Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Save the playground

The scene:  two dads and I were pushing our kids in swings at the playground.  All three of us watched as a group of 9 to 12-year olds played a game of "grounders" on the playscape.

NOTE: This game appears to involve one kid closing his eyes and occasionally yelling "grounders!" Meanwhile, the other kids climb all over the playscape.  I have no idea if there are winners, if someone is "it", or if points are scored.  However, I have seen it played many times at the playground by my house, and most kids seem to walk away happy and exhausted.

Dad #1:  "You are thinking the same thing as me, huh?"  He is thinking that one of those kids is going to slip and fall off the slick plastic playscape roof.  They keep climbing on top and dangling off the side.  Game strategy?

Me:  "Yep. Kids will always find a way to play on something as it was NOT intended.  But, let's not take pictures. Somebody might decide the playscape is unsafe and remove it."

Dad #1:  "Right. Some over-protective mom might decide it's too dangerous."

Dad #2:  "Man, we did way more dangerous stuff when we were kids."

After our short parental conversation, I thought that this chat could have gone another way -- we could have decided to tell those kids to get down from the playscape roof.  We could have told them that they were not allowed to play that way.  We might have prevented a 9-year-old from taking a bad fall. Maybe 8 feet down. Onto wood chips.   

We could have done that.  But that would have ruined all the fun they were having.

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