For something that’s meant to celebrate the pleasures of childhood, the playground sure has gotten old. The essential program—swings, slides, monkey bars—is as limited and predictable as the activities it’s designed to promote. Though a playground may divert or entertain, rarely does it engender the kinds of social interactions that can meaningfully teach. It’s true that even the most uninspiring variant will whip a kid into furious expenditures of energy, but the outcome is a small, if satisfying, harvest: a better appetite and a tighter night’s sleep.
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