Playground slide

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Playground slide in Japan

Playground slides are found in parks, schools, playgrounds and backyards. 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 and New Zealand the playground slide is known as a slide, slippery slide, slipper slide or slippery dip depending on the region. Sliding pond or sliding pon is a term used in the New York City area,[1] whereas sliding board is used in the Philadelphia area and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic.[2]


Schoolchildren on a slide at the East Texas State Normal College Training School in 1921
Children preparing to use a curving slide in Sacramento, California, 1963

Manufacturers Wicksteed claim that the slide was invented by founder Charles Wicksteed, and the first slide, made of planks of wood, was installed in Wicksteed Park in 1922.[3] The discovery of Wicksteed's oldest slide was announced by the company in 2013.[4]

However, this has been disputed by others who refer to a roof-top slide in NYC c.1900, the nursery slide of the young Tsar Alexei, at Alexander Palace in Tsarkoye Selo built around 1910, the 45-foot (13.7m) slide at the Smith Memorial Playground in Philadelphia which was installed in 1904 (renovated and reopened in 2005), or the c. 1905 Coney Island Slide.[5]

Indeed Arthur Leyland's book Playground Technique and Playcraft Vol 1 originally published in 1909 and revised in 1913 gives full instructions for the construction of a metal playground slide.[6]

Types of slides[edit]

Two slide play system

Here is a list of slide styles:[7]

  • 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 which is 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 are much higher with multiple parallel slideways. Participants may be provided with a sack to sit on to reduce friction for faster speeds and to protect clothing.
  • Drop slides are slides with a verticle or near verticle 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
  • 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.[8] If the child's shoe catches on the edge of the slide, however, this arrangement frequently results in the child's leg being broken.[8] 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.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gold (1981)
  2. ^ "Dialects of English". Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  3. ^ "World's first children's slide". BBC. 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  4. ^ "Is this the oldest swing in the world?"
  5. ^ "World's First Playground Slide, says the Daily Mail? Not. - Playscapes". Playscapes. Retrieved 2016-04-13. 
  6. ^ Leland, Arthur; Leland, Lorna Higbee (1913-01-01). Playground technique and playcraft. Doubleday, Page. 
  7. ^ "Different Types and Benefits of Playground Slides | AAA State of Play". Retrieved 2017-05-12. 
  8. ^ 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.