VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – When you were a kid, did you have more fun in traditional playgrounds, or in more natural spaces?
Some new research finds those playground structures may not be the best at engaging all children.
Mariana Brussoni with the School of Population and Public Health at UBC says previous research done by a colleague found equipment was only being used about 13 per cent of the time.
Brussoni put natural elements like bamboo plants and sand in the two worst quality sites the other researcher had looked at, and she found a greater number of kids were more engaged.
“When people think of playgrounds, they automatically think that there needs to be some sort of structure on that playground, and what this indicates — this research and others that have looked at this — is that that’s not necessarily the case.”
“We need to think about the kinds of play spaces that will provide a variety of opportunities for kids, and fixed structures in general, tend not to be the ideal way of doing that,” she adds.
Brussoni says those structures can also be very expensive, though adds natural elements need more maintenance.