It all began when I brought the boys to Kidz Amaze @ SAFRA Toa Payoh last week. Just as when we were turning into SAFRA Toa Payoh along Toa Payoh Lorong 6, Ash & Ayd spotted a majestic-looking Dragon staring at them opposite the road.
I guess for adults who are in the same age group as me, you probably would have no qualms about recognizing this playground. This, in essence, represents what our childhood was all about. No rubber mats or plastic play equipment, just hardcore terrazzo, metal & mosaic tiles and of course, SAND!
The boys were evidently intrigued by this Dragon playground, and they requested to pay it a visit after they had their indoor fun at Kidz Amaze. I was only too happy to oblige.
I could tell that from the speed that they scampered up the Dragon's head, they were mightily excited by this 'new' type of playground. For one, they are all too used to the regular plastic moulds that have become a common sight in all Singapore's playgrounds today. So it wasn't any surprise that they had to first take a few minutes to figure out the playability of this playground.
They even found the terrazzo slide to be not as smooth as the current slides found in today's playgrounds. But kids being kids, trust them to discover ways to get down in the quickest fashion possible.
The other part of the playground which they enjoyed was the Dragon's body, which was made up of colourful metal railings and it led to the top of the Dragon's head.
They certainly don't make playgrounds like they used to.
As I left them to their own devices, I found a little time to do a bit of research on this playground.
Currently, there are only four dragon playgrounds left in Singapore. One can be found along Ang Mo Kio Ave 3, while a smaller one is at Circuit Road. The remaining two are at Toa Payoh, with one near Blk 240 at Toa Payoh Lorong 1. But the most awe-inspiring of the lot, and also the last one to be housed in a sand-box, has got to be this one at Toa Payoh Lorong 6.
Designed in 1979, the Dragon playground was deemed to be one of most iconic representations of our local playgrounds back in the eighties. And I fully agree, because it forms a precious component of my growing-up years.
And now, I am glad that my boys have the chance to experience a playground that has withstood the trials of time.
Because... did you know that this Dragon Playground has been named as one of the 15 World's Amazing Playgrounds? Click HERE for the link. What an honour for Singapore! :)
As more wear and tear begin to set in, I suppose such playgrounds would inevitably have to be demolished to make way for newer versions - Plastic playgrounds with rubber mats. Though I guess some might feel that it is a safer and more hygienic option, I lament at the loss of such a precious memory to Singapore's history - and our childhood.
So when Ash and Ayd broached the subject of hunting down the remaining old playgrounds in Singapore, I agreed without an ounce of hesitation.
And we are just getting started.
In front of Blk 28
Toa Payoh Lorong 6