Rules, Playgrounds and F-U-N !
Remember the days when going to the playground was a time when you bet who of the twenty schoolmates were going to come back hurt first? If you grew up before the nineties then you probably do. There were always two children who you just knew were going to go to the teacher and/or parent because they had hurt themselves in one way or another. Well times sure have changed immensely.
I am noticing more and more that on all the playgrounds I take my kids to there are safety signs all over. On the swing set there is a sign, on the merry go round, next to the tire that is half buried in the sand. On any given website you go to for playground safety, there are a dozen rules that must always be followed. Always supervise, never leave unattended, wear proper attire, never stand up to swing, never play on wet equipment and so on. These are just a few of the playground rules that industry professionals recommended. It takes me back to my childhood and I try to remember was there ever a fear in me to go play on the playground with my friends? No, there was not. It was just pure fun, but now in the times we live in most people feel the need to bombard the “fun times” with rules.
How many people read the rules? If you do not work in the playground, school, or daycare industry I am guessing you do not pay attention to this. I would love to send my children out and play as carefree as I did, but that is not the world we live in now. Not only are we worried about “stranger danger”, but we are worried about splinter, sprains, bumps and bruises.
These injuries are not always directly related to playground pieces, they are also related to how the children play. The children want to go to a playground and lose themselves to imagination and lose sight of the “be careful rules”. They want to imagine they are a train conductor going across the country, a fire chief saving the day or a cowboy roaming the wild west.
How much fun can the children have going outside to play if they must be worried about what they can and cannot do 100% of the time. No wonder our children prefer to stay inside to exercise their thumbs with a video game rather than go outside to play.
Safety signs necessary for the playground but imagination, friendship, exercise, and just plain fun are always the best. Parents, teachers and friends, be mindful of what your children are doing but most of all let them be children and let them have fun!