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The trashy playground every child dreams of
One man's trash is another's playground. At the FreeRange playground in the US, cardboard boxes, old tyres, plastic baskets and PVC pipe are used to create a play space childhood dreams are made of.
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You may or may not have heard about the curious items that end up in Cape Town's sewerage system. 

In a bid to reduce the rising number of sewerage system blockages, the City of Cape Town released an official statement advising community members to refrain from dumping certain items into the sewers, reported News24

The list included ovens, garden chairs, tyres, cloth, car engines, lawnmowers and rope. 

How or why these items found their way into the sewage is beyond me, but a playground initiative in the USA – the FreeRange playground – could be the answer to some of our blockage woes. 

The park is situated in Denver, Colorado and uses items we'd normally not know what to do with, à la those frequently dumped items, repurposing them to create a safe playground. 


Do we need play parks like these in SA or are there too many potential risks? Tell us your opinion by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

With the exclusion of glass, metal and any potentially dangerous materials, nothing is off limits, and children can create, break and reimagine the items as they see fit. 

"Children are naturally creative, curious, and capable... we provide unstructured play spaces which enable kids to cultivate these traits, helping them to become confident and independent adults," note the creators via their website

And since most children end up playing with toy packages and appliance boxes anyhow, this just may be the playground of their dreams. 

On the potential for hurting themselves, the FreeRange playground argue that the difference between hazard and risk is key here: 

"A hazard is something a child does not see that could harm them, such as a sharp nail poking out of a plank of wood. A risk is a challenge a child can see and choose to undertake or not. Eliminating risk leads to a child’s inability to assess danger, and a decreased sense of self-reliance and confidence." 

Zoë Gauld-Angelucci, Head of Communications at the Cape Town-based environmental NGO Greenpop, told Parent24 that the playground is a great initiative. 

"It is incredibly encouraging to see objects that are generally regarded as waste - tyres, packaging, scrap fabric - being used to create an interactive space for children to play freely. Fostering a spirit of gratitude and creativity when it comes to everyday objects, even those intended for single-use, is perhaps one of the best ways to raise a future generation of conscious consumers."

Here's what it looks like:

Do we need play parks like these in SA or are there too many potential risks? Are we perhaps too cautious in letting our kids take calculated risks? Tell us your opinion by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

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