School Playground, Schenectady, c. 1900

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.
[click to enlarge]
Playground apparatus in use. Schenectady School Playground, New York State Archives, NYSA_A3042-77_B7_F7_14
Document Description
Children playing at the school playground in Schenectady, New York, circa 1900.
  1. What are the children doing on the playground? 
  2. What material(s) is the apparatus made from? 
  3. How is this playground the same or different than your school playground?
  4. How can you tell that this photograph was taken a long time ago?
Historical Challenge
Research the creation of playgrounds. Where did the concept start, and why?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a letter to the Board of Education requesting a new playground.
Physical Education: Design a new playground for your school.
  1. DK Publishing. Children's History of the 20th Century. DK Publishing, Inc., August 1999. ISBN: 0789447223
  2. 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
  3. McGovern, Ann. If You Lived 100 Years Ago. Scholastic, Inc., August 1999. ISBN: 0590960016