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Playground

From Academic Kids

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Combination playground structure for small children; slides, climbers (stairs in this case), playhouse

A playground is an area designed for children to engage in physical activity. Modern playgrounds often have recreational equipment such as the see-saw, merry-go-round, swingset, slide, climber, walking bridge, jungle gym, chin-up bars, sandbox, parallel bars, overhead ladder, trapeze and trapeze rings, playhouses, and maze, 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 incorporate many different pieces of equipment.

Playgrounds often also have facilities for playing informal games of adult sports, such as a baseball diamond, a skating rink, a basketball court, or a tetherball.

Sometimes the safety of playgrounds is disputed in school or among regulators. Over at least the last twenty years, the kinds of equipment to be found in playgrounds has changed, often towards safer equipment built with modern materials. For example, an older jungle gym might be constructed entirely from steel bars, while newer ones tend to have a minimal steel framework while providing a web of nylon ropes for children to climb on.

Seesaw with a crowd of children playing
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Seesaw with a crowd of children playing
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Rope bridge for improving balance

Playgrounds can be

  • Public, free of charge
  • 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 and Chuck E. Cheese's

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, which young children can claim for themselves.

See also:

The Law of the Playground

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A slide, viewed from the top.
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A playground in Stratford Australia
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Jacques Laurent Agasse: The Playground, 1830

Playground is also an informal term to describe an area designed for any particular group of people. For example, "the resort spa has become a playground for millionaires".cs:Dětské hřiště de:Spielplatz he:גן שעשועים pt:Playground

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