When was the last time you pumped your legs and pointed your toes toward the sky, basking in the simple pleasure of a swing ride? Or spun around until you were dizzy on a merry-go-round? Hit the ground hard then bounced up suddenly on a seesaw?
In Manchester, England, the country’s first “pensioner’s playground” made its debut in 2008. A year prior in Berlin marked the opening of Europe’s first pensioner’s playground, whose designer was an engineer inspired by seniors in China who exercised in parks, subway stations, and on the streets with “simple pieces of government-provided equipment,” says this article from the EngAGE blog.
Gordon Lishman, director of UK-based senior support organization Age Concern, believes that senior playgrounds are important for exercise and socialization, and Madeline Elsdon, a spokeswoman for the group responsible for getting a senior playground up and running in London, says people “are never too old to play.”
Of course, these playgrounds are designed with older bodies in mind; you won’t see slides here. But the goal — giving seniors an opportunity to stay active and engage with peers in a fresh, fun way — is certainly universal.
Talk back: Would you go to a senior playground? Do you think the model should come to the US?