Long gone are the days when a typical playground had little more than a slide, perhaps a simple climbing frame and something that spun around, today modern play ground equipment is available in hundreds of shapes and sizes made out of different materials in an array of color, modern equipment found on the playground is interesting and stimulating to children of all ages.
Modern playgrounds are built from the ground up; the surface is no longer just a patch of grass, dirt or wood chips. Although these surfaces may not have injured a child, they certainly were not the softest landing surface and scuffed knees were the order of the day. Today, playgrounds are surfaced with soft synthetic material that more or less eliminates scratches and bruises.
In the past the common construction materials for play ground equipment were wood and metal. Modern equipment makes full use of plastic which is not only a softer material, it is weather resistant and very simple to erect when received from the manufacturer.
Play ground equipment falls into five categories; slides, spinners, balancing, climbing and suspension.
Slides have always been a staple for playgrounds, today they are available covered or open, the slide surface can be smooth or bumpy and they can be straight or made from a series of curves. For very young children the slide height is rarely above four feet, for older children the slides can be 12 feet high or more. Although most slides are stand alone and accessed by a ladder, there are those which are part of a complete play structure.
Although all playground equipment is designed to allow the children to enjoy hours of harmless fun, many pieces of equipment actually help in their development. Good examples of this are balance beams, stepping stones and log rolls which help with their balance.
There are many options for hanging activities. Monkey bars are still a favorite as they always have been but today there are many shapes and twists and trapezes to challenge children of all ages.
Play ground equipment is constantly evolving and the manufacturers will no doubt continue to design, develop and make available; new and exciting apparatus. As parents are aware of the potential for learning, playground equipment is bound to become more developmental as well as fun.