Multi-generational play proves popular abroad

Pingpong Multi generational play proves popular abroad

Throughout my career, I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to many different places.  A common thread among my trips is that almost every city I’ve visited has a large park with playgrounds, picnic areas, swimming pools, baseball and soccer fields — something for everyone.

What I have found interesting during my recent trips to Israel and Hungary, was the placement of small playgrounds next to adult equipment.

In Budapest, we found a small park filled with families.  Alongside it were concrete ping pong tables, which were occupied by adults playing, people waiting their turn and those just having fun watching.

In Tel Aviv, we found multiple small playgrounds adjacent to fitness trails, which are similar to Playworld Systems’ LifeTrail.

The exciting thing about these small neighborhood parks is they offer activities and equipment for children as well as adults.  The parks teach some great lessons.  First of all, parents have the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of exercise and play.  Research tells us that when parents show their children that these things are important to them, children grow to continue to play and exercise.

The other interesting thing that happens when there are multiple things to do for various age groups is that parents move further away from their children and are not hovering and over supervising their play.  This allows children to challenge themselves without parents excessively worrying about safety.  We know   it’s important to learn to take risks, to fail and try again, and to experiment.   Americans can learn an important lesson from these other countries.  We should encourage our parks and recreation departments to design multi-generational play areas.  Is there one in your area?


  1. kathyweemer | September 9, 2011

    What a fantastic idea!

    It is all too often that parents and grandparents become disconnected fro their children, especially in the internet age where children can find an e-friend in 5 minutes online. It is very sad.

    My hubby and I take an active part in our childrens’ lives and specifically have 2 nights a week where we have kids night – where they get to choose what we all do together as a family.

    I encourage more parents to go out and have fun with their children, by bonding with them we can help to positively shape their future – and ours!


  2. Sam Jahor | September 18, 2011

    The older I get, the more I realize that making mistakes is perhaps the fastest way to learn. At least, if you are the type of person that learns from your mistakes.

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