Why Safe Playgrounds Aren’t Great for Kids

The stereotypical modern playground, with its bright colors and rubberized flooring, is designed to be clean, safe, and lawsuit-proof. But that isn’t necessarily the best design for kids. US playground designers spent decades figuring out how to minimize risk: reducing heights, softening surfaces, and limiting loose parts. But now, some are experimenting with creating risk. A growing body of research has found that risky outdoor play is a key part of children’s health, promoting social interactions, creativity, problem solving, and resilience.