The definition of play has remained the same; however, the way we play has changed drastically over the last century. If you have the opportunity, you should ask your parents or grandparents about the experiences they had with playground equipment in their youth. I'm sure you'll find no shortage of stories about crazy equipment.
As you can see, older playgrounds are almost circus-like in their height and equipment. Compare that to the WW2 image of soldiers crossing a small drop on monkey bars, and you have yourself a comical comparison. Clearly, the children of old were raised to be fearless!
Some of the most important changes to playground safety in the past few decades include the use of safer materials, more deliberately thought out structure design, and even the addition of improved materials for the surfacing of the playground. Mounds of pebbles and rocks have been replaced by things like recycled tire padding, and sand, in order to mitigate the risks of children falling, or getting hurt.
It is essential that playground equipment be updated over time, just like you would expect of the safety systems of any product developed over the last century. Some of the most significant changes seen in the world of playgrounds in recent years is the focus on inclusivity. Playing at a playground has become possible for children of all ages, shapes and sizes, thanks to this new focus on inclusivity. There is now dedicated product lines that are deliberately constructed for children with a variety of physical disabilities, so that nobody has to miss out.
Worried that your local playground might be unsafe? You can use our Playground Maintenance check sheet to ensure everything is up to spec. Download it here.