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A playground or play area place with a specific design for children be able to play there. It may be indoors but is typically outdoors, and when it is the latter, it may be occasionally referred to as a tot lot by some people or in some regions.
Modern playgrounds often have recreational equipment such as the see-saw, merry-go-round, swingset, slide, jungle gym, chin-up bars, sandbox, spring rider, monkey bars, overhead ladder, trapeze rings, playhouses, and mazes, many of which help children develop physical coordination, strength, and flexibility, as well as providing recreation and enjoyment. Common in modern playgrounds are "play structures" that link many different pieces of equipment.
"Public" playground equipment refers to equipment intended for use in the play areas of parks, schools, child care facilities, institutions, multiple family dwellings, restaurants, resorts, and recreational developments, and other areas of public use.
A type of playground called a playscape is designed to provide a safe environment for play in a natural setting.
Recognizing the need for such, former President Theodore Roosevelt stated in 1907,
- City streets are unsatisfactory playgrounds for children because of the danger, because most good games are against the law, because they are too hot in summer, and because in crowded sections of the city they are apt to be schools of crime. Neither do small back yards nor ornamental grass plots meet the needs of any but the very small children. Older children who would play vigorous games must have places especially set aside for them; and, since play is a fundamental need, playgrounds should be provided for every child as much as schools. This means that they must be distributed over the cities in such a way as to be within walking distance of every boy and girl, as most children can not afford to pay carfare.
History and development
Professionals recognize that the social skills that children develop on the playground become lifelong skill sets that are carried forward into their adulthood. Independent research concludes that playgrounds are among the most important environments for children outside the home. Most forms of play are essential for healthy development, but free, spontaneous play—the kind that occurs on playgrounds—is the most beneficial type of play.
Children have devised many playground games and pastimes. But because playgrounds are usually subject to adult supervision and oversight, young children's street culture often struggles to fully thrive there. Research by Robin Moore (Childhood's Domain: Play and Place, 1986) has clearly shown that playgrounds need to be balanced with marginal areas that (to adults) appear to be derelict or wasteground but to children they are area's that they can claim for themselves, ideally a wooded area or field.
A type of playground called a playscape can provide children with the necessary feeling of ownership that Moore describes above. Playscapes can also provide parents with the assurance of their child's safety and wellbeing, which may not be prevalent in an open field or wooded area.
Playgrounds can be
- Built by collaborative support of corporate and community resources to achieve an immediate and visible "win" for their neighborhood.
- Public, free of charge, like at most rural elementary schools
- A business with an entrance fee
- Connected to a business, for customers only, e.g., at McDonald's and IKEA.
- Elaborate indoor mazes, like those at the (now defunct) Discovery Zone, Zoom Zoom's Indoor Playground in Ancaster, Ontario, Jungle Jam Indoor Playground and Chuck E. Cheese's
- Main article: Playground safety
- Main article: Playground injuries
Playgrounds in the Soviet Union
Playgrounds were an integral part of urban culture in the USSR. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were playgrounds in almost every park in many Soviet cities. Playground apparatus was reasonably standard all over the country; most of them consisted of metallic bars with relatively few wooden parts, and were manufactured in state-owned factories. Some of the most common constructions were the carousel, sphere, seesaw, rocket, bridge, etc.
- Main article: Playscape
"Natural playgrounds" are play environments that blend natural materials, features, and indigenous vegetation with creative landforms to create purposely complex interplays of natural, environmental objects in ways that challenge and fascinate children and teach them about the wonders and intricacies of the natural world while they play within it.
Play components may include earth shapes (sculptures), environmental art, indigenous vegetation (trees, shrubs, grasses, flowers, lichens, mosses), boulders or other rock structures, dirt and sand, natural fences (stone, willow, wooden), textured pathways, and natural water features.
- Empower playgrounds
- Friendship bench
- Obstacle course
- Playground game
- Playground song
- Playground Surfacing
- Ropes course
- To Cuno H. Rudolph, Washington Playground Association, February 16, 1907. Presidential Addresses and State Papers VI, 1163.
- IPEMA International Playground Equipment Manufacturer's Association
- NPCAI International Playground Contractors Association — a non-profit trade association of commercial playground builders and associated organizations
- National Program for Playground Safety — serves as a recognized national U.S. clearinghouse for playground safety information
- http://www.playinspectors.com UK examination body for playground inspectors
- http://www.playinspections.co.uk Major UK playground safety and inspection company
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