Playground slide

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Slide in Valparaíso as an integral part of the square architecture
"The Golem" - a giant monster with three red tongues protruding from its mouth, which serve as playground slides, Jerusalem, made by the sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle

Playground slides are found in parks, schools, playgrounds and backyards. The slide is an example of the simple machine known as the inclined plane,[1][circular reference] which makes moving objects up and down easier, or in this case more fun. The slide may be flat, or half cylindrical or tubular to prevent falls. Slides are usually constructed of plastic or metal and they have a smooth surface that is either straight or wavy. The user, typically a child, climbs to the top of the slide via a ladder or stairs and sits down on the top of the slide and slides down the chute.

In Australia, the playground slide is known as a slide, slippery slide, slipper slide or slippery dip depending on the region. Sliding pond or sliding pon (a corruption of "slide upon") is a term used in the New York City area,[2] whereas sliding board is used in the Philadelphia area and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic.[3]


Schoolchildren on a slide at the East Texas State Normal College Training School in 1921

The earliest known playground slide was erected in the playground of Washington DC's "Neighborhood House" sometime between the establishment of the "Neighborhood House" in early 1902 and the publication of an image of the slide on August 1, 1903 in Evening Star (Washington DC)[4][5] The first bamboo slide at Coney Island opened for business in May 1903, so it is unclear which slide was first – the playground slide or the amusement park slide.[6]

Early slides were frequently referred to as "Slide, Kelly, Slide" (after the song of the same name), "Helter Skelter" (after the slide at Coney Island), or "Shoot the Chutes" (after the water slide made famous by "Captain" Paul Boyton).[7]

The manufacturer, Wicksteed, ballyhoo claim that the playground slide was invented by founder, Charles Wicksteed, and installed in Wicksteed Park in 1922,[8] The discovery of Wicksteed's oldest slide was announced by the company in 2013.[9]

However, this has been countered by a 1916-07-25 US Patent[10] and others who refer to a roof-top slide in NYC around 1900,[11] the nursery slide of the young Tsar Alexei,[12] at Alexander Palace in Tsarkoye Selo built around 1910, the 45-foot (13.7 m) slide at the Smith Memorial Playground in Philadelphia, which was installed in 1904 (renovated and reopened in 2005), or the Coney Island Slide around 1905.[13][14]

Indeed, Arthur Leyland's book "Playground Technique and Playcraft", volume 1, originally published in 1909 and revised in 1913, gives full instructions for the construction of a metal playground slide.[15]


Here is a list of slide styles:[16]

  • A spiral slide is a playground slide that is wrapped around a central pole to form a descending spiral forming a simple helter skelter.
  • A wavy slide is a slide that has waves in its shape, causing the person sliding to go up and down slightly while descending.
  • A tube slide is simply a slide in the form of a tube. It can also curve or have bumps.
  • A straight slide is a flat slide that just goes down at a slight angle.
  • Amusement-park slides are just larger versions of the playground slide, much higher and with multiple parallel slideways. Participants may be provided with a sack to sit on to reduce friction for higher speeds and to protect clothing.
  • Drop slides are slides with a vertical or nearly vertical drop (nicknamed the death slide or free-fall slide).
  • Water slides are a type of slide that water goes down to create a slippery slide; found near water, generally in water parks or pools.
  • Inflatable Slides are a type of slide that is continuously blown up by an exterior blower. The air flow allows the slide to be softer than traditional slides. They are also used on airplanes during an emergency evacuation and they are known as evacuation slides.

There are several other different types and styles of slides.

Slides can also be sub-classified as either free-standing slides, slides that stand on their own, or composite slides, which are slides that are connected to another or several pieces of playground equipment.


Playground slides are associated with several types of injury. The most obvious is that when a slide is not enclosed and is elevated above the playground surface, then users may fall off and incur bumps, bruises, sprains, broken bones, or traumatic head injuries. Some materials, such as metal, may become very hot during warm, sunny weather. Plastic slides can also be vulnerable to melting by arson.

Some efforts to keep children safe on slides may do more harm than good. Rather than letting young children play on slides by themselves, some parents seat the children on the adult's lap and go down the slide together.[17] If the child's shoe catches on the edge of the slide, however, this arrangement frequently results in the child's leg being broken.[17] If the child had been permitted to use the slide independently, then this injury would not happen, because when the shoe caught, the child would have stopped sliding rather than being propelled down the slide by the adult's weight.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Inclined plane".
  2. ^ Gold (1981).
  3. ^ "Dialects of English". Shippensburg University. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  4. ^ "Early Sports and Pop Culture History Blog: Cellar Doors and Trolleys - the History of Playground Slides". 21 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Settlement Houses: An Introduction". 19 January 2011.
  6. ^ Jensen-Brown, Peter (21 August 2017). "Cellar Doors and Trolleys – the History of Playground Slides". Early Sports 'n' Pop-Culture History Blog. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  7. ^ Jensen-Brown, Peter (21 August 2017). "Cellar Doors and Trolleys – the History of Playground Slides". Early Sports 'n' Pop-Culture History Blog. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  8. ^ "World's first children's slide". BBC. 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  9. ^ ""Is this the oldest swing in the world?"". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  10. ^ "Playground-slide".
  11. ^ "Rooftop Playground, NYC, c. 1900". 12 June 2008.
  12. ^ "Tsarevitch Slide, Tsarskoye Selo, c. 1910". 28 December 2009.
  13. ^ "Coney Island Playground Slide 1905". 2 October 2009.
  14. ^ "World's First Playground Slide, says the Daily Mail? Not". Playscapes. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  15. ^ Leland, Arthur; Leland, Lorna Higbee (1913-01-01). Playground technique and playcraft. Doubleday, Page.
  16. ^ "Different Types and Benefits of Playground Slides | AAA State of Play". Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  17. ^ a b c Parker-Pope, Tara (23 April 2012). "Well: At Playground, Child Plus Lap Can Equal Danger". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-24.


  • Gold, David L. (1 January 1981). "Three New-York-Cityisms: Sliding Pond, Potsy, and Akey". American Speech. 56 (1): 17–32. doi:10.2307/454476. JSTOR 454476.