Remember These Old Playground Equipment Names (Before They’re GONE Forever)

  • Take a trip down memory lane with these old playground pieces 
  • FInd out if each one still exists, and what they are called now 
  • We’ve got teeter totters, maypoles, and even spring riders 
  • Plus, learn why classic playground staples are growing obsolete

Do you remember playing on the playgrounds of the past when you were little?

Have you eve stopped to wonder what happened to the toys you remember being a part of those playgrounds?

Would you like to know what happened to them?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the old playground equipment names of the past. We’ll walk through some of your old favorites and maybe even examine some you’ve forgotten all about. Best of all, you’ll be able to learn whether or not these toys still exist and find out what may have become of them if they’ve disappeared from more modern playgrounds.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane!

1. Teeter-Totter

playground equipment

What’s it called now?

You may know the teeter-totter better as a see-saw.

What is it?

A teeter-totter, in its most basic form, is a long wood board that has a pivot in the center of it. This makes it possible for the toy to move back and forth on the pivot. One child sits on one end and another child sits on the other end, and they use their feet and legs to push the teeter-totter up and down. There may be more elaborate versions of this toy that are made with other materials, as well. The teeter-totter poses a major fall risk for kids who play on it, especially incorrectly.

2. Jungle Gym

playground equipment for schools

What’s it called now?

Most people still refer to this as a jungle gym, but it may also be called a playground, although incorrectly.

What is it?

A jungle gym is a playground set that includes several different pieces of equipment. It has monkey bars as a staple, but it may also have other climbing pieces as well as a slide or swings. This is not, however, the same thing as a swing set. Jungle gyms are still around, but they’ve been updated to suit a more modern understanding of safety standards.

3. Merry-Go-Round

park playground equipment names

What’s it called now?

These pieces of playground equipment are still called merry-go-rounds, but they are almost nonexistent today.

What is it?

This is a round metal disk that has several handles for children to hold onto while standing on the disk. To use it, one child runs along the side and spins the merry-go-round until it picks up speed, then jumps on and rides it along with the other children who are already on it. This toy is very unsafe and poses a lot of safety risks for kids who might fall off, get hit by the spinning handles, and more, so it is quickly disappearing.

4. Tetherball

old playground equipment names

What’s it called now?

Tetherball is still known as tetherball, although it’s getting harder and harder to find it on playgrounds or in school yards anywhere.

What is it?

This is a ball that is attached to a cord and tied to a pole. Children play it by hitting or throwing the ball to another child standing somewhere else around the pole. As you can imagine, this usually results in kids getting smacked in the face or knocked over by the ball, so many playgrounds have done away with tetherball altogether. Some playgrounds have left the pole still standing without the ball attached, however.

5. Maypole

children's play park equipment names

What’s it called now?

Some people refer to a maypole as a playground octopus, but the idea is still the same. This is almost completely gone from playgrounds today.

What is it?

The maypole has several chains or cords attached to it that include handles for children to hold onto. Enough children playing on the maypole at once can run around it until they effectively manage to spin up and off the ground while holding onto the chains. Of course, if they let go, they fall to the ground and can get badly hurt. A maypole chain hitting a child in the face can also be very harmful.

6. Dome Climber

popular playground equipment

What’s it called now?

Some people call this a geodesic dome or a playground dome.

What is it?

If you’ve ever seen something on a playground that looks a little bit like a dome-shaped monkey bars, you’ve seen a dome climber. Older versions of this are usually made of metal, but new ones are made of safer plastic and are reinforced at certain points to make them safer for kids to climb on. They may even be placed on playground padding to help prevent injuries when kids fall off of them. Dome climbers are still very prevalent on playgrounds, but they should be updated to suit current safety standards.

7. Spring Rider

children's park items

What’s it called now?

These are still referred to as spring riders, but they aren’t available on most playgrounds anymore.

What is it?

Spring riders are metal playground pieces that are usually shaped like an animal such as a carousel horse or a duck, for example. Children sit on them and hold on, and the idea is that they can bounce forwards and backwards on the rider. However, there is a high risk of kids falling off of these, as well as bigger kids misusing and breaking them or getting flung off of them. They have been all but removed completely from many playgrounds because of this.


As you can see, there are a lot of playground equipment pieces that just aren’t out there anymore. But why do they keep changing? What happened to all those toys you remember having fun on when you were little?

One of the most common reasons why these toys may be disappearing from playgrounds is because of safety concerns. After all, some of these are very unsafe and may cause serious injury if they’re used incorrectly (and sometimes even if they’re used the right way!).

equipment from playgrounds

Another reason why these toys are vanishing from playgrounds is because the materials used in their construction may be unsafe for kids to be exposed to. They may have even been made with lead paint a long time ago! These materials also might be terrible for the environment, and many playgrounds are moving toward more eco-friendly materials in recent years as well.

As playgrounds make changes to be more inclusive and accessible to kids with disabilities, the types of toys and equipment available there may change as well. Already, we’ve seen a big shift in the type of ground cover used in playgrounds so that kids who need accessible spaces can be included, too.

Finally, some of these items just aren’t holding up to what we understand now in terms of the types of exercise and play kids need. Playgrounds are always changing to better help kids grow and develop the right way and with as few safety risks as possible.

Someday, all of the items on this list may be fond memories to those of us who remember them from our own childhoods. But be on the lookout, because kid-safe updated versions may be just around the corner, too!