Today?s children?s playgrounds have evolved in the past 4 decades. Initially a few broken limbs and accidents caused the complete removal of play equipment that? caused? or ?allowed? the injuries to occur. For almost 20 years playgrounds were progressively reduced to remove ?danger?, which in fact had less to do with danger than fear of litigation.
Creative companies developed new materials in bright colours to heighten appeal to children. Playgrounds were set up in age group appropriate skills, with consideration to height or degree of difficulty.
Parents generally provide activities that are appropriate too their children?s developmental stage. This may not be age related, as unique individual children respond to challenge differently. Boys tend to be more adventurous, girls more willing to try new things when encouraged correctly.
Teachers and child carers have fought to have play, challenge and daring reinstated into the playground vocabulary. Local councils have in many instances provided high quality child-friendly activities in large, natural settings where available, or in small inner city spaces and indoor venues.
Many playgrounds are now family destinations, venues for birthdays or special occasions. The inclusion of sun or rain shelters, BBQs and entertaining, adventurous play equipment has seen such high demand for some facilities that bookings are required if holding a party or group activity.
Steel and plastic constructions have become the norm in many City of Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne. Gone is the asphalt and concrete, with carefully integrated architecture that blends totally natural landscapes into adventure areas that develop daring and challenge in children.
Wally Salinger is a Physical Education teacher who has worked to change school yards and playgrounds into engaging play spaces for students. He is passionate about using outdoor spaces as part of children?s education and out of school hours.