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longgone's avatar

What special feature would you include in your design of an exciting playground?

Asked by longgone (16076points) 1 month ago

There’s a new playground close to my house. It was designed with input by children – the experts on adventure, you would think. However, it seems very tame and there are hardly ever any kids on it. It has just one swing and then a fairly high tower with a slide, plus some balance bars and a water pump that creates a tiny “stream”.

I can’t help but think the children were not really all that involved. I know that when I was a kid, my playground designs would have included underground tunnels and caves. Water features would not be trickling, but dousing you at unpredictable times. There would be a maze, a giant treehouse, and countless hiding spots. Aren’t jump scares part of most playground games?

An example of a playground I loved is this one. Plastic volcano with inbuilt pool and tons of secret passages and caves underneath. The design made clear you were in a dangerous area (there were even plastic streams of lava), and it inspired extremely wild games.

What about you? What playgrounds did you love, and what was missing?

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16 Answers

LostInParadise's avatar

One of my neighbors has a large enclosed trampoline in their front yard that I have seen several kids using at the same time. One nice feature is that it encourages socialization.

ragingloli's avatar

A Takeshi’s Castle style obstacle course with automatic nerf gun turrets.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I would add plastic culvert pipes in various diameters. They could be elevated on a bed of gravel so they don’t flood and water does not pool inside. They can be bolted together at different angles so the passages are interesting and can be reconfigured easily.

I have several pipes in my woods that are used as shelters and dens by different critters throughout the year. I’m sure they appreciate it.

JLeslie's avatar

When I was a kid I loved the merry-go-round.

Also, swings and slides. I liked the see-saw too, but the old fashioned kind are fairly dangerous to get onto, and the newer safer ones aren’t very fun.

When I moved to Maryland the schools only had monkey barks. That’s it, nothing else. I couldn’t believe it. I was so disappointed. I climbed the bars too, but I missed the other fun things to play on.

Edit: I was just remembering that we not only had traditional swings, but tire swings too. The tires were horizontal with three chains holding it in place. We would sit and stand on the tires and swing. It was great. Also, we could climb to the top of a wall, basically like a wall of ladders, and then we would straddle the top like a balance beam and do patty cakes. It seemed very high up when I was a little kid, I don’t know how high it was. My elementary school in New York had an awesome playground.

gorillapaws's avatar

I would go for an Ewok tree-village/Swiss-Family-Robinson type of design with a network of several artificial tree “towers” interconnected with rope bridges and safety cargo nets on the sides. This would include a slide that spiraled around the “tree” and some climbing wall features.

JLeslie's avatar

I just asked on Facebook if anyone has photos of my elementary’s playgrounds (there were 3) during the 70’s. I’m so excited! I hope somebody does.

Inspired_2write's avatar

My “playground” was natures outdoors.
Didn’t have a playground as such when growing up as we were all encouraged to go outside and make our own fun.

ragingloli's avatar

Maybe a wolf-den with a small pack inside.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Metal bars with asphalt and/or gravel. A playground just isn’t a playground if the threat of serious injury, even death, is present.

Zaku's avatar

I most like ones where there’s some aspect of exploration, or it looks like it would be fun to go all over it. So different pathways and elevations, bridges, things you could climb on, slides, ladders, stairs, places to hide and discover. Different textures can be good… if dogs aren’t allowed… wood chip and sand areas can be good.

For me and my friends, what made a playground best was usually when it inspired the imagination and seemed mysterious or would inspire make-believe or mysteries or other investigations.

For example, THIS would be fun to play make-believe rocket-ship with.

Good places to play tag, chase, hide & seek, war, etc. are good too. To have fun chasing each other around, you need various intersections and passageways and different types of terrain to run and climb around.

Playground dragon: Looks cool to me, and like it inspired those kids to explore it looking for fun… but that they might be now wondering where the actual fun is, and if there isn’t something else fun to do with it. Looks like it needs more around it, like towers, bridges, tunnels, and/or maze-like passages.

Playground in St. Edward’s Park:

Also important, I feel, is an overall message of, “this is a wonderful place for kids to be let loose to freely explore, discover, and invent ways to play in”. As opposed to some playground designs that feel like they were designed only for certain activities designed and approved by adults, designed so all children should be observable at all times, and so that fearful adults’ notions of what’s dangerous will be put at ease. Those make my skin crawl.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Spray parks are replacing expensive pools in our area. The kids love them and they’re safe plus you can keep adding or swapping features.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

A trebuchet aimed at a pond. :)

raum's avatar

One of my favourite local parks is Adventure Playground in Berkeley.

Kids get hammer and nails. There’s wood for them to build whatever they want. Or they can choose paint to decorate the awesome structures that the kids build. (Adult volunteer workers go around shoring up the kids creations.)

There’s a zip line. You climb up a little tower and land in a bunch of dirt.

There’s random stuff like old pianos. Giant tires that the kids get into and get pushed down the hill in.

It’s a constantly changing playscape. It’s pretty magical.

raum's avatar

Aquatic parks are a ton of fun too. There’s one with a giant bucket that fills up and dumps all the water into this shallow water area with slides and water guns too.

Gargarian's avatar

Sherbourne common is a park near me; they have some low key but interesting playground equipment, tether balls and small balance beams and an outdoor skating track. I think less is more sometimes.

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