August 30, 2009

Destruction of Wood Playgrounds

I remember the joy I had running climbing and of course falling all over the large wood playground at the first house that my family lived in as a child. It was a huge structure, covering easily a hundred square feet and must have reached thirty feet high at the tops of some of the spires. I loved the ability to explore and climb anywhere I could, and a game of tag was filled with intense ducking and running through holes or quickly climbing to the next platform to escape. Even the smaller simpler wood playground at the second house had plenty of potential with climbing and swinging. However if you look around, these places are vanishing at an alarming rate! Where are the colossal playgrounds of old, I can't even find a picture of the one I played on as a kid!

Now everywhere you look you have cheap tiny plastic structures! While kids will find way to play on anything, these lame (safe?) replacements lack the creativity and imagination of true wood playgrounds that pushed the imaginations of past generations. Look below vs. above and just try to argue otherwise!

I can understand the desire to protect kids now a days, however there is no reason to protect them to the point that there is almost nothing left. Kids need to play and fall and hurt them selves, it is called growing and learning. My parents did it, I did it and if I have kids some day I want them to have the same chance to grow and play. (Hm, could this a source of the obvious lack of common sense in this upcoming generation...) Still ignoring the danger of gravity you still get the whole arsenic levels in wood debate, though it is a naturally occurring substance. (Via Wikipedia)"In addition to the inorganic forms mentioned above, arsenic also occurs in various organic forms in the environment. [15]" However, what I can not understand is why completely destroy what could be considered national treasures, when they could easily plan to slowly replace the "supposedly dangerous" pressure treated wood materials with newer recycled alternatives. Lets face it, plastic is not all that healthy either, but that is a debate that is going to rage on for some time. So school and town administrators, instead lets agree to compromise, if you are planing on removing a playground for what ever reason, you better at least replace it with an equal or better structure! Otherwise you have officially neglected each and every kid that will play on it.

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