Where we live our children are blessed to play on the latest, newest, safest playground equipment. There are monkey rings and spider web climbers, zip lines, rock climbing walls, roller slides, and tons of fun play stuff. When we moved into our house five years ago the nearest playground at the grade school was undergoing a complete overhaul. Since then other parks in the area have been redone too.
I appreciate all this new equipment. I'm glad my kids can have the best of what's out there. But until this past weekend when they got to play on a hopelessly outdated playground at our campground, I didn't realize what they were missing.
Remember the merry-go-round? Not the carousel type with horses that go up and down. I'm talking about the circular platform with metal bars that is kid-powered. Or how about the seesaw/teeter totter, which is basically a wooden board with two handles that rests on a bar? Aside from the monkey bars those had been my favorite parts of our park when I was growing up. We'd play this game on the merry-go-round that involved trying to keep your balance while standing in the middle as the other kids spun like crazy. And I remember sitting endlessly on the seesaw, just floating up and down while a friend and I ate popsicles and chatted and played make-believe.
Those things no longer exist on modern playgrounds. They're considered dangerous. Oh heck, they are dangerous...but fun! Well, my kids got their first taste of a merry-go-round this weekend. And they learned about centrifugal force when their friends' dad showed them how to lean outward and then pull in to the center to speed up the rotation. And one of their friends learned the necessity of hanging on (at least I think he did, after being flung off more than once).
There weren't any seesaws there. But now I'm on the lookout for them. I've realized what I'm missing about our playgrounds. Never mind my kids, they're safer without these things. But me? I'm just yearning for another chance to float up and down on a seesaw while chatting with a friend -- and getting a good leg workout in the process.