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Children Dreaming of Playgrounds

March 30, 2012 on 3:12 pm | In Dream Come True, Musings | No Comments

Play and make believe are very close to dreams. Children move easily from one to the other. Like yogis and other spiritual adepts, some children hardly distinguish between dreams and visions at all. In their innocent wisdom both are equally real and true. That is why nightmares are so scary to them.

Imaginative games are valuable training for creativity and problem-solving in later life, but children seldom get enough of such things these days. And what they do get is usually limited by not having enough space for true playing, for getting into imaginary spaces and physically acting out adventures, for exploring their dreams as they do on good, well-designed playgrounds.

Children love playgrounds: fun, imaginative places outdoors where they can safely run and shriek and swing and giggle and make believe as freely as they wish. When my niece and nephew were small, they looked forward to staying with me and going to a small, neighborhood park not far away that had wonderful equipment, not just swings and slides but also Cinderella’s coach, a merry-go-round, a rocket ship, and so on. They loved that playground!

Sadly playgrounds are becoming less and less common. School playgrounds and parks are low on funds. Some playground equipment that I grew up with is now considered unsafe. In fact, there are fewer and fewer places or children to play outdoors.

There is an answer to the safety issue, at least: recycled rubber playground equipment by a company called Rubberecycle, for example. And there is an answer to the problem of disappearing or under-funded parks: commercial playgrounds. If spacious and not overcrowded, those offer good alternatives for many children.

I wish every child could live right across the street from a park like the one my niece and nephew loved so much. Since they can’t, I’m glad to know that someone is taking action to make sure there will always be playgrounds and safe, imaginative playground equipment to nurture children’s dreams.

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