Playground Mulch and Other Lessons

My kids are twelve and sixteen now and they still love climbing on things. I keep waiting for them to outgrow it because it makes me so nervous. My daughter has always played on top of slides and playground equipment, rather than utilize the swings, rings, and actual functions, and my son has taken to jumping off the top of the swings and over the trampoline net to land on the trampoline.  The “what ifs” in those scenarios run rampant through my mind. My Mom was a “what iffer” and I hated it. I cannot believe I have become one!

I have vivid memories of being just like my daughter and the favorite parts of my swingset not being the “toy” parts, but rather the connecting and load bearing bars and poles. Hanging, swinging, and climbing along those were the best part! I imagined I was a gymnast in the Olympics. I did fall down on occasion and get scraped up, but thanks to companies like Rubbercycle, kids today have it a little easier.

I have noticed recycled rubber mulch around commercial type play areas before but didn’t realize that its usage goes beyond school playground safety. I didn’t pay much attention to what it was or consider that I could have it at my house too!

I have seen people landscape their playscape areas with traditional mulch and I thought that was pretty fancy. The grass around the swings and slides see so much traffic that anything looks better than bare spots worn in the grass. It also makes mowing easier. We have to move the trampoline all over the yard to mow and prevent grass dying underneath. Playground mulch makes such good sense. Rubber mulch is a bonus!

Not only is the ground covered, more attractive,  and easier to maintain, but it provides more cushion for the kids. Is it going to protect my kid when she falls down from tight rope walking across the top beam of the swing set? No. But I suppose that’s where the “parent supervision” part comes into play. :)  But for protecting knees and elbows and faces from the normal wear and tear associated with playground playing, it’s great! AND the bonus bonus is that it’s environmentally responsible, made from recycled tires!

I wish I could say that “the dangers” of playing on jungle gyms was my only “what if” habit. But it’s not. It has spread from what they eat, where they go, who they hang out with, what they watch on television, the video games, and worst of all – going to school. “What if she spends her lunch money on cake?” “What if the kids pick on her?” “What if she tells her teacher how much I swear at home?”  … So many scenarios! Sigh. I don’t know.

My son turned it around on me one day. Whatever the situation was I can’t remember, but when I over reacted with “what if?” He said, “You’re right Ma. Let’s think about this. “What if?” I don’t know if I simply had a brain freeze from having it turned on me and put on the spot or what – but I really couldn’t think of any consequences that bad. Or that likely. It was like the time he made me realize that my default answer to everything was, “No.” I don’t like letting him know he makes a good point here and there. I don’t need a power shift at this point! He’s already getting taller and bigger than me. I need to maintain SOME ground here! :)

What every day stuff do you worry about most with your kids? What kind of lessons have your children taught you?