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Children Play in a Sandbox, Riverside Park, Albany, 1912

Children Playing in Sandbox, Albany, New York
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_Dn_AkX6
 
Document Description
Boys and girls play in a sandbox at Riverside Park in Albany, New York, 1912.
 
Questions
How can you tell that this photograph was taken a long time ago?
What parts of a playground can you see in this photograph? 
How is the playground in this photograph like playgrounds today?
In what way have playgrounds changed since this photograph was taken?
What is unusual about the children's choice of dress for the playground?
 
Historical Challenges
Research how playgrounds helped in developing community.
How are playgrounds funded?
Research the number of elementary schools that do not offer recess to their students.
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a postcard to a friend describing your day at the park.
Physical Education: Design a new piece of equipment for today’s playground.
 
Resources
DK Publishing. Children's History of the 20th Century. DK Publishing, Inc., August 1999. ISBN: 0789447223
Jennings, Peter, Jennifer Armstrong, Todd Brewster, and Katherine Bourbeau. The Century for Young People. Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, September 1999. ISBN: 0385327080
McGovern, Ann. If You Lived 100 Years Ago. Scholastic, Inc., August 1999. ISBN: 0590960016
 

Historical Context
The first playground in New York was established in the late 1800s.  More playgrounds were built at the beginning of the 1900s to meet the needs of people who lived in cities.  It was believed that city residents, specifically the working class, needed recreational activities on a daily basis.  People thought that recreation and playgrounds were especially important to the health, fitness, and character development of children.  Parks built during this time period included recreational buildings, play fields, outdoor equipment, and sand lots.  Many of the playgrounds even had directors to organize and supervise playground activities such as organized games and sports for children.  Organized activities often separated the boys and the girls.  By 1920, cities in the United States had spent more than $100 million on playgrounds and playground programs.
 
Essential Question
How does the existence of leisure time influence culture and economy?
 
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain how leisure time changed the American culture and economy.