The Bitter, Angry Divide Over Children's Playgrounds: A History

On one side of the fence are mothers who want softer padding and lower structures. On the other, those who argue safe play is boring play.

Reuters

Unless you're a frequent reader of parenting blogs, you might not know there's a major divide in the world of children's playgrounds.

On the one side, you have the safety advocates who want lower structures, softer ground, and less opportunities for falling off or over, well, anything. On the other, those who worry that a safe playground is a boring playground that will do little to stimulate a child's imagination.

The debate can seem quite technical -- should playgrounds have foam floors, or wood chips? What would be better for the 5-year-olds who tumble off the monkey bars? Should there even be monkey bars, or is that just asking for trouble? One mom was even banned from McDonald's after she was caught swabbing their play places in search of bacteria.

The debate has a very 21st century feel to it but it's actually nothing new -- these types of questions have been asked for at least a century.

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