Something caught my attention in this children’s playground in our neighborhood, where my kids used to play long years ago.
Back then the slide was made of metal, but the new one works just fine. However, back then the slide ended in a large sandbox, which was a major attraction in its own right. Kids would dig, build sand castles, mess around and have fun.
Not any more, as you can see: the sand has been replaced with some green rubbery material. This must have seemed a great idea – clean, easy to maintain, resilient and safe. However, consider this line from Wikipedia:
Sandpits encourage the imagination and creativity of children by providing materials and space to build several structures such as sandcastles; use toy trucks, shovels, and buckets to move the sand around; dig holes and bury objects, etc. In other words, the sand provides a medium in which children can pretend to explore, construct, and destroy the world in three dimensions.
With this ersatz version, kids can do none of these things. They can stay clean and hygienic, certainly; and safe, so nobody gets sued.
Still,my kids, and my own generation, and countless others before it, have managed quite well with the sand.