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Old 04-03-2010, 01:06 AM
Mesquite-oh Mesquite-oh is offline
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: La Frontera, US of A
Posts: 864
OK to play at school playgrounds on weekends?

I have a toddler and the local parks are nice but very crowded (sometimes with unsupervised rowdy kids). The elementary school playgounds are also nice but usually have only a family or two playing. The school playgrounds near my house have gates with locks, but are consistently left open. I feel guilty playing there, like I am trespassing. I couldn't find any policy on the school district website nor could I find any reference to it being illegal. Is it OK to play at school playgrounds during non school hours where you live?
Old 04-03-2010, 01:58 AM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 4,524
So long as you don't have to jump a fence to do it, yes fine. Loads of families use our local school playgrounds on the weekend.
Old 04-03-2010, 02:33 AM
kjbrasda kjbrasda is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 284
I'd guess the locks are more for when the schools are in session and the school kids on the playground, but it wouldn't hurt to call and ask the schools.
Old 04-03-2010, 04:12 AM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Houston
Posts: 9,345
Houston Independent School District has a Spark School Park Program. In which school playgrounds are developed & then offered for public use when school is out.

Travis Elementary is in my neighborhood; I haven't "played" on the dinosaur bones, but I've definitely checked them out. And the school kids aren't the only ones who can enjoy the mural by local artist Beans Barton. (Oh look! Beans Barton & The Bipeds play at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar tonight!)

The soccer field at Hogg Middle School (Go Razorbacks!) is often busy on weekends. Who knew that grownups can play sports for fun?

I love my neighborhood.
Old 04-03-2010, 04:47 AM
appleciders appleciders is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 6,436
If school has been out for more than two hours, it's open season. Enjoy yourself.
Old 04-03-2010, 05:12 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
It's normally fine.
Old 04-03-2010, 06:02 AM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 22,018
Sure, but around here it's frowned upon to use the playgrounds after dark. Probably not an issue with a toddler.
Old 04-03-2010, 08:26 AM
freckafree freckafree is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 5,886
I would think that if it were prohibited, they'd have a "No Trespassing" sign posted. One of our local elementary schools has a sign specifically stating that community members aren't allowed to use the playground during school hours.
Old 04-03-2010, 08:32 AM
EvilTOJ EvilTOJ is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,238
When my kids were younger we'd go play on the elementary school playground all the time. Even when they were students we'd go after hours sometimes because it was close.

Think about it, it's designed for young kids to use! it's not like you're letting them run around in the Louvre or jumping on couches.
Old 04-03-2010, 09:24 AM
ftg ftg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 16,288
Our elementary school is really close by and out kids spent huge amounts of time over the years playing there afternoons and weekends. There's even an adult exercise trail-thing so they're expecting non-kids to be there. Just avoid it when school's in session or some other activity is going on.
Old 04-03-2010, 10:19 AM
figure9 figure9 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Chicago Suburban sprawl
Posts: 617
Yeah go play. That is what it is there for.
Old 04-03-2010, 12:42 PM
MsWhich MsWhich is offline
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 12,253
Yeah, we do this all the time. Have at it.
Old 04-03-2010, 05:43 PM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Garden Spot of the South
Posts: 9,135
Originally Posted by EvilTOJ View Post
Think about it, it's designed for young kids to use!
Not only that, it's been publicly funded. I think it's great to get some more use out of it.
Old 04-03-2010, 05:51 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,405
And really, the worst case situation is someone in authority comes by and asks you not to use the playground. You say "Whoops, my bad, I thought it was open to the community" and go on your way. They aren't going to haul you to jail or write you a ticket.
Old 04-03-2010, 08:07 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 42,431
I live across the street from an elementary school, and people use the playground (and the field) all the time. It is permitted based on the signage.
Old 04-03-2010, 08:10 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: New York
Posts: 22,322
We used to do it at our elementary school. We were students, but we'd use it on weekends/summers. Also when I was older, a young cousin of mine visited us and we took her to the elementary school one summer, and it was all good. Plus, people use the track who don't belong to the school, either. I assume it's all good.
Old 04-03-2010, 08:13 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is online now
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 37,577
As a teacher, I'd be really happy to have some parents with toddlers playing there after hours. The more you're there, the less the graffiti artists are there.
Old 04-03-2010, 08:20 PM
Serenata67 Serenata67 is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Titletown, USA
Posts: 3,045
In my city, a lot of the schools are surround (or at least bordered) by a city park which includes the playground equipment, so around here, it's more or less a moot point. But there are some schools that have playground equipment that aren't technically parks, but people use them all the time.

Go ahead! Have fun!
Old 04-04-2010, 09:04 AM
DivineComedienne DivineComedienne is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 493
The playgrounds at schools and other publicly-funded facilities are designed for the use of the school as well as the general public (if they weren't, they'd have fences and padlocks).

If the school/municipality didn't want the public to have access, it would be restricted. If an outdoor play structure (or basketball court, or tennis court) has no obstructions to access and no signs prohibiting use, feel free to use it. (It may have signage that says, "Closed after Dusk" or something like that, for safety.)

As long as you don't have to scale a fence or pick a lock to get in, enjoy!
Old 04-05-2010, 01:11 PM
Push You Down Push You Down is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Hollywood
Posts: 6,180
As teenagers we used to hang out at playgrounds at night. We were good kids though.
During the day I can't imagine anyone having a problem with kids using the equipment.
I have only one thing to say about that- Shut up.
Old 04-06-2010, 01:10 AM
Mesquite-oh Mesquite-oh is offline
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: La Frontera, US of A
Posts: 864
Doing a little more research using different search terms, I found a couple of local articles describing vandalism at school playgrounds. The stories mention that the playgrounds are open to the public after hours and weekends (got my answer, although in kind of a bad way .) Ironically, I used to take my oldest to this school when she was a little tyke and some idiot burned the playground down just a few days ago:

I guess that the schools would welcome families playing there to at least keep the knuckleheads away during the day.
Old 04-06-2010, 02:41 AM
missred missred is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Just east of Music City
Posts: 5,809
In the tiny town where I grew up, we had no public park. If you wanted to play on a playground, you went to the elementary school. You still do.
Old 04-06-2010, 02:25 PM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Maryland
Posts: 34,777
I'm in Maryland, and I've been taking the Firebug to playgrounds at elementary schools on evenings and weekends. Sometimes the playgrounds at the local parks get too crowded for his liking, and few parents think of taking their kids to the school playgrounds, even though some of them have great slides and stuff to climb on, and fields to run around on.

If you're unsure, I'd just call the school and ask them.


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