kids to practice their motor skills, which means mishaps will happen, and their very nature means that if kids want to figure a way to fall off of it, they will.
By the way, Jaquandor reports a dearth of freelance income at present. I owe Jaquandor an email with some tips, which I'll send along later today; if either of my readers know of any freelance writing or editing opportunities, please send word over there as well.