New Playground Equipment- dangerous, fun or both?

Thoughts on the New Playground Equipment at Exhibition Park – Dangerous, Fun or Both?

My family and I have been using the new playground at Exhibition Park since its opening in late November. I have one very cautious 8 year old and a somewhat fearless 4 year old. They both tackled this park from very different angles; one taking a few cautious steps at a time and often calling out to me while the other went right at it instructing me to catch her when she reached the top. Two very different confidence levels faced with the same goal – having FUN!

Many people have commented that they feel the new playground equipment is too dangerous and they don’t feel it is safe for the kids. But maybe we just need to look at this with a different frame of mind.

The new playground equipment at the park is intended to grow with the children and also appeal to kids of a broader age range. Kids can be encouraged to set their own limits based on their comfort level. Let them know it’s okay to play on the lowest log and stay there – they don’t have to go to the top the very first time. Watch for their cues and encourage them accordingly. Let’s think of the playground equipment as a long term goal for the kids (and parents and caregivers alike) rather than “must-conquer-this-now”. This might lead to a more pleasurable and relaxed experience at the park for all.

My always cautious 8 year old has now developed the confidence in herself to reach the top. She saw the obstacles and tackled them in her own time. Now that she has made it to the top a couple times, I no longer hear my name being called and she pushes herself to try different ways of using the logs to make it even more fun for her.  My 4 year old has no interest in the reaching the highest point; her thrill comes from climbing the net over and over and over. As an adult, I have been able to climb with them and see the playground from their point of view. I am currently still trying to conquer the top myself – haven’t quite built up my confidence yet. Although I hope to be able to reach the top by then end of the summer, I think I’ll just live through the kids’ experiences and maybe get some pointers from them as they become the experts in their own way.

Share your thoughts and concerns with us about the park. We’d love to hear from you!

Some interesting articles and opinions:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/darell-hammond/playgrounds_b_1452620.html

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/hey-parents-leave-those-kids-alone/358631/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/design/how-the-latest-playgrounds-are-making-childs-play-fun-again/article21456935/

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/science/19tierney.html?_r=0

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