Playgrounds for Adults

We need playgrounds for adults. It’s a pity we haven’t built them. Similarly, it’s a pity that many parents don’t climb when waiting for their kids at rock gyms. Instead, some (but not all) parents just sit and stare at their phones until the kids are ready to leave. And we wonder why our bodies start deteriorating as we get older. Our bodies are machines that wear out from lack of use. Yet many of us effectively stop using our bodies after childhood. Adult playgrounds are an easy and fun solution.

We weren’t meant to spend so much time sitting or staring at screens. We were designed to move. Our bodies crave movement. Our bodies thrive on movement. We need to run, crawl, climb, jump, hang, crouch, swing, lean, swim, scramble, balance, run backwards, run sideways, twist, throw, push, pull, dig, duck, lift, drag, and slide. In order to stay healthy, our bodies, minds, and spirits need to play.

It’s as if humans have a one-word instruction manual: Play!

We outgrow kids’ playgrounds partly because we physically become too large, but also because they’re a little boring. We need bigger playgrounds with bigger challenges. Not only that, we need them in every park, outside every office building, perhaps on every corner. Some parks and trails have pull-up bars and other exercise equipment, which is a nice start, but I mean full-on playgrounds where adults and children alike can go play together every day. Adult-sized jungle gyms, bouldering walls, slides, balance beams, ropes, poles, tunnels, and more. (Here are some examples, or just google your own.)

This need for people of all ages to play through movement is possibly part of why rock climbing gyms have become so popular in recent years. I love rock climbing gyms, and I’ve been a member of many over the years. Rock climbing gyms are a sort of all-ages, all-abilities jungle gym. However what I’m talking about here doesn’t have to be so technical, expensive, or dangerous as rock climbing. It can just be adult-sized playgrounds, with slightly more interesting physical challenges than the kid-sized versions. That’s it.

If you build one, I’ll come play on it, and many others will too.