Traditional Kids’ Games series (6) – The Playground
June 1st is International Children’s Day. This week we will look into the games that children played before the age of computer and arcade games. Yes, lest we forget, there was a time when kid’s fun didn’t cause obesity or cost a lot of money. Kids used to interact with each other and laugh (out loud) together. They stayed active and sweat it out. They took turns. They learned that the only way to get better was to practice, practice and practice some more.
Today I feature The Playground: Slides, Swings, Seesaws and more. Now that I am a parent, I understand how important play is to the development of children.
“At The Playground”
A Look at the History of the Playground
Playgrounds originated in Germany. They were created as organized and instructional play areas for the use of teaching children the proper ways to play. Over time, organized playing areas have been adopted by other countries of the world and have become commonplace. The widespread adoption of playgrounds led to the Germanisation of some aspects of childhood development.
The first playground in the USA was built in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in 1887. Recognizing the need for playgrounds, former President Theodore Roosevelt stated in 1907:
“City streets are unsatisfactory playgrounds for children because of the danger, because most good games are against the law, because they are too hot in summer, and because in crowded sections of the city they are apt to be schools of crime. Neither do small back yards nor ornamental grass plots meet the needs of any but the very small children. Older children who would play vigorous games must have places especially set aside for them; and, since play is a fundamental need, playgrounds should be provided for every child as much as schools. This means that they must be distributed over the cities in such a way as to be within walking distance of every boy and girl, as most children can not afford to pay carfare.”
A whimsical playground in Khmelnitsky, Ukraine
“It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality,
and it is only in being creative
that the individual discovers the self.”
~ D.W. Winnicott