Do you think today's kids are missing out on all the fun we had with the old school playground rides and activities? Here are a few examples:

SEE-SAWS (“teeter-totters”)
How many of you got smacked in the head with one of these? Other injuries from this included bruised groins and broken arms from falling off. See-saws have slowly been removed from most playgrounds. Plus, it wasn't much fun if the kid on the other end weighed 100 pounds more than you. He'd sit there while you were still up in the air, then he'd jump off and you'd come down hitting the ground with a BAM. If a butt had bones, many of them would've been put in slings, thanks to the teeter-totter.

The metal merry-go-rounds were simple: one or more kids climbed on while another kid grabbed ahold, ran and spun it around much to the enjoyment of the riders. Did I say enjoyment? The metal merry-go-rounds had their share of childhood victims. Runners would occasionally trip and get their foot caught and dragged. Riders wouldn't hold on and fell off, one-by-one. Those who made it through the ride got off and threw up. Yep, bruises, broken arms & legs, scrapes & cuts, and puking in front of the rest of your class equals a lotta fun. The metal 'rounds have been replaced by plastic ones that are said to be safer, or they're just eliminated all together.

Slides were a favorite of most kids.....except when the sun was beating down. Then the metal got searing hot, and any kid who attempted to slide down while wearing shorts got burned. Also, kids that wore sneakers were in for trouble. The rubber soles would stop a slider in mid-slide, sometimes causing a kid to go falling off the side, possibly breaking something. How many kids did you see go bawling into the schoolhouse after a slide accident? Also, some metal slides were put together in sheets...that meant that there were ridges where the sheets met that could give you deep, bloody gashes. Okay, say you happen to make it down to the bottom; if you don't stand up and walk away ASAP, the next kid will ram his feet into your back, either breaking a bone or knocking you down. And then you go crying into the schoolhouse. Now slides are made with plastic and they aren't as tall. Yay.

An all-time favorite, kids were always getting hurt on these. Head injuries, twisted arms, broken name it. There would always be some smart-ass kid who would climb to the top, proclaim himself 'king' and dare someone to come knock him down. When someone actually did, it was great. Then the de-throned 'king' would go crying into the school.

When I went to grade school, the maintenance man would flood the hill behind the school during wintertime. The whole hill became one giant ice slide and we were out there every recess...that was awesome. Sure, there were would fall and crack their skulls, break their noses, twist their ankles...after recess, there were more bruises 'n blood than before. I can't imagine any school doing that for their students now.

Yeah, there are still swingsets. And kids still get hurt on them to this day. Some kid won't be paying attention and walk in front of a kid on a swing...then SMACK! He gets hit and thrown to the ground. Kids who are pushing other kids on a swing sometimes push too hard and the kid goes flying out of his seat.....and the swing will come back and whack the kid in the head. Some kids loved to try and get the swing as high as the top bar...not fun when a chain link breaks and you go bouncing in the dirt.

It's quite obvious that the main reason for eliminating these fun playground things are to avoid lawsuits. During my entire childhood, I don't recall anyone suing the school at all...and plenty of kids were hurt. Look around the classroom: Jimmy had his arm in a sling. Dave had something over his nose. Russell used crutches. Faye had her leg in a cast. Dennis' fingers had splints. And they all survived to adulthood.

Take a look at some old playground gear below!



Children's Playgrounds of Michigan

Abandoned One-Room Schoolhouse, Byron Center

Old One-Room Schoolhouses & High Schools

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