We've published a blog today pn the Eden Project website about play and how simple play spaces let children invent, create and imagine far more than traditional parks. What do you think? Eden Project Blog
I have taken my children to the park twice this week to meet up with friends.
The first has several pieces of equipment. Whilst the children enjoy these they do seem to get bored quite quickly. I think too because there are generally so many other children around this can repress imaginary play.
The second park has no play equipment at all, just lots of open space, trees to climb, some steep slopes - perfect for rolling down, and a raised concrete/gravel area (ex foundations of a house I think) where several million firebugs lived - to the delight of the children. Certainly there was far more imaginative play going on at the park with no equipment. My children prefer this one and I am pleased about that!
Maybe its not the playparks that are over designed but that the parents expect the children to play with the equipment 'properly' like not going up the slide and climbing up the ladder rather than shinning up the side bars etc. Agree that over crowding is a another problem. Dd prefers open spaces too thankfully.
I agree actually our local park has just been refurb with loads of expensive equipment and climbing frames but tbh we rarely go as some of it is far to advanced for the ds's to climb without assisstance and my eldest is 6! actually now I think about it there is very little there that doesn't require adult assistance for those under 6. So what you have is children having their play constantly directed by an adult and YES the insistence that it is used properly, no scope for the imagination to run wild.
Ds's favourite garden activity is emptying my log store and creating a jungle for his animals the climbing frame barely gets a glance