SBS Guide to: Terrible Playground Games

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Published on : June 8, 2016


I don’t want to sound too much like the mean old man on the block but remember when jungle gyms were covered in rough substances like gravel, wood chips and broken glass? Go to a park these days and you’ll find some strange rubber tire substance that feels like you are walking on the moon. But the moon is a dodgeball.


During school, you only get so much time outside (just like prison). It’s a valuable resource you want to spend on a quality playground game. Some are playing Tag, others build in the sandbox. You better decide quick because that line for the slide is growing. Either way, you don’t want to get stuck messing with any of the activities below. These are the worst things on the playground… other than the bullies.




What an awful creation. Some idiot was like “what if we tie a ball to a stick, but like a really big stick?” and boom! Playgrounds across America are littered with these trash poles. I would never let my daughter strip on one of these. I do see the merit of a cheap game with self-contained parts, but it feels like not a ton of thought went into it. It sucks that this was one of the few recess options for some of us.





Another stinker. Again, I like the simple space-saving design but that’s all it has. What’s the challenge? Using one foot and then switching to using two? Who is this hard for? Maybe peg-legged pirates. Are there lots of pirates on playgrounds? And part of the game is you toss a stone or something. Are we teaching kids to throw rocks? WTF. This game sucks. Now go hop and get me a scotch, neat. And then let’s go see if any swings are available.


Monkey Bars



First, the name is super misleading. Because if there was a real bar, where a monkey in a vest served me a drink, my head would explode. And I’d go broke spending every red cent I had in there. But this open-ended cage is really just a bunch of pull-up bars welded together. I’m six, my upper body strength is dogshit. Why is this here? Plus, every other kid has a brutal fall off these things. Go ahead, ask anyone you know if they are ever fallen off (or got pushed off) the monkey bars. I bet at least half the people have. Or maybe all those kids died and the world is now only populated by people who avoided the monkey bars?


Whatever this is

Playground rocking horse


Seriously. A rocking horse mounted crudely to truck shocks? Brilliant. This feels like something s serial killer would make out of old car parts and keep in their front yard. How fun, you can lean forward and back. This is like the amish version of those cheap kiddie rides you see outside the movie theater. I’ll take the merry-go-round over this 100 times out of a 100. Hell, maybe even the seesaw. Or teeter-totter for our Canadian friends.


Playgrounds have changed a lot over time but the classics still remain. Your slides, swings and sandboxes. These are HOF pieces of equipment. Thankfully for us and the future, some of those terrible games are starting to finally die off. What part of recess was your least favorite? Let me know in the comments.


You’re it.



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