Should Playgrounds Be More Perilous? Maybe Says The Wall Street Journal

Earlier this week, Sumathi Reddy wrote her first health column for the Wall Street Journal. It’s on a topic I hope we’ll hear more about particularly in North America – introducing additional risk in playgrounds.

If you haven’t had a chance to read it or see the lovely pictorial, take a moment to check Playing It Too Safe? New Playground Gear Promotes Risk-Taking to Boost Fitness And Brain Development.

The risk taking represented in the pictorial is still pretty tame compared to this do-it-yourself rig captured on video in Nuuk, Greenland.

Nuuk isn’t a thrill a minute playground paradigm shift. The modular equipment has made its way to Greenland too. Perhaps the suspended double swinger in the video is more than many parents would be comfortable with but where do we draw the line?

Playground – Nuuk, Greenland. Photo credit – Miss Copenhagen. License: CC – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

For some kids, the crazy swinging ride would trump the playground pretty much every time. We adults need to exercise common sense and balance and let the kids have some fun.

2 responses to “Should Playgrounds Be More Perilous? Maybe Says The Wall Street Journal

  1. Unbelievable, I am sorry but higher/faster and more dangerous playgrounds are not going to solve your childs weight issues or their shyness or most any other chilhood predicament In reality, this approach will only increase the exclusion and avoidence of the children that need the exercise and interaction the most. How high or fast is too much and who is qualified enough to make that call? This outcry for taller/faster more dangerous play areas seems to be more of an adult anxiety than the intended users. More creative and imaginative opportunities would require more advanced mental activity on the part of the providers, but would prove to be much more beneficial and productive solutions.


    • Bob, sorry to have taken so long to acknowledge your comment. It’s been a busy week in the work world and it’s just now that I’m getting a breather. I’m not suggesting that ‘higher, faster and more dangerous’ should be objectives we’re looking to reach. I’m thinking more of creative, challenging and less risk averse. I’m assuming by your email address that you are in some way involved in the play, or playground sector. Think about the possibilities of adventure playgrounds. They’ve been around for decades and there has been no move to shut them down because of safety concerns. Here is a radio piece that aired November 28 on Canada’s public broadcast network on a show entitled Q. It’s very à propos to this discussion – Another good source of information on this topic is Tim Gill’s book, No Fear – Growing up in a risk averse society – available as a free download here via the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Thanks for reading PlayGroundology.


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