Reason Number Eleventy-Five That Being a Kid Today Sucks

Being a Mom 47

playgroundWhen I was a wee lass, our school had a gigantic, wooden bridge, complete with rusty chains and stray nails hanging out; the sort that'd catch your bare skin just as you were running across it in a game we called "Bridge Tag." The principle of the game was simple: two teams on either side of the bridge, each person trying to make it across without being pushed over the side onto their heads.

It was a forbidden game, but we'd get a couple of rounds in before the recess monitors -- busily sucking down their cigarettes -- broke up the game.

One particularly bad day, I got summarily pushed off the side of the bridge during one of these games of bridge tag, and landed squarely on my neck. Marvelling at my own stupidity and realizing I probably had a concussion, I dizzily hobbled over to the recess monitor, intending to go to the nurse.

She was less than sympathetic.

In fact, she put me in the penalty box, where I swayed unsteadily until recess was over. Once in my classroom, I realized that I was, in fact, stupidly hurt, and went to the nurse, who sent me home.

A couple of years later, probably because it was condemned or something, the bridge got torn down. I mourned that bridge; the bridge which had given me blisters, splinters, and a concussion.

Soon after, I went on to junior high, then high school, where the "playground" consisted of hiding under the bleachers and smoking cigarettes.

The next thing I knew, the playground that I'd so loved was torn down and replaced with some technicolor "safer" alternative. It looked like Willy Wonka had thrown up a playground.

No longer did they have the tire climber (always whizzed in by the older boys) or the unsteady, rickety slide that, if you used it while wearing shorts during a particularly sunny day, would give you the most massive butt blisters. The wood chips, which were always infested with some particular worm, were what we enjoyed whipping at each other, but they were replaced by some foam mat. I probably STILL have one of those splinters lodged into my eye.

The rusted out chains on the swings had been replaced by plastic wrapped chains, meaning no one would ever pinch their fingers like we all did. And I couldn't imagine the foam mats absorbing the shock of jumping off the swings from as high as we did very well.

The tire swing had been replaced by tiny rockets on springs, the sort one would put a toddler or other small child on, which was clearly unfair to the actual children at the school, considering none of them were of the size OR shape to properly use such a toy.

The jungle gym, where I'd once racked myself falling through, was replaced by some really stupid looking monkey bars. Nobody would be playing King of the Hill on THOSE. And really, whose childhood is complete without a game of King of the Hill from dizzying -- and dangerous! -- heights.

No, this new playground equipment was not nearly as awesome as what we grew up with. Those really were the good (read: unsafe) old days.

Do you remember the playground from when you were a kid? How much has it changed?


back to school, elementary school, kid activities, toddler activities, play

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Mymys... Mymys_Mommy

I remember the playground vividly.  As I look at the playground at the parks and my daughter's preschool, I sit wondering how on earth did my generation survive our old set?  You're right, from the burns of the metal slide, to the splinters from the wood chips or even the wooden frames, to the concrete beneathe most of the equipment, it was incredibly dangerous, but I still have fond memories.  Why?  No clue, but that was my childhood.  One where at my daughter's age, I rode my bike around the neighborhood with my big sister (all of 8 yrs old who constantly sped off and left me) without my mom being 2 feet behind me.  Those were nice times.

Andrea Byrd Plate

My favorite piece of playground equipment would probably be banned today.  Picture if you will, a cone-shaped jungle gym, three feet off the ground, on a base that rotated as we climbed all over it.  Those were the days...and you just know that it would be illegal in some states.

sandb... sandbuster

Sorta, there are still things up that were there when I was little but they've taken down other stuff. One thing that bothers me because they have not taken them down is these concrete animal swings that were on my school playground. During prek I had a classmate accidently get hit by one and blood went everywhere, but they are still up today, 30 years later. They took down a slide because it was not safe but not those weird animals.

navyw... navywife0204

I've seen some pretty severe burns come from those  "safe" plastic slides on a hot, sunny day.  I spent 2 years in SC and I lost count of how many kids ended up in the ER due to burns from those "safe' slides! 

nonmember avatar OhMommyMe

My elementary school playground had blacktop pavement under everything. It hurt when you fell out of a swing or off of the monkey bars.

Memph... MemphisSuzi

We had REALLY high (well I was shorter so who knows how high) teeter - totters that we would purposely leave some poor kid dangling up on for what seemed like hours until we so rudely sprung off and sent them flying.  Teeter totters, see saws, whatever you call them are banned at my childs school, as are merry - go - rounds.  Oh, I love standing in the middle of those things as they flew around.  How did we manage to survive?  LOL

Dana Taylor

ohhh memories!!! I think it was some sort of metal slide.. when it was hot it was so much more fun to go down and burn your butt, also some kid burned the whole side of his leg.. that dome looking thing with bars all over it.. some kid was hanging upside down and fell..right on his head.. ya.. the parelle bars..my fav!!.. the swings..sigh...

acrog... acrogodess

No more see saws. No more merry go rounds. No more swings where you could swing so high and touch the trees. Not even the sprinkler pool that was about a foot deep and so awesome to play in during hot summer days. :'( My kids have crappy playgrounds. They've even gotten rid of most picnic tables and grills from the public parks. That is what made their dad and I go every weekend with them at least until it got below 50 degrees

dirti... dirtiekittie

man, i remember in elementary school our 'playground' was huge but had this big monster of a toy set called "the BigToy". yeah, that was really the name. and it was this giant wooden plank / pole monster set on a big cement slab. the splinters and blisters and pinching fingers in chains... it was all part of the fun! i miss merry go rounds too... "faster, faster we need another master"... ohh, good times.

sfank sfank

My elementary school had the most amazing playground built almost exclusively of tractor tires. There were towers and bridges and tire swings. It was amazing. They tore it down and replaced it with a "safer" playground when I was in junior high and I was pissed. It was the best playground ever.

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