The modern, commercial playground that you see today did not always look that way. If you’re curious about the history of playgrounds, read below to learn about the evolution of commercial playgrounds.
As a simple solution to teach children about play safety and teamwork, in 1848, Henry Barnard designed the first sketch of a playground in Germany. Known as “sand gardens”, these playgrounds had very minimal play equipment which consisted of wooden blocks and toy carts.
The beginnings of a playground emerged in Boston and San Francisco in the late 1880s. As urbanization increased, people started to become more concerned about public welfare. Massive areas of poverty resulted in children playing in the dangerous streets, with heavy traffic. Thus, playgrounds provided a safe place for children to develop physical strength, good habits, and social skills. Similarly, the creation of playgrounds permitted children to enjoy their years of childhood and youth.
Then, in 1906, the Playground Association of America formed to advocate the benefits of adding playgrounds to communities. Another goal was also to spread information about construction, layout and design, and play activities.
Between 1940 to 1950, people knew playgrounds as “adventure” or “junk” playgrounds. Thus, designed on vacant lots, these playgrounds used tires and other “junk” materials with few play equipment. This allowed children to explore unsupervised, and create a unique play area using their imagination.
Between 1960 to 1980, people had increasing concerns about playground safety. Therefore, the materials used to construct playgrounds no longer consisted of metal materials. Instead, playgrounds transformed to have hard, plastic materials with rounded edges. Finally, in today’s world, we can see that modern playgrounds are even safer. There are safety surfacing requirements now, with surfacing such as Pour-in-Place Rubber, artificial turf and engineered wood fiber mulch. In addition, they are more engaging on the imagination with themed structures and bright colors, as seen below. Moreover, commercial playgrounds must now meet a series of safety standards and installed with certified installers.
As we approach a new decade in the 21st century, changes are constantly occurring in the world of playgrounds. To combat the effects of technology on children, playgrounds are more challenging and engaging. This is a way to keep children interested in playing outside. Check out the modern, commercial playgrounds and play equipment we offer. Also, take a look below at this net climber, a non-traditional play equipment element. Finally, as with all things, playgrounds will continue to develop and change. Only time will tell how playgrounds will look in the future.
Unfortunately, you can’t invest in a playground from the 1940s. However, you can absolutely choose a modern, durable playground with our help at Zoom Recreation. We are thrilled to help match you with the right playground for your school or community! To get started, call us at 866-234-3392 or fill out a contact form. Want to be more involved? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for our daily posts!