School playgrounds, at the behest of parents and federal legislation, have become progressively more plain, with less dangerous equipment. The disappearance of monkey bars has been especially noticeable; the thought being that broken bones are not worth the childhood excitement that comes from danger.
However, many psychologists are now suggesting the exact opposite, reports a recent NY Times Article. "Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground," says Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology. "I think monkey bars and tall slides are great. As playgrounds become more and more boring, these are some of the few features that still can give children thrilling experiences with heights and high speed."
Even though falls are the most common form of playground injury, by being exposed gradually to dangers on the playground, young children are being habituated to anxiety in a healthy way. Moreover, more exciting playgrounds imply more children playing outside, getting exercise, and socializing. In the technology age, where children can stay home all day, play videogames or watch tv, it is important to have an enticing and fun option for outside play.
Do you think playgrounds should have tall, exciting, but potentially dangerous equipment?