10 Things We Want to See in Adult Playgrounds


Energy-harvesting Playground Equipment

Imagine if every rotation of the merry-go-round produced power for nearby streetlamps. It could be a reality in the not-so-distant future.  ©BananaStock/Thinkstock
Imagine if every rotation of the merry-go-round produced power for nearby streetlamps. It could be a reality in the not-so-distant future. ©BananaStock/Thinkstock

Energy-harvesting playground equipment is pretty much exactly what it sounds like -- playground equipment that is capable of collecting and storing energy. The kinetic energy from your movements could be used to power everything from outdoor playground lighting to possibly even nearby buildings, depending on how many people use the energy-harvesting equipment (the more people working out, the more electricity generated and collected).

Does this sound far-fetched and futuristic? Designers and engineers are already hard at work on the technology. And just how much electricity can you generate while you're on the playground? When you're engaged in moderate-intensity exercise, you generate about 50 watts of electricity in one hour [source: California Fitness]. In the future, the answer to an energy crisis could be as simple as child's play -- literally.

Author's Note: 10 Things We Want to See in Adult Playgrounds

You know what surprised me most of all as I begin researching all of the possibilities for this article? All the benefits of hopscotching. I loved playing hopscotch when I was a kid, but as I sat here reminiscing about recess I found I couldn't actually remember the rules of the game. And do kids today still play hopscotch? What I came away with, in the end, is that none of us, young and old, are hopscotching, and that's a shame -- not only because it's such a fun way to be active, but because you can easily throw down a court with nothing but a piece of chalk.

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