Gone are the days of a basic slide, swing and seesaw.
Playgrounds now include climbing towers, skate ramps, chill out zones, exercise equipment, looped slides and rocking climbing boards.
Shellharbour City Council has already created fun-filled play spaces at Little Park in Shellharbour and Keith Barnes in Albion Park.
And now four ageing playgrounds will be upgraded and council staff want residents’ input.
Reddall Reserve at Lake Illawarra, Dawes Park at Barrack Point and Mood Park and Frasers Reserve in Albion Park will be upgraded next year.
Shellharbour mayor Marianne Saliba encouraged residents to provide feedback on what type of equipment they wanted to see installed.
“We are reviewing all of our park spaces,” she said. “Some are very popular and are well utilised and others are not.
“With the upgrades, we want to ensure that we build play areas that children and families want to use.
“We will be talking to children at schools and families at the parks.
“Residents need to make comments on the website, not just on social media, so their feedback can be considered.”
Cr Saliba said she wanted to see a “mixture of natural and man-made elements” in the playgrounds.
“We want to install equipment that kids can climb on but we also want them to be able to walk on grass,” Cr Saliba said.
“The flying fox at Little Park was a great hit for adults and children.”
Playgrounds provide many benefits from encouraging people to come together to socialise, there is a chance to meet new people and kids get outside and are active.
“With the obesity epidemic worldwide, kids need to be climbing, running and playing not always having their heads buried in smart phones and iPads,” Cr Saliba said.
Several residents already provided feedback:
Nicole Hill said “soft fall surface, monkey bars, slides, shade, rock climbing, imaginative play space [such as a] shop/pirate ship, swings, climbing rope and jumping” were needed.
A “splash pad, jumping pillow and adventure playground at Reddal Reserve” were also suggested.
Sabrina asked to council to “please provide shade sails for parks. Two parent seats. Please think about fences for the parks because they are on main roads.”
Cr Saliba said the playgrounds would be accessible for children and adults and shaded areas would be considered.
“Shade is always a challenge,” she said. “The point of kids being outside is so they get some Vitamin D.
“We can’t put a shade cloth across the entire playground but there will be some areas of shade perhaps over seated areas.”