In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech on the importance of play, and how playgrounds were better than city streets. Since then, structured play activities have become an essential component of the American fabric. Homemakers, planners, educators and public health professionals have scrambled for ways to incorporate backyard swingsets, wooden swingsets, and other outdoor playsets into the lives of children. This is with greater urgency since global obesity rates have doubled since 1980. Below are a few methods of incorporating play.
Many play experts swear by outdoor playsets with swingsets. Playgrounds with swingsets first started in the Progressive Era around 1900. Shortly after World War II, swingset based playgrounds appeared in housing projects across U.S. cities. Noted as being underused, urban expert Jane Jacobs mocked how playgrounds with swingsets were unsafe, and that the streets were better for play. Swingset based playgrounds fared better in private residences. In fact, swing sets for sale and trampolines for sale have flown off the shelves.
There are also more structured forms of play. Table games, such as foosball, air hockey and table tennis, are recommended as ways to develop eye hand coordination. Basketball, which can be incorporated into playsets, appeared in 1891, when Joseph Niesmith placed a peach basket as the first basket for his gym class. Later, he removed the bottom to create the modern basket.
Despite the many options of play available today, play is devolving. Video games, computers, TV, and other modern decadence makes our youth slothful. That is why educators, parents, and others must make a concerted effort to reincorporate play into life.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends children over 6 get an hour or more of physical activity a day. Play is an essential component of this. Well distributed swingset, playsets and ball games can halt the sloth gripping our youth, and help them evolve into model citizens. Check out this site for more.