I admit it. We have several big plastic yard toys, including a climbing structure that used to have a slide, a swing and slide made only for extreme midgets (or two year olds), a teeter-totter shaped like a crocodile and a sand box shaped like a turtle. In fairness we bought exactly zero of these objects. The climbing thing, the "swingset," and the sand box were all given to us by neighbors who didn't have small children anymore and the teeter-totter was brought by my parents who got it at a yard sale.
Still they do clutter up the landscape and they do nothing to improve the looks of the backyard and so I read this article in Slate with a bit of a sigh. My children do play on these toys all the time, using them as houses, hideouts, circuses, ships and other similar things. But as someone who likes to garden and longs for a pretty yard both front and back, I do sometimes wish I didn't have to look at bright colored, ugly plastic things.
Truly, my children who are tall enough also climb the trees in the backyard almost as much as the climbing thing and the sand pile outside the sandbox is used more than the sandbox itself. These two plastic objet d'art are probably going to be the first to be moved on to other locales.
Although I can see that my children would probably be perfectly happy with no big toys in the yard, sometimes I still long to build a pretty wooden play structure in the backyard. That, at least wouldn't be plastic and I know they would play with it. On the other hand, it occurs to me that if we built a backyard playground, my days of throwing all the kids outside including the toddler to roam relatively safely within the confines of the fence would be gone. When I make the decision to take the kids to a park, I am there to watch them and spot the toddler when he chooses to try things far beyond his ability to safely climb alone. When I tell them to give me five minutes of quiet in the house by myself while they play outside, the toddler will still choose to try climbing things that he has no business scaling, but I won't be there to watch him.
Some day the big plastic things may be gone and my yard will be prettier, but they probably won't be replaced with a lovely wooden play structure. My inner laziness saves money and children's skulls!
5 years ago