Taking A Swing At Public Playgrounds
Parents can nod their heads in agreement to this opinion. There simply isn’t enough variety and challenges for children to explore with the same playground setup in virtually every City and County park.
You know what I’m talking about. Your children will likely agree and seek out parks with a unique or at least different configuration. They’re hard to come by these days. And forget about swings — they’re like unicorns.
I know all the playgrounds with swings within a 20-mile radius because my daughter is a swing fanatic. Thank goodness for grandparents. Grandpa Joaquin hooked up the kids with their own special swing at his house.
It’s disappointing that there aren’t more swings at public parks for kids to enjoy. Recently, I posted an Instagram picture of my daughter on a swing at a playground, and right away, another mom asked where that park was because it’s so hard to find a swing. For the record, it was Ala Wai Park near the canoe hale.
A bigger challenge than locating a swing is peeling my kids away once we’re there. They could spend hours at the park, especially if they’re engaged by the playground.
It’s important for kids to be kids, to have places to run, jump, climb, slide and, yes, swing.
It’s important for kids to be kids, to have places to run, jump, climb, slide and, yes, swing. An occupational therapist told me that many children today are not getting enough of certain once-common movements to satisfy their sensory needs and develop critical motor skills.
There are different sensory requirements, but a specific one related to swings is called “vestibular input.” In layman’s terms, this is a sense of movement centered in the inner ear. This input will be stimulated by any type of movement, but experts say swinging, spinning or hanging upside down have the most intense input.
Whenever we travel, we make it a point to take our kids to a park. They’re thrilled to let loose on playgrounds that put Oahu’s to shame. I usually consult with Yelp to check out reviews from other parents. That has led to some real gems everywhere from Las Vegas to Canada.
Contrast that with reviews of our playgrounds. Hardly a picture of paradise, with rusty equipment, holes and worn turf. The city is working to change that by replacing some of the sets in the worst condition.
For our kids’ sake, I’m crossing my fingers that more new playgrounds will include swings.