When you have young kids, one thing you quickly become an expert on is playgrounds. I sometimes feel as though my family is really just on a never-ending hunt for the perfect one. I couldn’t even guess how many playgrounds I’ve been to in the U.S., and I think we’ve already been to at least a dozen or so here in England. So I thought it might be fun to do a little UK vs. U.S. playground throw-down. Who does it better?
Swings: Advantage UK
The swings are my favorite part of any playground, mostly because when my children on in them, I can actually stand still and have a conversation with another adult while I push them. In England, you often find these giant swinging baskets. Both my kids fit inside (sometimes even more kids would fit!) and they can swing together in one. I’ve seen older kids stand on them for added challenge. You can swing back and forth, spin, etc. Loads of fun.
But… if you’ve got a baby, you’d much prefer the U.S. baby swings. The baby swings here don’t look very safe for the very young ones like those in the U.S.
Ages 1-3: Advantage U.S.
One of the struggles I have here is that at many of the playgrounds we visit, there isn’t much that my 1-year-old can master. And he’s a very brave little guy. But often the climbing structures are just too advanced or the slides are too steep for him. I miss the emphasis on toddler equipment that most US playgrounds offered.
Ages 4+: Advantage UK
The playgrounds here, in general, are far more physically challenging and adventurous than those in the US. There is usually a lot of equipment to test your balance, to climb to high heights, etc. It makes me a little nervous to see my 4-year-old try to navigate some of the trickier things, but I also know it’s very good for his physical development. There’s even a fun zipline at our village playground that I enjoy going for a ride on!
Quantity: Advantage U.S.
I found there to be a lot more playgrounds in the U.S. than I find around our home here in England. Certainly, there isn’t a shortage of parks here, and we are lucky to live in a village that offers a playground. But within just a few miles of my home in the U.S., I had about 5 playgrounds to choose from. Not so here. Obviously there just isn’t as much cheap land available here for such things. I will say, however, that I really appreciate that there is often a playground of some type at many major sightseeing attractions, like National Trust properties. It makes visiting some of those places much more fun and relaxing for families.
So who comes out on top? Everyone. Because who doesn’t love a good playground?