Singapore Playgrounds

These days, quite unsurprisingly, I find myself at the city’s various parks and outdoor playgrounds quite a bit. This past week, I finally went in search of one of Singapore’s gorgeous concrete “mosaic” playgrounds with my tiny sidekick.

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In the early 1970s, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) “assigned one of its staff, Mr. Khor Ean Ghee, to design Singapore’s very own playgrounds.” He designed several playgrounds that featured animal-inpired sculptures, like a pelican and a rabbit, alongside the usual swings and slides.

HDB also wanted to create spaces that could impress upon its young users a sense of Singapore’s identity. So, in 1979, the iconic Dragon playground was born. Over the next few years, other local icons, such as the bumboat and rickshaw, also became inspirations for new designs.

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We uncovered the “Dragon playground” along Ang Mo Kio Ave 3. Perhaps it was the time of day, but the playground was eerily quiet save for the laughter and shouts of two or three children. Apparently, many of these beautiful playgrounds are in various states of abandonment and a number of them are awaiting their destruction. My daughter is yet too young to climb along this creature’s back, but I hope she will have the opportunity to do so one day. I plan to visit the “Watermelon playground”— along Pipit Road and behind Block 858 on Tampines Street 83—this weekend.

(Additional credits: Photograph via Old Singapore Playgrounds, a Flickr set by j u s t i n . z.)