The First Playground Slides


Everybody enjoys the thrill and excitement of zooming down playground slides.  Some historians suggest that sliding originated in the northern hemisphere where people would travel down slopes on sledges. Slides, as we know them today, probably originated from people trying to recreate the experience of sledging without snow. The first play slide was built in 1922.

The first playground slides

The first playground slides were not for the faint hearted. They were usually around 13 feet high with a slope of 45 degrees.  Steeper slides were constructed for boys and separate, less steep ones were made for girls! They were made of polished planks of wood with very little regard for safety. Eventually the designs evolved to be constructed of metal with a ridge at the side and a curve at the bottom to make the experience a little bit safer.

Embankment slides

Playground slides still allow children to enjoy the pleasure and excitement of racing down a slope but are designed with safety in mind. Playground slides can either be freestanding or can be built onto an embankment.  Embankment slides can either be the traditional metal slide or an exciting tube version.  Part of the excitement of using an embankment slide is getting to the top in the first place.  Children can climb to the top of the embankment by either scrambling up a net, pulling themselves up a rope ramp or just using a set of embankment steps.

Imaginative playground equipment

play galleon

Imaginative playground equipment designs have enabled designers to incorporate playground slides into our Toddler and Junior playground equipment.  Children use ladders and climbing walls to get to the top of the playground equipment and use the slide to get off quickly.  Often slides are a child’s first experience of the fun and enjoyment you can get from the force of gravity.

Benefits of playground slides

The benefits of zooming down a slide are far greater than just the thrill experienced and can help children in the following ways:-

  • Increases confidence – children feel really proud of themselves when they have conquered an intimidating slide.
  • Promotes physical activity – the act of repeatedly climbing and sliding requires a lot of stamina and is physically demanding.
  • Develops balance and coordination and spatial awareness – children will endeavour to find the best way to get to the top of the slide.
  • Social etiquette – children have to learn how to take it in turns and move away swiftly from the bottom of the slide.

If you are considering adding a new slide to your playground please contact us and we would be happy to offer advice to help you choose the best slide for your play area.


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