Playgrounds through the Years

Early Playground

An early playground focused on structured play

The playground is something many of us consider intertwined with childhood playtime around many parts of the world. The idea of playgrounds developed in the mid-19th century, as people realized increasingly urban areas needed to create space for children to play rather than have them play on streets where it was dangerous. The movement was slow to pick up, however, as few councils and cities provided funds. Today, the playground is a permanent part of many urban areas around the world.

Early History

In 1837, the concept of kindergarten, with the term coined in 1840, was developed by the early child psychologist Friedrich Fröbel. He realized that children at early ages needed to combine play with learning and that learning were intertwined with play for young children. As Friedrich Fröbel developed an early kindergarten in Bad Blankenburg, in modern Germany, he realized the school also needed a play space to encourage his learning-play concept. The first playground was created within the area of the first kindergarten. The first playgrounds encouraged dancing and activities that were measured for their educational effect.

Sadly, kindergartens were banned by the Prussian government that came to power in 1851, suppressing the idea and spread of playgrounds in Germany for decades. In the 1880s, playgrounds did appear again in Germany, which were then called sand gardens.[1]

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