So, What's the Big Deal about Swinging?

Tom Norquist's picture
Posted By Tom Norquist
September 30, 2014

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Arch swing

Thinking about the wonderful and graceful art of swinging takes me back to one of my favorite childhood play experiences, swinging like Tarzan of the jungle on ropes suspended from branches of super tall Douglas fir trees in the Northwest.

Swinging has been around in some form or fashion since man’s earliest moments. Homo erectus and then Homo sapiens were among the first to experience swinging pleasure on jungle vines. Though we really don’t have factual evidence of the unveiling of the first modern day swing, a pendulum-type device suspended from a horizontal beam, we do find illustrative evidence in Europe and Asia of people swinging several centuries ago. You may recall from Western Civilization course studies, photos of well-dressed children playing on swings with flat board seats in the beautifully manicured Victorian gardens of the 1800s. 

During the Industrial Revolution and the advent of child labor laws, children needed public places to gather and play. With the development of the public park, the swing became one of the newly formed play environments’ most popular devices. This phenomenon begs the question, why? Why do humans of all ages enjoy the activity we call swinging?