10 October 2007

Construction Play, Men at Work

One of the things that gave me the best childhood memories, was playing in the woods near our house. We cut trails, built forts and made tree houses.

On the other hand, one thing I missed growing up, was seeing grown men build things at their work. We lived, like most Americans amongst lots of other houses, and no businesses nearby. My glimpses of the work world were things like the mailman and garbage man.

My son is so fortunate to see men at work everywhere he looks. I think this is important. However, I would also like him to have the opportunity to play at construction, like I did in the woods. We have talked about building a tree house for example at his grandpa's house. We have also had the idea of surreptitiously constructing play spaces in the public park. During our walks in several city parks we have come upon things like this built by other kids. There are bike trails and ramps in the woods at Ault Park, and we have found rope swings and play forts in other city parks.

There is a movement to build playgrounds where kids can play at construction. They are called Adventure Playgrounds and apparently they are popular in Europe, but are rare in the US because of liability concerns.

I suppose the illegal playhouses built in the backwoods of city parks are eventually removed by park employees, but at least these woods will always be here, unlike the ones I grew up playing in, which were bulldozed long ago.

No comments: