Old Playground Nostalgia

My kiddos are at the playground age, so we spend a lot of time at parks. I love the nostalgia of old playground equipment. All the metal they were made of even has its own smell: summer sun, sticky jelly sandwiches and sweat.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the beautiful parks in our corner of the suburbs, but all the equipment is made by the same company. Same slide, different park, could be the motto. So when we happen upon something different (usually something old) it is a blast. Here are some photos of cool old equipment we’ve come across on our recent travels and explorations. I’m not going to tell you exactly where they are, but have fun exploring and finding your own!

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A mini-merry-go-round somewhere in Colorado.

 

The tallest double slide ever - somewhere in Oregon.

The tallest double slide ever – somewhere in Oregon.

 

Splinters everywhere on this beauty. Also, slightly off camera was a river. Just land wrong coming off that green slide and you'll end up in the drink. Great placement for this Oregon set.

Splinters everywhere on this beauty. Also, slightly off camera was a river. Just land wrong coming off that green slide and you’ll end up in the drink. Thrilling placement for this Oregon set.

 

We encountered even more splinters in Idaho.

We encountered even more splinters in Idaho.

 

I would bet that this thing was around way before the American Ninja Warrior folks dubbed their "Spider Climb."

I would bet that this thing was around way before the American Ninja Warrior folks dubbed their “Spider Climb.” Maybe some of the ‘Wolf Pack’ even got their start climbing on this Colorado arachnid.

 

You spin me 'round 'round, baby 'round 'round. Possibly this one is older than the song. But it still spins.

You spin me ’round ’round, baby ’round ’round. Possibly this one is older than the song. But it is still spinning in Colorado.

 

I don't even know the name of this thing. Probably it is a H.O.L.T.Y.S - Hold on longer than your sibling.

I don’t even know the name of this thing. Perhaps it is a H.O.L.T.Y.S – Hold On Longer Than Your Sibling. Oregon.

 

When you look at this, can you just feel the burn on the back of your thighs on a hot summer day?

When you look at this, can you just feel the metal burning the back of your thighs on a hot summer day? Oregon.

 

This was actually a self-pumping merry-go-round. Where my son is sitting, there is a handle for feet and hands. Feel free to pump 'til you barf on this spinning joy.

This was actually a self-pumping merry-go-round. Where my son is sitting, there is a handle for feet and hands. Feel free to pump ’til you barf on this spinning gem. Oregon.

 

And because I loved this one so much, another photo for you. This self-pumper was probably invented by a mother who was tired of their child coming home from the park with muddy shoes (because every good merry-go-round) has a mud puddle under it, right!

And because I loved this one so much, another photo for you. This self-pumper was probably invented by a mother who was tired of her child coming home from the park with muddy shoes (because every good merry-go-round) has a mud puddle under it, exactly where you’re supposed to run, right!

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4 thoughts on “Old Playground Nostalgia

  1. Wow, I love all these equipment pictures. I always think the older equipment is more entertaining… so many of the new pieces are just so “safe.” My kiddos seem to have more fun on the older stuff!

  2. It never ceases to amuse and annoy me when I read the numerous blog posts and comments about how “dangerous” these old school playground slides, merry-go-rounds and other various and sundry equipment were. They weren’t.
    Kids in my generation (1970s) and before took care (reckless teens excluded) not to be careless in the playground on the equipment. I didn’t get burned on the hot slides, because I knew what to wear to the park on a hot day, as did most kids. Nor did the youngsters whose mothers brought them, because they made sure that their kids were dressed appropriately for the day as well. Kids of my era and before were allowed to discover and explore their boundaries on the apparatus, whether a swing, a slide, a teeter-totter or a merry-go-round. Most kids were fine under supervision of teachers, parents, or older siblings and friends – and eventually on their own – and learned their limits pretty quickly.
    The “new” playgrounds aren’t all that safe. I’ve seen some things in this new style of playground that are extremely dangerous (like the chained wooden bridge), or the numerous wasps nests in and under the wooden or plastic structures (a problem we never had with the steel equipment!) that are an anaphylactic horror waiting to happen.
    Freedom to play means a certain amount of risk, but that’s how children learn, and it’s the best way. Wrapping your kids up in cotton wool and building bland generic playgrounds so your kids are safe but bored stiff isn’t doing them any favours. More importantly, it isn’t FUN. And isn’t that what play is supposed to be about?

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