View Full Version : What age do kids stop playing in playgrounds?

09-04-2018, 12:18 AM
I know nothing about kids. Never had any, never babysat... but Iím writing a story in which two parents bring their child to the playground and it would be very very long to explain everything but I have to decide how old the child could be. So Iím wondering what age a child stops being interested in playgrounds because I need to make her as old as possible without it being weird for a kid her age to play in a playground.

09-04-2018, 02:10 AM
My fourteen-year-old is still happy enough at the playgrounds we frequent with his seven-year-old brother...so long as they have nice some older/taller equipment. Things like high climbing frames, zip wires and decent swings. Even better if it has a skateboarding section. It can depend on the playground itself though, and what play equipment they have and the age of the other kids there. He can get bored if there's only stuff there for smaller children. But when that happens he generally disappears to a quite spot with his phone ;)

09-04-2018, 02:16 AM
I agree with the older/taller equipment. I used to love playgrounds when I was five, but now I've outgrown everything. If the equipment was bigger, I'm certain you could make the child older.

Chris P
09-04-2018, 03:09 AM
As a regular thing, when I moved up to middle school and no longer had recess, so about age 12. As an irregular thing, off and on at opportunity but it was more of a meeting place with friends than playing on the equipment.

09-04-2018, 03:13 AM
You can be to old to play on a playground? My local park has a lovely "exercise" walk, a walking path with a dozen different stops featuring monkey bars, low balance beams, and assorted other items for "exercising." It's a playground for adults. You're never too old to enjoy a good swing, or (if I could only find one... you don't see them around anymore) a merry-go-round. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6og0LGudozo)

09-04-2018, 03:13 AM
Playing around in the playground is different than being brought TO the playground by parents to play, imo. That I'd put a cap of like... I dunno, 6 or 7 on probably.

09-04-2018, 03:19 AM
Playing around in the playground is different than being brought TO the playground by parents to play, imo. That I'd put a cap of like... I dunno, 6 or 7 on probably.

Ah, good point. I spent time at our local playground when I was older than that, but my older brother was forced to accompany me, and when I got a bit older, I went alone. Also, it was a small town with little to do, and video games weren't a thing yet, so my choices of hangout were the front yard, the open desert, or the playground.

Siri Kirpal
09-04-2018, 03:24 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

We lived cattycorner from our elementary school. I was eldest and occasionally accompanied my brothers to its playground (which we could access in those halcyon days) until I was about 10.


Siri Kirpal

09-04-2018, 03:27 AM
Depending on your story, consider that the child, even if outgrowing a 'little kid' playground, might still want to 'go to the playground' because it's the only outing they have with both parents where the focus is the family, not a chore or errand.
And, I agree with Cornflake, there's a big difference between hanging out at a playground with your friends, and being 'taken' there by your parents. Perhaps determine the age at which your parents would feel safe letting the child out on it's own.

Alessandra Kelley
09-04-2018, 03:31 AM
My kids enjoyed making excuses to go hang out on the swings until they were fourteen or fifteen and felt a little too selfconsciously big, I think.

09-04-2018, 06:19 AM
When my dad was a student, we lived in Student Housing. There were two playgrounds in our apartment complex. One of them was sized more for little kids-- like swings with safety seats, sandbox, that sort of thing-- and one was sized more for older kids-- regular swings, full-sized slides, etc. So the playground we went to depending on what assortment of siblings were going-- when it was us older kids, we'd go to what we called the Black Playground (because the swings were black), and when we were taking our toddler-aged sibling along, we'd go to the Blue Playground (because the swings were blue).

Parents taking someone to the playground is more likely when they're smaller, though. Generally, you have to go out of your way to give someone a treat-- so you'd want to make sure the treat you give coincides with the interests of the person who's receiving it. Someone who's thoughtful enough to take their kid to a playground is going to be thoughtful enough to know whether the kid thinks the playground is a fun place to be. :)

I don't specifically remember "outgrowing" play equipment, because we lived in Student Housing between 3rd-7th grade. It had bike paths, and playground equipment, and big courtyards, and stuff like that, so it was easy to go outside and do stuff and not worry about traffic or crossing streets. However, I do remember around 7th/8th grade, when we moved, there was a kid who used to like racing me from Bldg A to Bldg B when we changed classes, and after racing him a few times, I started feeling really self-conscious about running around and having fun when everyone else was plodding at a walk. So that was around age 12/13.

Quentin Nokov
09-04-2018, 07:36 PM
Heck, I'm 26 and would still play on playgrounds if I wasn't bonking my head on everything. :roll:So this question really depends on the equipment. My sister and I actually enjoyed being on the swing-set a lot and we were still going to the park for the swing-sets until we were like 22-23. Basically once my sister got her driver's license, mom stopped taking us. Some little preteen nit-twits were talking crude around us on the playground and that pretty much ended it for us. I mean, the kid was like, 12 and he was talking like a vulgar, sex-addict adult. We had our dad build a swing-set in our backyard so I haven't been there in years. I was never one to feel self-conscious about being on the swing-set as an adult (but the playground was often empty too) so it depends on the kids mentality.

The wooden playground we had (which was flippin' awesome) I grew out of probably around 10 years of age because everything was built for kids under, like, four feet tall. So I physically grew out of it, mentally though. . . . . Lol.

Also my brother and I would go to the school park to play hockey on the black top when I was 14-16 years old, he's 6 years older than me so he was like 20-22. He took me there and we played. There's a lot of stuff that can be done at a playground that isn't necessarily age specific. I've seen a lot of adults come to use the basketballs hoops. You could pretty much choose any age you want.

How over protective are the parents? How far away is the park? I could easily see a parent taking their teenager to the park to play hockey or basketball, especially if the park is a long walk or the parents are helicopter parents and just sit in the car while the kids shoot hoops.

If you're talking strictly slides, swings, tunnels, merry-go-round, etc. 12 years old might be a good cap-off for that. 12 is when your almost a teenager, so it's like the last year of being a "kid". They start getting more self-conscious about their actions and feel like they need to grow up a little more even if they're not ready and so they start giving up the "little kid" activities.

Larry M
09-05-2018, 05:01 AM
My kids stopped going to playgrounds at about age 9 or 10.

09-05-2018, 05:49 AM
We used to play on playgrounds sometimes when I was in college, but I seem to remember that around pre-teen age--maybe 11-12--going through a stage where we wanted to be frightfully grown up and not be associated with anything that was for "little kids." I seem to recall some older kids hanging out at the local parks and bullying kids at the playgrounds when was 8-9 too.

I do see sometimes kids out at the local middle school tossing balls around, riding skateboards etc. That's not really a playground, though. When I think of playgrounds, I think of special play areas with those forts, swing sets, climbing bars, merry go rounds etc. Sometimes kids segue from the playgrounds to other facilities at the local park, like sports areas, skate parks etc.

When I walk at the local park with a play area, I see mostly parents with younger kids, like maybe 8 and under, and few older, unescorted kids. I can't help wondering whether or not kids stop playing on playgrounds earlier now, because they spend more time indoors, playing video games, and online or with their phones. Plus, in middle-class suburbia at least, kids are shunted into a host of structured activities (youth sports and so on) after school and on weekends, so they don't have a lot of time to just hang out somewhere with their friends.

I'm not a parent, though. People with kids can probably provide the most current feedback about the age when theirs did, but it might vary with the kids in question and with geography. Kids in small towns may be allowed out without parental supervision at a younger age, for instance, and there may be fewer structured activities taking their time up on weekends and after school (and less to do in general). They may hang out on playgrounds at a later age.

09-05-2018, 10:32 AM
You can make the kids any age you want near enough. How the parents interact with the kids at the park would be different based on their age. Age 1-3 you kind of need to be in close proximity to them and help them do a lot of stuff. Age 3-6 you can mostly let them get on with it and try not to be a helicopter parent, but they still want to interact with you and show you stuff they can do. Age 7+ you can find a nice bench somewhere and do your own thing and they'll run over or yell if they want you (usually to show you something new they learned how to do).

Playing around in the playground is different than being brought TO the playground by parents to play, imo. That I'd put a cap of like... I dunno, 6 or 7 on probably.

My kids are 8 and 12 and we still make family trips to various parks, usually with some kind of sports stuff (cricket set, rugby ball) but sometimes just to go to the playground. Even if we go there to kick a ball around they will still want to make a detour to the playground part of the park for at least half of the time we're there. And I've been known to play on the playground equipment with them, as long as there's no sign explicitly forbidding those under a given age from using the equipment.

At what age kids can go to parks on their own depends on how easy it is to get to the park (e.g. busy roads etc). The limiting factor is usually whether they can get there and back safely; not every family has a park within a safe walking distance. That's before you get to issues like antisocial behaviour from older teens and adults who sometimes will hang around in parks if it's a rough area.

09-10-2018, 08:10 PM
Somewhere around death. The playgrounds just get bigger and the toys get more expensive.


09-10-2018, 08:26 PM
I don't think kids are ever too old to use some of the playground equipment. I can often be caught climbing around after my nieces and nephew.

However, being brought to the playground by her parents is a little different from just playing there.

I'd cap that around maybe 8-9 years. After that, the kid is going to expect a little more independence.

Debbie V
09-25-2018, 01:16 AM
My 17 year old would be on a swing set all day if possible. She asked to walk down from the beach this summer. The only difference between now and when she was 12 or 13 was I let her go by herself. I see teens on swings all the time. Whether parents go to depends on how safe the area is, how safe the trip between is, and how savvy the kid is.