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Eastern Jungle Gym

Welcome to a blog about all things swing sets!

  • Swing Set Safety & Maintenance Reminders

    The great weather we have been having is a pleasant reminder that spring will be here soon, which means now is the time to start sprucing up your swing set! This is also the perfect time for a refresher on swing set safety, so you and your family may have a fun and memorable play season.

    Wooden Swing Set Maintenance

    As the snow melts away and the temperatures rise, we recommend giving your playset a thorough once-over. Take your wrench outside and inspect bolts to be sure they don't need tightening. Check for rough spots on the swing set, especially on edges and corners, which may need sanding. Lastly, make sure all accessories are in good condition and not in need of replacing. This applies to everything from swings and clubhouse toys, like the steering wheel, to monkey bars and more. If you do find that some of the accessories need to be replaced, consider gifting them to your child for a birthday or Easter present.

    If you own a wooden swing set, it is important to keep it maintained. Pick a weekend to stain or seal the unit before spring is in full swing. Remember that you will need to let the stain or sealant dry for at least 24 hours, so make sure to get this out of the way early. That way, the kids won't miss a day of fun! We recommend staining or sealing annually in order to keep your swing set looking brand new.

    Wooden swing sets maintenance, swing set safety Wooden swing sets, like this Fantasy Tree House, are a perfect example of a swing set that should be stained or sealed annually.

    A way to help preserve your swing set from the harsh elements of the winter season is with a canopy or tent top over the clubhouse. These tops provide great assistance in protecting the wood for the long-term. With a canopy or tent top, the stain also stays maintained for longer.

    Another aspect to consider while revamping your children’s swing set for the spring is to inspect the rubber mulch play area. We recommend periodically raking up excess mulch around outer edges. In some high traffic areas, consider supplementing with an additional bag or two.

    The last step in making your swing set feel just like new is a quick cleaning of the plastic surfaces. Use a mixture of soap and water to remove any dirt that built up over the winter from the slide, swings, toys and other activities.

    Wooden Swing Set Safety

    Before the kids jump back on the jungle gym, give them a quick refresher of swing set safety tips. Remind them what type of clothing is appropriate. Keeping the kids aware of the proper play attire will help prevent their clothes from catching on any of the playset’s hardware if it is not recessed. This applies not just to the backyard, but also public settings, such as the school playground. We recommended bundling up and dressing for comfort. Some of our favorite suggestions include:

    • Wearing socks and sneakers
    • Avoiding clothing with strings, hoods, or scarves
    • Wearing fitted clothing that is not too baggy

    Now is also a great time to review any rules that you may have for your swing set. Having a set of rules for your children or visitors helps keep everyone safe during playtime. It is important to keep in mind that playing on a wet swing set may be hazardous depending on the material the swing set is made of. Use caution when holding playtime after any winter weather or rain. We recommend encouraging children to follow rules such as:

    • No climbing up the slide
    • No jumping off of the swing in mid air
    • No climbing on top of the monkey bars
    • No pushing others down the slide
    • No rough housing

    While you are outside performing any maintenance inspect the area around your swing set to make sure there are no fallen leaves or broken branches that may still be lingering around from fall. This will help to create an open play area for your little ones.

    While this may sound like a long list of things to do to prep for another season of fun, most of it can be done within a day. Make this a yearly ritual and take the opportunity to spend time together as a family while preparing your swing set for the upcoming season. We hope you and the little ones have a great spring, filled with lots of time outside. If you would like to read more about keeping your swing set safe, visit 10 Tips to Make Sure Your Wooden Swing Set is Safe. Share your questions on swing set safety and maintenance in the comments section below!

  • The Best Age to Get the Kids a Swing Set

    If you’re in the market for a backyard swing set, you’re likely considering a wide range of factors. Size, price and material are just a few of the decisions you're making. One of the most common questions we hear is, “How old should my kids be for a swing set?” This is often followed by another question, “How long will my kids use their swing set?” Usually, parents ask these questions as they weigh the cost of a playset.

    Toddlers to Teens

    The good news is that moms and dads are often pleasantly surprised to hear our answers. Swing sets may be purchased for children as young as toddlers, and used for more than a decade, as the kids enter adolescence. Of course, this isn’t the case with all playsets – only the larger ones, which are typically made of wood.

    Now, you may be thinking that a larger swing set is too big for young children. That’s simply not the case. The little ones have a ball zipping down the slide with mom or dad’s help. They also enjoy swinging in the bucket swing, which can be swapped out for a traditional sling swing as the kids get older. The little ones can play in the clubhouse too, as long as they have adult supervision. Some jungle gyms even allow for a sandbox or picnic table – both perfect for small children. The idea is to purchase a swing set with some activities for the child to enjoy now, and a number of other activities for them to grow into.

    As your kids get older, you’ll find that they use the swing set as more of a "hang out" place. This is always a welcomed development for parents, as preteens seek outdoor time with friends in their very own backyard. It’s hard to think of a safer place for the kids to gather after school!

    Making the Most of Your Swing Set

    To ensure that your wooden swing set gets many years of use, we recommend adding on to it ever few years. Many families start with a base model and opt for a new activity for a birthday or Christmas gift. Monkey bars are a popular add-on because they are a hit with a wide range of ages. Another idea is to upgrade, rather than add on, perhaps from a 10-foot wave slide to a 12-foot scoop slide. Smaller updates can include additions to the clubhouse, such as this convenient accessory pack.

    The bottom line is that investing in a larger, high quality wooden swing set is a smart move when it comes to outdoor entertainment for the kids. A few minor upgrades along the way will keep the kids excited, while mom and dad rest assured knowing their money went to a product that created years and years of childhood memories.

  • Swing Set Accessories & More Holiday Gift Ideas

    The Top 5 Swing Set Accessories and Outdoor Products for Every Holiday Gift List

    It's the most wonderful time of the year, and we have recommendations for the best swing set accessories and backyard products to give this holiday season. Whether you're shopping for your husband, wife, children, or extended family, this list has something for your loved one.

    Swing Set Accessories and Playset Ideas

    Our first recommendation is the Eastern Jungle Gym Easy 1-2-3 A-Frame Bracket. We suggest giving the bracket to your favorite DIYer. The bracket makes building an A-frame structure easier than ever by creating a safe, secure angle for your lumber. This bracket may be used to build a number of outdoor structures. Made with top-quality steel, the bracket features a one-piece design with welded seems. It is extremely heavy-duty, weighing 10 pounds.

    Perhaps you have in mind a more complete hardware kit that includes the Easy 1-2-3 Bracket. Look no further than the Classic Cedar Swing Set Hardware Kit. This kit comes with all the hardware you need to build an A-frame swing set. Three swings are also included. Simply purchase your own lumber and this kit and set aside 1-2 hours for assembly. Then you will be ready to surprise your kids with a brand new swinging structure right in your backyard. All of the hardware provided in this kit is extremely heavy-duty. It is designed to support both children and adults so the whole family can play!

    Families that have an existing swing set may want to upgrade their current activities or add a new swing. The High Back Full Bucket Swing is the perfect accessory for the very little ones. This swing allows children of all ages to enjoy the swing set. Recommended for children six months and older, this swing seat is fully enclosed. It also features a high back for additional support. The bottom half of the swing chains are coated in soft plastic for a pinch-free grip. This means parents can rest assured, knowing the kids are swinging safely and comfortably while having a ton of fun.

    More Backyard Ideas: Sheds and Trampolines

    Shifting the focus to outdoor items that go beyond swing set accessories, our next suggestion is a storage shed. Maybe your kids are older, or perhaps you are shopping for your husband or extended family. If that's the case, consider a backyard A-frame storage shed. These multi-purpose storage structures are available in a wide range of sizes and styles. Choose from wood or vinyl and customize your colors. Additional options include shutters, double doors, windows and more. The classic A-frame style compliments any backyard or outdoor area. Often offered pre-built or built-on-site, these sheds fit backyards of all sizes. You can even turn your gift into a family bonding activity! Clean out the garage with the family, or gather and store all of your swing set accessories indoors for the winter months. The kids will be happy to help set up Dad’s perfect Christmas gift.

    Last but certainly not least are Springfree trampolines. These products add a whole new level of fun to the backyard. Available in multiple sizes, Springfree trampoline are springless, which means there is a reduced chance of injury. With soft edges and a safety net enclosure, this is a great gift idea for mom, dad and the kids. Springfree Trampoline come standard with Tgoma – Take Gaming Outside and Make It Active. Tgoma is a gaming system that allows the children to connect their tablet to the trampoline, making the experience more interactive. The app features games that incorporate education, fitness. The kids will have so much fun they won't even realize they are exercising. When the children are at school, mom and dad can get outside and use the trampoline to get active, too. In our opinion, a Springfree trampoline is the perfect holiday gift for the entire family.

    Making the Most of the Holidays

    If you have an extra vacation day around the holidays, take a few hours to spend time as a family enjoying your new products and incorporating physical activity into your routine. We want to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season and a wonderful New Year!

  • Holiday Gift Idea for the DIYer: Swing Set Bracket

    Holiday Gift Idea for the DIYer in Your Life:

    Multi-Use Swing Set Bracket

    For many of us, holiday shopping gets a bit more difficult each year. First, there's the challenge of selecting an original gift that the person doesn't already have. You also need to find something that fits your budget. And of course, if you're like us, the element of surprise is a necessity, too.

    When it comes to the DIY-er in your family, we have a suggestion that meets all of the above criteria: a solid steel swing set bracket. Our Easy 1-2-3 A-Frame Brackets are extremely versatile. They have a 45-degree angle between the legs, and 14 pre-drilled holes for easy assembly.

    While we use our swing set bracket exclusively for playset purposes, we've heard of customers using the product in a variety of ways.

    Swing Set Bracket Uses

    Here are some of the ways DIY folks around the country have used this piece of hardware:

    • Hammock stands.
    • A homemade, A-frame hoist with a solid wood beam. One customer planned to use this for lifting tractor implements, cradling livestock/large game, and supporting motorcycles when performing maintenance.
    • An A-frame for a single swing or a bench swing (one of the many products for which we use the bracket).
    • Adding a swing to an existing structure, such as a deck or a playhouse.

    Planning and Presenting Your Gift

    There are a few different ways you can give your loved one a swing set bracket. The first option is to purchase one (or two, depending on the project you think he or she may have in mind), wrap it and present it. Be sure to account for the heavy weight of the item when you go about wrapping and transporting.

    Another option is a gift certificate to be used toward the purchase of the bracket. Depending on the amount, this could give the recipient some flexibility to add additional items (hardware, a swing, etc.).

    Our last suggestion applies if you are the DIY expert in the family. If this is the case, you could use these brackets to make one of the above-named items as a gift for a loved one.

    A Solid Option

    No matter which route you take, a quality, steel swing set bracket is a useful gift. It leaves no shortage of possibilities for DIYers! Whether used for a swing set or an unrelated project, a swing set bracket is sure to be a memorable holiday gift.

  • How to Preserve Your Playground Set

    How to Perform Maintenance on and Preserve Your Playground Set

    These days a playground set is a big investment and like any other, it pays to protect it. Preserving your wooden swing set through the years doesn't have to be a labor- or time-intensive project. In fact, it's really a simple task. Owners who are willing to set aside one weekend each year to perform maintenance and upkeep will be able to retain their swing set's beauty for a long time to come.

    Staining and Sealing

    Staining or sealing is one the most important components of preserving your backyard playground. To protect the unit from the elements, we recommend you stain or seal annually. Of course, you may find that it is beneficial to stain or seal more or less often, depending on the climate and weather of your location.

    The first step in staining or sealing your set is cleaning it. We like the idea of using plain old soap and water here. A power washing is of great assistance for this step. Next, removing accessories and toys, and let the swing set dry. Ideally, the cleaning could be done on a Friday night, or early Saturday. Then, on Sunday, you can finish the process: sand rough patches and apply the stain or sealer. It is important to wait another 24 hours for the stain or sealer to dry. A more detailed list of step-by-step instructions is available here.

    Hardware Checks

    When it comes to checking the hardware on your children's playground set, there's simply no such thing as too often. At least once a year, or even once a season, inspect the bolts and tighten as necessary. This doesn't take much in the way of time or resources -- all you need is a wrench and an hour's time!

    Replacements and Cleaning

    Another way to keep the playground set looking brand new is regular cleaning. An annual wipe down of swings and toys should be sufficient. Replacements should be much more sporadic. For example, if you live in the Northeast and the past few winters have been particularly tough, a tent top canopy may need replacing after three or so years. The same goes for a sling swing. Eventually, after a number of years, it may be time to make a small investment in a new swing. This is also an opportunity to upgrade the playground set, and incorporate a horse glider swing for two or gym-ring trapeze bar combo as a new activity.

    Commitment is Key

    Mom or dad, or both, should be able to accomplish all of the recommendations provided here in a day or two. We recommend marking a weekend on the calendar in advance so you don't forget about the upkeep of your playground set. Even if it's six months away, you'll give yourself a reminder. Once you've done the staining, tightening and cleaning for that year, skip ahead 12 months and schedule the next maintenance day. We encourage you to get the whole family involved. After all, having a playground set is all about creating childhood memories. Why not making this a teaching moment for the little ones?

  • Giving the Gift of a Swing Set

    Ways to Give Your Child the Gift of a Swing Set

    Children love to unleash their imagination and enjoy playtime with a swing set! Giving the gift of a playset is a wonderful way to encourage physical activity for children. Plus, swing sets are a gift that never goes out of style, especially in comparison to other toys! Children can use them to play with family and friends for many years to come. 

    1. Giving the Gift of a Swing Set for Birthdays

    There are a variety of ways swing sets can be presented as a birthday gift for your child. One of the ways to approach giving this gift is by presenting your child with a playset prior to their birthday and hosting a birthday party around the playset so they are able to use the toy immediately.

    Depending on the price of the set, and the budget for your child’s gift, this toy could be presented as a birthday present for the next two or three years. Or, if your children's birthdays are in the same season, you could give the playset as a combined gift.

    2. Surprising Children with a Swing Set from Santa for Christmas

    We also love the idea of presenting the swing set as a Christmas gift. Incorporate the holidays into your gift giving by presenting this toy as a special present from Santa. This will make your child’s holiday extra special! Simply have the kids bundle up and head outside instead of down to the Christmas tree. Just be sure to keep the kids away from the backyard the week prior! We recommend planning alternative activities -- such as cookie baking and ornament-making -- for that week.

    3. Rewarding Positive Behavior During the School Year with a Swing Set

    If your child had a particularly difficult year with school or achieved a goal or new academic milestone, consider presenting them with a swing set to reward their hard work! Giving this gift to your child during the end of the year is ideal as they will be able to play with friends and enjoy this playset in the outdoors all summer long! Another option is to present the gift as a motivator. For example, if you give the kids a swing set part way through the year, you can use it for daily positive reinforcement. Playing on the swing set could be a daily reward for completing homework or other assignments.

    The Bottom Line

    The swing set is a present you can continuing adding to by gifting your child with new accessories for future birthdays, holidays, and other celebrations. From adding a new clubhouse toy to upgrading a swing, there are plenty of ways to update a playset

    Do you have a unique story about how you gave the gift of a swing set to your child? Post a comment or photo on our Facebook page to share your experience!

  • Swing Set Mulch: The Best Play Area Surfacing

    Swing Set Mulch: A Safe, Long-Lasting Surfacing Option

    For parents interested in buying a backyard jungle gym, swing set mulch is typically an afterthought. Moms and dads typically see safety features and construction as the two biggest deciding factors (rightly so!). But swing set surfacing -- which parents often overlook because it exists outside the jungle gym-- is one of the most important aspects of playground safety.

    The Recommendations

    Jungle gyms need a shock-absorbing surface so that children have a safe place to run, jump and play. They should never be installed on concrete or asphalt. During our 25 years' of experience, we have installed plenty of jungle gyms on grass. Still, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using one of the following: wood mulch, chips, shredded rubber (mulch), sand or pea gravel. Our favorite of these options is rubber mulch.

    Why We Love Swing Set Mulch: 5 Reasons

    • It's eco-friendly. Rubber mulch is an environmentally responsible choice, as it is made -- in the USA -- from recycled tires.
    • It's long-lasting. Unlike wood mulch, sand or gravel, swing set mulch is made of rubber, so it has a nice weight to it. That means it is less likely to float or fly away. It also need to be replenished less often than other surfacing materials.
    • It's available in five colors. Whether you want to go natural, neutral or bright, there's a rubber mulch shade for your backyard. Or allow your child to choose as a way to customize his or her jungle gym. Color options include black, forest green, cocoa brown, royal blue and red.
    • It drains well. Swing Set mulch does not retain moisture. Plus, it dries quickly, so the kids can get back out to their jungle gym after the rain passes.
    • Pests are not a problem. Unlike other surfacing options, swing set mulch does not attract vermin, insects, bugs or termites.

     

    On top of all that, swing set mulch is recognized by experts for its safety. Click here to learn more about rubber swing set mulch, and don't hesitate to contact us with questions!

     

  • Ways to Encourage Playtime on the Swing Set

    Ways to Encourage Children to Play Outside on the Backyard Swing Set

    A backyard swing set is a must-have for most families these days. The kids have a safe place where they can get active and have fun day after day. Mom and dad have the security of knowing the kids are just outside the kitchen window. And of course, the opportunities for new and exciting play are nothing short of abundant. The playset is the type of investment that pays for itself -- and then some -- in the long-run.

    Still, the day might come when it's difficult to tear the kids away from the video games or tablet. If that's the case, we have a few suggestions that will help you get the little ones to return to regular play on their beloved backyard swing set.

    • Encourage swing set playtime with a friend. This can include spontaneous evening get-togethers, scheduled playtime during the weekends, and more.
    • Encourage your children to play on the swing set with you. This is a great parent-child activity that presents an opportunity for both you and your child to get physical activity.
    • Encourage outdoor activity as a time away from devices and homework, and a time that can be used to focus on relaxing.
    • Incorporate a playtime activity into each season. For example, in the fall season you can incorporate playtime into your child’s other favorite activities such as raking, playing in a pile of leaves, enjoying a cup of warm apple cider, etc.
    • Use the outdoor swing set as the main attraction for your next gathering. Whether you're hosting a Halloween party, birthday bash, or a spring or summer barbecue, the playset is the perfect place for a group of kids to play. Plus, depending on the occasion, you can add decorations to the swing set to make your backyard a bit more festive.
    • Make swing set personalization an ongoing process. This means allowing the kids to add their own creative touches to the clubhouse, playhouse and/or tree house. Think stickers, a nearby flower garden, toy dishes for the built-in picnic table, and more.

    Playing on the backyard swing set doesn't have to be predictable. With these tips, you'll be able to nudge the children to spend even more time outside, without them knowing it!

  • Outdoor Activities to Keep Kids Moving

    5 Outdoor Activities to Keep Your Kids Moving This Fall

    As we reluctantly say goodbye to summer and welcome fall, many parents find it challenging to come up with new outdoor activities for the kids. Often times, children simply want to collapse on the couch after school and watch cartoons or play on their preferred device. Or, maybe they spend time on the computer for homework. Either way, the last thing your little ones should be doing is remaining stationary! Fall is a wonderful time of year to spend time outside. The days are still warm, and the air is crisp. Here are some ways to get your kids moving this fall.

    Implementing a New Routine

    The first step to get your kids outside and moving is to start a new routine. For most children, the precious free time after school is spent completing homework, snacking, and relaxing.  With a busy schedule it may seem difficult to fit physical activity into your routine. However, establishing an outside routine is easier than you may think!

    We recommend adding outside playtime into your child’s schedule as soon as they arrive home from school. This helps the kids to relax and decompress after a busy day. It also provides an opportunity for exercise. Think you'll be met with resistance? Not to worry! We've come up with five exciting outdoor activities for kids to participate in. Rotate through these all year long and your kids will become outside enthusiasts! Not only will they burn off energy, but they will also become experts at entertaining themselves!

    Finding the Right Outdoor Activities for the Kids

    Suggest these playful activities that provide an opportunity for spending time with friends and getting moving:

    1. Playing on a Swing Set: Most backyard swing sets provide many activities all in one. In any one of our cedar playsets, the kids choose from climbing the rock wall, using the swings, zipping down the slide and much more. While A-frame swing sets are smaller, they also allow for a few children to play at once. Having a swing set at your home provides children with the opportunity to perfect their athletic skills. It also gives them a chance use their imaginations. Children simply love to pretend the jungle gym and backyard is a pirate ship at sea, or a castle with a moat.
    2. Playing a Game of Baseball or Soccer: After school can also be a great time for the kids to engage in sports. Suggest a tossing around the baseball, shooting hoops or kicking the soccer ball. If they play on a local sports team, this is a great way to make sure they get practice both on and off the field. Don't forget about jumping rope and rollerskating, too!
    3. Helping the Family with Chores: If your kids are in the routine of weekly chores and allowance, add a few outdoor jobs to their responsibilities. Chores can include things such weeding and raking leaves. The kids can also as water the flowers as needed. They can even get a head start on the upcoming season and organize winter materials such as shovels and holiday decorations with adult assistance.
    4. Playing a Game of Tag: When all else fails, kids always enjoy a good old-fashioned game of tag! While the kids take turns being "It" (they can always use Rock-Paper-Scissors to select the first person), they're running wild hiding and ducking their opponents. They are also actively problem solving and relying on their creativity to avoid being tagged. If your children are tired of playing tag you can suggest other traditional games like Freeze Tag, Mother May I, and Simon Says.
    5. Exploring the Outdoors: Encourage the kids to explore the yard and neighborhood on foot or by bicycle. Ask them about their time exploring and what types of wildlife surprises they encountered!

    Making playtime seem like a fun activity is a great way to encourage kids to spend time outside and get physical activity during this season!

  • 7 Reasons to Buy a Backyard Jungle Gym

    When it comes to entertaining the kids, nothing compares to having a backyard jungle gym at home. Jungle gyms offer endless playtime, plus plenty of opportunities to enhance independence and socialization.

    In order to help our customers understand all the benefits of a swing set, we've created an infographic. Here's a quick summary of all the advantages of a backyard jungle gym.

    • Exercise: An active child is a happy one -- and a healthy one. Jungle gyms help children get into a routine of outdoor exploration that hopefully lasts a lifetime. During an hour of running, climbing and swinging, your child not only burns calories, but also improves athletic skills.
    • Sharing: Whether your children have siblings or neighbors or friends, the nature of the backyard jungle gym reinforces the idea of taking turns. Since many swing sets have a single slide, a single rock wall, a single set of monkey bars, etc., children simply must share. Of course, having mom and dad there to issue sharing reminders as needed is helpful, but you should also know that the kids will probably surprise you and navigate turn-taking amongst themselves.
    • Imagination: It won't take long for the kids to put on their creative caps and turn the jungle gym into a pirate ship at sea, a castle, a fort or a secret hideaway. Sit back and relax while you listen to the kids use their imagination. We guarantee you'll enjoy yourself just as much as they enjoy themselves.
    • Bonding: Our motto is "Creating Childhood Memories" for a reason. But we have to admit, the memories created around the jungle gym are shared by the whole family. Maybe mom and dad join in every now and then for a quick zip down the slide. Or perhaps grandma and grandpa enjoy nothing more than giving the little ones a push. A quality jungle gym will be sturdy enough so that even adults can enjoy it.

    We hope you check out the infographic below for additional information on the benefits of jungle gyms.

    Eastern Jungle Gym Backyard Jungle Gym Infographic

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