The bright educational school playground equipment of today contrasts hugely with the basic equipment of the past. Schools in Germany were the first have playgrounds attached to them. This was to help children how to learn about fair play and good manners. They also kept children off the streets, away from cramped homes and out of social isolation promote physical exercise and were a good source of fresh air.
Health and safety wasn’t a consideration in the past and children literally risked life and limb on slides, swings, roundabouts and climbing frames. Injuries were simply character building and taught children not to make the same mistake twice. The first school playground equipment consisted of ladders, large climbing frames, terribly high slides and wild swings.
These days school playground equipment design takes safety and educational value into consideration. The emphasis on outdoor play and Forest schooling inspires a wide range of equipment including outdoor classrooms, role play tunnels, adventure trails and play towers.
Germany introduced the concept of playgrounds to teach children how to play well with others, 1907 saw the first official playground built in the United States which won the seal of approval from President Roosevelt because it kept children off the dangerous streets. The first purpose-built playground in the UK was in Manchester in 1859. Early playgrounds were dangerous exciting places where children learned about balance and spatial awareness scaling precarious equipment. They were a sight to be seen and very popular with children despite the obvious safety risks. The odd cut or graze wasn’t an issue as experts considered to be character building and a necessary part of growing up. Swings, slides, roundabouts, see-saws and climbing frames were traditional playground equipment. Emphasis was on physical development rather than imaginative play.
London saw the introduction of junk or adventure playgrounds after the Second World War. The principle behind them was free play that sparked the imagination. They were located in bomb sites where there was plenty of debris to reuse for play activities. Lady Allen of Hurtwood was the brainchild behind this idea with backing from the NPFA who provided the junk.
Modern playgrounds combine the benefits of adventure playgrounds and traditional playground equipment. In the 1980s laws and legislation ensured all equipment is safe to use. Guidelines relating to sharp edges and points, gaps and spacing help to make playgrounds much safer. Designing exciting, daring playgrounds within these guidelines is certainly a challenge. Playgrounds are resuming their role in ensuring children get plenty of exercise, fresh air and opportunities to play.
School playground equipment today is much more exciting and educational than ever. They address many different areas of the curriculum including maths, science, storytelling, imaginative and creative play. Playground surfacing brightens up the playground and provides a soft landing. Schools combine educational and physical play equipment which is available for children at playtime.
Educational playground equipment includes; sand and water play, environmental play, storytelling chairs, role play equipment, mud kitchens, play panels and musical playground equipment. Adventure trails, MUGAs and climbing frames provide opportunities for children to have physical exercise.
If you would like to find out more about our school playground equipment contact us and we would be happy to offer advice.
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