Friday, December 16, 2016

Something's Wrong With This Picture

If you've been reading here for any length of time, you'll already know that I'm not a big fan of most playgrounds, especially those that are anchored by those out-of-the-box climbers. Sure, they can be great "destination" places to play, but they really only hold a kid's interest for, at most, an hour, which is why we don't have one at the school. We need a playground capable of holding their interest day-after-day and climbers tend to eat up real estate while offering ever-decreasing play value.

That said, Seattle Center, the 1962 World's Fair campus that is home to the Space Needle, the opera, Seattle Children's Theater, Pacific Science Center, the Chihuly Glass Garden, and dozens of other artistic and cultural institutions, recently installed it's new playground in the shadow of the Museum of Popular Culture, and their climber is spectacular. Of course, it's not "out-of-the-box" in any sense, which helps, and it has been consciously designed as a destination playground.

And we've made it a destination for our community of children a couple times these past few weeks. The thing is 35-feet tall, with open climbing ropes that put kids a good two-stories in the air. Several of our four and five year olds summoned up the courage to climb to the top, and it takes courage, even for adults, but only one of our three-year-olds succeeded, with most not even attempting it. It's got some real risk built into it and kids know it, which is, of course, what makes it spectacular. I think it was quite courageous of Seattle Center to build it given our cultural (and legal) bias against children taking healthy risks.

But, you know, that culture of catastrophic thinking is still strong. As we played there yesterday, there was one section of the place closed off with caution tape:

That's right -- a puddle. Yes, there was evidence of a bit of ice on the surface, but still . . . We live in Seattle for crying out loud, the place where puddles were practically invented. Stomping in puddles is half the fun of living here! I admire the new climber, but even so, there is still something wrong with this picture:

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, sorry, this is not a comment to this post ... but I will say Puddles Are Great and Why wouldn't the kids be able to play in it????

I just don't remember the post you wrote where you mention what I want to write to you about:
I keep having to undo my own mother, when raising my daughter, and your insight helps. You mentioned how nobody likes to be told what to do ... yup.

Today, my kid came in and swiped the mail off the table and onto the floor. She is three and I knew it was just to get my attention, as she had been with her father outside and she is indirect that way.

I first said, Pick up the mail ... but, then, remembered one of your posts and said, "Which hand are you going to pick the mail up with?"

She chose her left hand. Put it back on the table (I never turned from my work) and she ran back out. I finished writing out bills and joined her.

I have to get a good night's sleep, alone time, creativity time ... Eat Right, exercise... and then I am capable of being a thoughtful, easy-going parent.

I able to un-do my mother if I take Really Good Care of myself. Otherwise ... I parent 'off the cuff' and just do how I was raised. Between you and Janet Lansbury I am doing a really great job. Thankfully. I read you both, but if I don't take care of myself, I've noticed, it doesn't do any good.

I envy your long walk with music .... but I am learning to get that in shorter spurts. I DO want to be parenting, right now, and not wanting to be anywhere else (my past when I got those fabulous walks. We are going through a Major Transition and I just have to see us through.)

I enjoyed your long post about perception and your insight and music lines interspersed. I appreciate it all, but cannot always comment.

I am anonymous because I do not have a google account, etc.