The dark side of playground slides

Cartoon of a man stuck in a playground slide. A woman takes a picture of him. He says, "Just help me out of her and stop posing pictures of me!
Copyright © 2017 Kidzmatter & Kevin Spear

The hardest thing about being a substitute teacher is playground duty. It’s not because the kids are that bad, not that the weather is so horrible. It’s because as a teacher, you’re supposed to be watching the kids, not playing on the equipment.

Otherwise, one may end up like this poor guy. Tube slides are something that came along after my playground days. I can just imagine how terrifying it would be for a grown man to get caught in one of those things. Perhaps I should find out…

I drew this for Kidzmatter Magazine.

Daredevils and Backsliders on the Playground

Teacher to student: "Curtis! What are you doing backsliding like that?"
Copyright ©2014 Kevin Spear & Kidzmatter

No matter where you are, there is always a kid on the playground that will test the boundaries of the rules. Some will be blatant about it. Some will subtly test the boundaries until someone notices.

The same kids grow up to test boundaries. You see every day on the highways. Speed limits are conquered, red lights are beaten and accidents happen. Continue reading “Daredevils and Backsliders on the Playground”

Taking Playground Safety Seriously

Cartoon of a business man jumping off a swing

Cartoon of a business man jumping off a swing. The caption says, “Playground tester, Cyrus Kolter demonstrates his graceful form as he jumps off a swing.”

My dad is an insurance guy. He spent his career as an underwriter. He sees safety hazards wherever he goes. Sometimes, that didn’t make trips to the playground fun. I didn’t realize the curly slides could be such a death trap.

All the same, he taught me to pay attention to my surroundings. Too many times, we assume a playground, a school or any public place is safe. While officials like Cyrus Kolter do their best to make these places attractive and without hazards, It’s always a good idea to pay attention and survey the area instead of plunging right in to that merry-go-round of misery.

Have fun, people! But play it safe too!

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Cartoon: Gross Volunteering

Cartoon of a boy talking to a girl on a swing. The boy says, "Our group is cleaning this park. Anything disgusting in this area?"

Cartoon of a boy talking to a girl on a swing. The boy says, “Our group is cleaning this park. Anything disgusting in this area?”

I drew this cartoon for K! Magazine.

Playground Gestures


Sketch of a girl on a playground gesturing to be carried.

When I heard this week’s theme, I thought of the many times my daughter gestured to be carried when she was little. There is nothing that melted this dad’s heart more than to see those big eyes looking up at me with hands held high. It’s a combination of love, vulnerability and confidence that Dad would come through.

When we get older, we lose a little bit of that. Nobody wants to be vulnerable. In America, we all want to put on a facade that we are independent. But the best moments come when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to the ones we love. I had to learn a little of that this week. It is one of the best, bittersweet lessons I’ve learned in recent memory.

I drew this for illustration friday. This week’s word is “gesture.”