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Breathing New Life Into Playground Equipment

Playgrounds are essential to the growth and physical development of children. They must be safe and enjoyable for the kids that use them. Playground equipment design has been evolving from the humble see saw to the crazy contraptions that we see these days.

Based on the design of these new equipment, new games are being developed which grabs the interest of the kids playing them. In this article we’ll be looking at one such game, the game of Dead Mummy which has been developed around Game time’s Mountain Climber playground equipment.

The game of Dead Mummy is a game developed at Chamiza Elementary School in Albuquerque, New Mexico by the fourth graders studying there. This game goes down at the Eagle’s nest. This is the place where all the dead mummies come to life. How do they do that? Let’s find out.

The Eagle’s Nest is a climbing structure shaped in the form of a dome. The constituent horizontal bars form circles which decrease in size from the bottom to the top of the structure. The ground cover for this play area consists of engineered wood chips which ensure the safety of the children playing there.

The game begins with an “it” person known as the “Dead Mummy”. The dead mummy is considered to be dead as long as that person sits or stands in the middle of the Eagle’s nest. But, when the other players start chanting, “Dead Mummy, come back to life, by the time I count to five (1-2-3-4-5), Come Alive!”, the dead mummy climbs up the Eagle’s Nest to tag one more player who will become “it”.

This cannot be compared to an ordinary game of tag, as this game involves the dead mummy climbing up with his eyes closed! This game has many rules and a maximum player limit of five. This allows the player to go through different challenges and to come face to face with science.

Let’s look at a few rules for this game.

Game Rules:

- The dead mummy must always close his/her eyes. Opening the eyes risks being called silly names.
- The goal of the dead mummy is to tag (recruit) another person to be the “it” person.
- The mummy can be in contact with the ground as long as it is the safe ground inside the Eagle’s nest.
- Starting the game? Whoever arrives last to the Eagle’s Nest is the “it” person and by virtue of that, the dead mummy.
- If the dead mummy tags a person he/she doesn’t particularly like, they are allowed to take back their precious tag and tag a person of their choice. This move can be used only once per dead mummy.
- One player can be dead mummy only five times during the recess period.

Newcomers to this game get to learn it by trial and error. Of course, there are challenges to this game, because the dead mummy has their eyes closed, they have to rely on their other senses to begin to process situational data and to properly tag people. Using the vibrations of the poles of the Eagle’s Nest to listening to the sounds of falling wood chips, this game can be mastered.

This game is a product of the imagination of nine and ten year old children. These types of playful innovation help to breathe life back into the playground equipment and ultimately to the playground.

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