Talk to any old person about the trials of modern-day life, and it won't be long before they start looking wistful for "the good old days." Perhaps they'll even tell you about how "they don't make 'em like they used to." Well, we're here to remind you that sometimes it's better that things have moved on. Just take one look at these playgrounds from the early 20th century, and you'll wonder how anybody made it out of them alive!
Made it, Ma! Top of the world!
Do you know what parents and carers love to watch their children do? Climb to the top of a 15-foot-high metal frame that has no protective flooring beneath it! It's even better when the whole place is crowded with other kids jostling for attention.
Mind you, there isn't a single grown-up to be seen in this turn-of-the-20th-century picture, so maybe it was okay. Perhaps the oversized hats, jackets, and shorts that these New York City kids are wearing stopped them from getting injured?
Home-made trampoline on a roof? Why not!
The three boys at the bottom of this picture are seemingly witnessing the very last moments of Larry Schwanzer's life... We kid, we kid! As far as we know, no children were hurt in the making of this 1951 photograph.
It's a pity we can't see the homemade trampoline that Schwanzer and his friends had created on the roof of the Madison Square Boys' Club. But the very fact that they've been allowed to construct, and indeed use, a homemade trampoline on a rooftop is enough to give any parent or carer sleepless nights.
Teetering on madness
Whether you call it a teeter-totter, a see-saw, or a teeterboard, we can all agree that the Overbrook School for the Blind took things a step too far with this design. The kids look like they're ready to spill overboard at any moment.
The device does at least seem to be on some kind of track, so it isn't going to go rolling away all of a sudden. But we still can't imagine this bit of kit becoming a fixture on playgrounds these days, even if the kids do look like they're having the time of their lives.
Gas masks at recess
It's always disturbing to see kids in gas masks, but it's somehow even more surreal when they're pictured in gas masks in playgrounds. It says so much about the lost innocence that must have been such a concern during WWII.
Around this time, kids were having gas mask drills at school where they'd practice putting the masks on and breathing in them. Historians report that children would often view their gas masks as objects of fun: this picture seems to confirm that.