Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Playgrounds... of the Future

Some friends and I found ourselves-- like so many times before-- bored on a Saturday night in the suburban streets of Ossining, NY.

We walked down to the train station (because we were bored) and discovered that the old river-side playground that used to be full of those old, dangerous wooden structures had been replaced by brand-new, ultra-dangerous, plastic and metal structures.

Upon entering the playground, a small sign instructs children to segregate themselves by age: 2-5 year-old's to the right, 5-12 year-old's to the left. The play equipment is all spidery and metal, a strange rainforest of poles and wobbly plastics, a sci-fi playground of bugs.

And there, in the middle, was the Supernova.

According to the website of its makers, the Kompan corporation, the Supernova is a "large, slanting ring to be set in motion by the children. Turning, spinning, balancing or just enjoying the ride are among the countless play options of the Supernova."

Another more obvious and less marketable "play option" of the Supernova is a sadistic balance-battle royal... a game we immediately grew addicted to. Since discovering the Supernova, we've returned to the playground three times, mostly at night, and spent hours trying to knock each other off this sinister spinning monster that by day masquerades as a children's toy.

There's no doubt that the Supernova is fun... but I can't imagine how it could possibly be approved as a safe choice for children.

For more information about this fiendish device, or to a video of a kid falling off it, visit http://www.kompan.com/sw40685.asp.

No comments: