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I was talking to someone here awhile back, discussing the differences or lack of differences between Germany and America. I made the comment, "Sometimes, I think if I'd just been plopped here, if my ears were shut, I wouldn't know that I was in another country, but simply some large town still in the States."

"Really?" Was the incredulous reply. "I feel like the parks are enough to distinguish us."

Without a moment of thought, I knew she was right. Even when I first came here it was the first thing I noticed ... that and the placement of the traffic lights. So, yes. If I were simply dropped into Germany I might not realize myself to be in another country at once, but as soon as I would begin to walk I around it wouldn't be long before I ran into a park. 

And then it would be clear that I was no longer in the States, but some strange and fascinating land.

Children's play areas are everywhere. 

And by that I mean literally. Just around my close vicinity there has to be at least fifteen or more parks I can easily take the children to.
The first thing I noticed about the parks is that they are mostly made of wood, not plastic. Ams that the ground is natural or sand. 

The secons thing I saw is that they are so big. By big, I don't necessarily mean there's a lot to them or that they are spacious. The picture above is one of the "largest" parks I've seen in that regard.

No by big, I mean generous. 

They are higher, and with more scope for imagination. Sometimes they frighten me a little with the younger ones just because the height is so great and I'll stand underneath while children play for fear they'll fall ... If they did fall I don't think it'd be any minor bruise. 
Most of the parks are quite small. But even them they are generous. This park has one of the longest slides I've ever seen on am outdoor park. And then it also has a fantastic rope bridge, pictured below. Those two things, with they many trees all around make for quite a time of fun for children.

This little bit of park is a good example of all the metal and wood, and bridges, and how it's all imaginatively put together. EVERY park is unique.
There are also indoor parks... this one is in a grocery store, of all places. And there are four stories of fun, soft play equipment with still the classic hint at being possibly dangerous and definitely fun.


Another example of children's unique play equipment ... This metal is bendable and moves about as the children climb up it.
 This play ground has a fun water fountain that goes through all those little bowels then down onto the ground over rocks and small dams built of sand by children.
 I LOVE this small this place. It isn't actually a normal play ground, but a special place ran by people that are there when the park is open.

But they give boys (or girls) tools and lumber and let them build these shacks ... isn't that just the neatest idea ever?

That round blue swing seems to be quite common at a lot of parks. And it's great for more than one child to crown onto, and it can go quite fast and high.

Oh. Their parks here also have merri-go-rounds! And one place has a built in ground trampoline. And nets that one can climb up high into the sky ... or so it feels for the child and the one waiting nervously for them down below.

There's one little park of small dirt trails for children to ride their bikes round. There are long logs extended high up over the ground that one can climb until they reach a "lookout".

Very dangerous and totally exhilarating.

If it isn't already clear, I've fallen in love with the German parks and I'm so impressed with them.

I've always been a fan of letting children live and figure out things and not over protecting them. Of course, we can't just let them experiment with dynamite or try every berry or mushroom they see growing. But I do think a little adventure that might end in a scraped knee or scruffed elbows and dirty hair always results in a healthier, happier child.

And I'm always happy to see things surviving that our American Health Department would try and attack. I've heard there are people who don't like some of the German parks, especually the ones where they let children build stuff. And as a result there are lots of regulations for the parks to keep them up to par, such as replacing the wood so often and a whole other string of things I don't know about. I could probably take the time to learn those regulations, but to be honest, I've been too fascinated by the actual parks themselves to take much thought into what goes on behind the scenes.

Of course, now that I type this, I am curious.

Especially to the question, why do German parks appear more free than American? And is this something Americans can learn from ... can we be more receptive in allowing children to have a space to just be a kid and breathe and scream freely?

What do you think? Wouldn't you have had a blast at a German park as a kid? Do you think we could be more receptive to these sort of playgrounds in the States? Would you allow your child to play on one, if you have children? 

Comments

  1. Those play places are so cool! I really wish America was bigger on that.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. We Americans can surely learn from Germany on this account for sure;(

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  2. Oh my gosh this is amazing. As I get older I find I've been gathering a list of things I Won't Do as a Parent (just watch, I'll forget it as soon as my firstborn is a minute old), and one of them is "forbid boys from rough play." It drives me nuts when parents freak out about their kids, especially little boys, running around outside. I feel like these German parks are the antithesis of that American "bubble-wrapping kids."

    (By the by, how is German culture when it comes to families? You mentioned small family sizes, I think? The prevalence of playgrounds makes me wonder if having children, in general, is encouraged.)

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that. Though let your girls play rough too;)

      Having children isn't really encouraged here. A large family has three kids. Average is two. Churches supposedly aren't child friendly, especially Catholic churches. They do have a neat maternity leave system here where even the father can get off work for a new baby and up to three years, not all paid leave though. While the parks are great, so far I don't think of Germany as very child friendly or as a country that's even raising children to be fulfilled adults. But I'll do a longer post on all that another time... probably title it "You don't have to drink the baby's bath water" or "Keep the baby, not the bathwater" or some such idea ;)

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  3. I think I would still like to play on these parks, they look really fun. :D

    astorydetective.blogspot.com

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    1. They are definitely fun. Might be a ways to go just to play on a park... But then maybe still worth it ;)

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  4. I want to play in those parks lol. I never really pictured myself going to Germany before, as i thought i would like other places better. But i really want to visit Germany now :)

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    1. One can always visit more than one place ;) Germany is definitely worth the visit. And someone told me the Berlin parks are even nicer ;)

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  5. J+M+J
    Are those METAL SLIDES???!
    Now why can't they have those in good ol' 'merica?!
    I have always hated slides, even as a little kid... simply because as you go down you get a periodic "ZAP!... ZAP!...ZAP!" And I couldn't stand it, therefore causing me to hate slides. But you don't get that on a metal slide, and of the few I was on in my childhood I loved them.... So yes, to answer your question there at the end, I would have loved German parks, simply because they had metal slides! (Or at least, they certainly appear to from the pictures you posted, if not then I have apparently made a big fuss over nothing... haha, whoops.)

    The Doorman.

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  6. Wow, those parks look like so much fun! It's been a few years since I've been to a park, but I think I would have loved ones like these as a kid! 


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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    Replies
    1. I don't see how any kid couldn't love a park like these ;) you haven't been to a park in years!? You should just go and find a bench to write or study on;)

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