Premier Issue of Today's Playground - Originally Printed March 2001

March 2001

Today's Playground Cover Vol 1. Issue 1.

I remember as a kid hav­ing a healthy fear of play­grounds. My intuition told me that they were not safe. If it weren't for the pressure of my peers, I am sure I would have avoided them altogether. Over time, I learned to ignore my intu­ition and overcame my fears. Soon, I mastered the monkey bars, conquered the eagle's nest (a dome of crisscrossing monkey bars) and crushed my fear of heights as I soared like an eagle in the swings.

As it turns out, I should have listened to my fears. All the aforementioned play equipment at Ammon Elementary School, where I recessed, was not only dan­gerous, it was erected over Ammon clay-the cement­ like substance locals here call dirt. Urban legend has it that there is even a house on the outskirts of town built out of brick made solely from this clay.

Yup, I was hanging from my knees, upside down, right over the hardest sub­stance known to man…..and I was cool.

Times have changed, however, intuition is my friend. I have learned to lis­ten to that inner voice that directs me for the better. It's by that intuition that the whole staff here at Harris Publishing, Inc. and I have been convinced that we should publish a magazine for the playground industry.

We’re not going on gut feeling alone. In fact, we wouldn't even be aware of this need hadn't it been for Curtis Stoddard, another Idaho native. Curtis, a long-time playground contractor(one of the first in the nation) had formed an association for contractors,thus fulfilling another need. That association started a newsletter in 1997 called The Play Book. Over the next three years, The Play Book began to take on more and more attributes associated with a magazine. Being the smart guy that he is, Curtis saw an opportunity and couldn't resist. Yet, he also knew he would need a publisher. That's when the talks between the NPCA (National Playground Contractor’s Association) and Harris Publishing, Inc. began...and that's when intuition kicked in.

It is now my pleasure to present you with the first issue of Today's Playground. If you are anyway in charge of purchasing or maintain­ing commercial playground equipment, the surfacing around it, or any of its amenities, then this maga­zine is for you.

Harris Publishing, Inc. has been in the magazine business for 30 years, rich experience is what we are bringing to this magazine and this market. We are excited to get to know each of you and your needs and match those needs up with infor­mative articles. We are also excited to work with play­ground manufacturers of all types and sizes-from tradi­tional playgrounds, to spray grounds, to soft-contained play structures. We intend to cover it all. We also intend to keep you up to date on all the rules and regulations that go along with buying, installing and maintaining a playground­ and we will do so in lay­man's terms.

It's only appro­priate then, that this inaugural issue focuses on the new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines just released, and that many of the articles herein are focused around accessibility issues for those who are wheelchair bound. Six times a year, every word of every sentence of every article will be 110 percent focused on helping you be a better playground steward. No other publica­tion can promise that. Today when I visit my recess stomping grounds, it's to visit my 7-year-old daughter, who now attends Ammon Elementary. Gone are the towering monkey bars, the eagle's nest and the rickety old swings. Gone too is the exposed Ammon clay. In their place; new, safe, modern equipment that makes me want to play again-to cap­ture that which I have missed. But more than that, which I have an inner peace. My children simply won't have to face the same fears I did as a child. They can look on a play structure with desire, not angst. For that, I am jealous. The transformation that has taken place at my ele­mentary alma mater within this short generation gap is the exact transformation that we would like to see occur everywhere. As we let children be our guides, I am sure it's a goal well within our reach.


In This Issue...

Playground accessibility
By: Jeff Hunter
There’s a big difference between the joy that can be found in a winter wonderland and at a winter playground, especially in Idaho.
When undertaking a new playground project, consider the following four, interconnected steps: Funding and Project Criteria, Playground Design and Equipment Selection, Playground Construction, and Playground Maintenance. They are all vital to the safety, durability and proper use of a playground. To...
The Best Playground
By: Monty Christiansen
There have been two inquires that regularly appear in my e-mail from people around the country who are concerned about playground development and management. These, simply stated, are “what is the best playground we can build?” and “how can we provide the most play value in our playground?” These...
By: Chelle Cohen
Common sense playground safety ideas for children. Originally published in the inaugural issue of Today's Playground, still an important playground safety message.
By: Reeve Brenner
With all due respect to ESPN sports anchor Dan Patrick, “Nothing but the bottom of the net!” doesn’t get you very far in this game. Like its elder cousin basketball, the object of Bankshot is still to get the ball through the rim, but unlike in Dr James Naismith’s creation, Bankshot players are...
Playground Accessibility
By: Jeff Hunter
Playground Accessibility rule states that all play structures with 20 or more elevated components should be equipped with a ramp.
Hadley Kramm second park Hadley's Park
By: Jeff Hunter
The Hadley's Park in Dulles, VA and Maryland features ship themed play-structures 
Playground Fund Raising - price tag on playground
By: Donna Thompson
Money is often an issue for people looking to purchase playground equipment. Find out how to raise the funds for fun.
Wet kids playing in a water playground
By: Jeff Hunter
Water playgrounds are popping up in state and municipal parks, hotels and resorts, campgrounds, day care centers, private country clubs and residential subdivisions.
playground equipment maintenance
By: Scott Burton
The Nuts and Bolts of Playgrounds...From the Play and Playground Magazine Archives, available exclusively at Regularly scheduled audits and inspections are a critical part of playground equipment maintenance.
Playground Maintenance Software
By: Jeff Hunter
Although Ken Kutska played in integral role in developing the playground safety and maintenance checklists found in the NRPA publication "Playground Safety is No Accident," it doesn't necessarily mean that he's thrilled with the massive paper trail the data sheets leave behind.
Sand doesn't mix with poured-in-place surfacing
By: Dave Antonacci
Sand Slam..From the Play and Playground Magazine Archives, available exclusively at Putting sand next to a poured-in-place surface could decrease the life of your surfacing - keep sand for the beaches where it belongs.
Soft Play Soft-Contained Playgrounds
By: Jeff Hunter
Going Vertical and Beyond. From the Archives of Play and Playground Magazine, exclusively on Soft Play leads the way to the future of soft-contained playgrounds, offering theme play possibilities to indoor play spaces.
North Cary Park
By: Jeff Hunter
This bridge was made for walking, but today it's serving a higher purpose as a heat source.
By: Jeff Hunter
Although the big numbers are impressive-1 million bike helmets distributed, 500,000 car seats provided 100,000 smoke alarms given out- it's the little number that is most important. "To this date, we have 41 reported lives saved," proclaims Stephenie Young, development associate with the National...