One of the things I dislike about where we live right now is that the playground isn’t close enough. It’s about a mile away, up a steep hill and across a very busy road. Not so bad in some weather, dreadful when it’s over 100 degrees F out. It’s a pity, because I’d really like to be able to just send my older kids there on their own during the summer, but getting them to head out in the heat doesn’t happen too much.
At what age you can send your children on their own to the playground depends on a few factors. It depends first on your child. Is he/she mature enough to handle going alone or with friends responsibly? Then come the other factors, such as how safe your particular neighborhood is, will there be other kids there, and how far away the park is. It’s a judgement call to be made by each family.
But even if you need to take the kids yourself, I urge you to consider how much they may be able to play on their own, without you chasing them. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a light eye on them while trying to get something else done if your kids are old enough to handle it. I keep more track of my four year old than my older kids because she still needs it (mostly due to regular demands for time on the swing, which she can’t entirely do on her own yet). Once she’s climbing the other equipment, I step back.