I remember when I was a kid my parents took me and my siblings to a playground/park thing in the mountain somewhere with all kinds of fun stuff.
There was a stream running through it with a large tree intentionally cut and laid over the stream as a bridge.
There was a climbing wall which was tall enough that if I climbed to the top my dad couldn't reach me without climbing up a bit himself.
There were swings, not the ones shaped like a pair of underwear that you couldn't get out of without someone lifting you.
There were monkey bars, not the ones where your feet drag on the ground when you're hanging from them.
There was a zip-line type thing. Not sure what it's called but it was like a zip-line on a rail.
There was a big metal sliding board. Which was genuinely large.
Basically there was a bunch of stuff there, some of which was so 'dangerous' that responsible parents would have to tell their kid: "have fun, but don't climb the wall and stay off the trampoline."
It was the parents responsibility to make sure their 5 year olds weren't playing on stuff that was made for 12 year olds.
Well Last weekend my sister was in the emergency room and I volunteered to take care of her kids. One 7 year old, one 10 year old, both boys.
Not having any kids of my own I didn't realize how much playgrounds had changed over the years, so I took them to the only playground I could find on short notice:
The kind with a merry-go-round which I swear had some kind of hydraulic system in it to keep it from going faster than walking speed.
The kind with the monkey bars where the kids had to duck to go underneath.
The kind with the plastic sliding board which is actually a tube that zaps you when you get off. (I call it the negative reinforcement slide. Designed to emit an electrical shock to train the child not to climb ladders.)
The kind with a tire swing which is 3 inches off the ground and held up by 4 chains so that it cannot be spun or move outside a 2' radius.
Not even the 7 year old had fun. We spent about 10 minutes there and then I finally decided it sucked. So I went to Goodwill bought 3 sets of the cheapest clothes I could find and we played in a stream on one of my friends property. That was actually pretty darn fun. We caught a pile of crawfish, which we later BBQ'd and ate.
Why do playgrounds have to suck so much? How can we make non-sucky playgrounds without getting sued to death?