spielplatz!

Berlin playgrounds (spielplatzen) are wondrous. In this neighbourhood, they’re on almost every corner. And they’re all different. I keep wondering how it’s done. Are they designed and funded by the city? Do local residents tax themselves to maintain them? Are other neighbourhoods like this or did we land in a kid-friendly Berlin anomaly? I can’t figure it out without some language classes and at least a few more months here. But I can admire them and I share my wonderment online.

The pirate ship is a daily favourite:

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Scary (for them) but fun (for them) is the tilted spinning wheel:

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This is where they tread carefully while the big kids fly past them:

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The tilting turning tire swing. It wobbles as it spins. Can it get any better?

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It can. Come on: trampolines?! This is a town that knows how to have fun. And not sue each other.

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I’m just getting warmed up. Next are the sand chutes, complete with pulley systems:

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What’s this – a water wheel? Yes, with a pump.

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You like thrills? Try this ginormous slide on for size:

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Can’t take any more fun? Ready to sit back under the trees with a cappuccino (“cup of chino” says Akka) while the kids keep on playing? Head here:

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And if it’s raining or the kids don’t want to play with the tricycles and rolling toys outside, bring your coffee inside where half of the cafe is a sandbox.

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Pause. It’s too much to take. But there’s more.

The playground maintenance infrastructure is impressive. At the two or three spielplatzen near our apartment, we often run into a guy who walks around sweeping sand back into the sand pits and picking up garbage. Once, a woman with a clipboard and digital camera came through inspecting each piece of equipment – including the bolts on the swings my children were sitting on – and catalogued anything that needed repair or replacement. And once, we arrived at the playground to find that the traveling kinder-circus-playground-enhancement van had arrived. They had stilts. They had hand-pedal bikes. They had an apparatus that allowed kids to do what looked very much like rolling along a luggage rack while sitting on a cafeteria tray. They had ropes hanging from trees. They had a rolling-walker thing that I really wanted to try. I thought I’d be scooting around the park but I only managed a few jolting steps while not spilling my beer. I’m a very good stilt-walker, however, which helped with the embarrassment.

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And when the fun is just too much to bear, Malli is always up for driving us home in the train.

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9 responses to “spielplatz!

  1. Alice Birnbaum

    OMG, those parks are speilplatztic! Our park is great and all, but I still have to bring my own coffee or wine, depending on the time of day …

  2. this makes me want to cry, i love it so much! the indoor sandbox/cafe puts it over the top.

  3. just awesome.

    I want to play in those parks!!

  4. I want to drink beer in the park, too! Boo for Toronto’s no-open-beer-in-public-places laws. Berlin rocks!

  5. being out here on the wet coast the inside/out play looks fantastic…what an adventure…

  6. those are the coolest playgrounds I have ever seen!! The playgrounds in our neighbourhood are so cookie-cutter…and boring!

  7. Pingback: when bad children happen to good apartments « Chapter Four

  8. My wee kids have been hanging over my shoulder drooling at the parks…..now they want to go visit Berlin 🙂
    And a sandpit in the cafe …every parents wish 🙂
    What a wonderful kid friendly place to spend the summer:-)

  9. You had me at “beer in the park”…..we leave for Germany tomorrow 😉

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