21 September 2019
The designs of children’s playground facilities in Hong Kong are overly conservative. Photo:
The designs of children’s playground facilities in Hong Kong are overly conservative. Photo:

Hong Kong children find parks no longer fun

Children’s playground facilities in Hong Kong have placed too much emphasis on safety while their designs are overly conservative, according to Playright Children’s Play Association.

Playright, a non-profit group seeking adequate play resources for children, took videos of five children’s playgrounds in the city on four good weather days in August.

From the 600 minutes of video footage taken around 4pm to 6pm, one-fourth of the time there were barely any children using the facilities, Ming Pao Daily reported on Wednesday.

Most of the time, children only wandered inside the park, or use the facilities in their own way, such as climbing up a slide or jumping onto the planters, the group said.

Playright blames the children’s lack of enthusiasm to play on the lack of attractiveness, fun and excitement of the facilities.

Playwright consultant Yuen Hon-cheung said the designs of children’s recreational facilities are often more diversified in overseas parks.

High-rise slides and facilities are purposely built to allow children to interact with each other, nurturing their social abilities, Yeun added.

Unicef Hong Kong chief executive Jane Lau said a survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that an appropriate amount of play time for children each day helps in preventing depression and other conditions such as autism.

If Hong Kong children are not fond of going to the park, Lau worries that indulging in electronic gadgets at home would have a negative impact on their development.

Playright, Unicef and the Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects are holding a design contest for a children’s playground, with the winning design to be deployed in a Tuen Mun park.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said it has agreed to adopt the winning design from the contest in Tuen Mun and would fully support the event.

However, as the construction would involve cooperation with other government departments, no construction deadlines have been set so far.

Hong Kong Institute of Architects chairman Vincent Ng Wing-shun said park operators placed a bigger emphasis on safety and easy management in order to minimize accidents.

Although safety is a priority, many park facilities have become less fun for the kids, he said. 

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Jane Lau (right), chief executive of Unicef Hong Kong, and Kathy Wong, executive director of Playright, stress the need for adequate and well-designed recreational facilities for children. Photo: Unicef