Everything you need to know about… playground slides

As one of the most popular elements in a playground, the history of slides is disputed. It has been claimed that the first slide was created in the UK in 1922 out of timber boards. However, those on the other side of the pond in the USA believe the original slide was on a rooftop in New York City. In fact, Arthur Leyland published a book, “Playground Technique and Playcraft Vol 1” in 1909 instructing how to create a metal slide.

Whatever the background, it is a common sight to see a line of children queuing up to fly down the steel or plastic slide. As with every playground product, the design has evolved from a basic straight slide to twisty tunnels, inflatables, “drop” slides and bannister slides.

The slide has many various names for it around the word, such as Sliding Pon or sliding board in various areas of America.

The type of slide suitable for a playground is dependent on the landscape. The basic principle of a play area slide is that a user drops from a height to the ground, so for example an embankment slide could be used in an area of land that isn’t flat. This is a great way of making use of a patch of land that would otherwise be difficult to make use of. Accompany the slide with a decking climbing ramp and you have the perfect activity. Artificial grass can also be laid down to allow children to make use of the play equipment throughout the year.

Slides are commonly also found on climbing frames, with those larger climbing units, allowing for more elaborate designs. These units most often use tube slides due to the safety aspect, but the tunnels also offer an excitement factor of not being able to see where the user is going. As children love being adventurous the more twists and turns the better! For added safety clear plastic windows can be added to keep an eye on users if required.

Nowadays slides tend to be part of another piece of play equipment, but either as part of something else or a standalone item, slides and an essential piece of any play area.

Want to know what it’s like to go down the tallest slide in the world? Check out this video of someone going down the The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London!

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