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Monthly Archives: July 2016

  • DIY Swing Sets: The Essential Piece of Hardware

    If you've ever Googled DIY swing sets, you know there are an endless number of plans and designs to consider. Additionally, there are tons of hardware and accessory products to choose from. In this blog you'll learn about the one must-have item for all DIY swing sets. Whether the project is your first or 50th, this piece of hardware will make your life easier.

       The Product

    After 24 years' designing, manufacturing and installing playsets, we know that a strong connecting bracket is an absolute necessity for all swing beams. That's where the Easy 1-2-3 A-Frame Swing Set Bracket comes in. We designed this product six years ago to add another level of safety, strength and security to our swing sets. Fast-forward to today, and we have a patent pending on the design. And it turns out that we're no longer the biggest fans of the bracket -- our customers are!

    The Easy 1-2-3 A-Frame Swing Set Bracket is made of heavy-duty steel that has been welded together. We designed this piece of hardware to work with two 4” x 4” supports and one 4” x 6” swing beam. The idea is simple: Slide in the lumber and fasten with bolts. Repeat on the other side (depending on the specifics of your DIY swing set) and your swing set has a solid, strong foundation.

    Demonstration

    Specifications to Keep in Mind

    There are a few things we'd like you to remember as you plan your DIY swing set. We've designed the bracket to work with a kiln-dried 4" x 6" with a true measurement of 3-1/2" x 5-1/2". Our recommendation is based on the size of the bracket opening (3-5/8" x 5-5/8").

    With that in mind, we stress that the lumber should never be forced into the bracket. The goal is for it to simply slide in, which is the case for the great majority of customers. In the event that the lumber is too large, we suggest planing down the wood as needed. To avoid this task, we advise bringing a tape measure when purchasing the lumber to ensure you get the proper size.

    Finally, for more information on the bracket, check out Eastern Jungle Gym's verified third party reviews from TrustPilot. They provide lots of first-hand details. And don't forget that we're always here to help! Simply give us a call at 1-800-752-9787, or leave a comment below!

  • Play Slides: 5 Things to Know

    For most children, the slide is the most exciting part of the swing set. Even for adults, zipping down the slide is an exhilarating and enjoyable moment that brings us back to childhood. Whether you're shopping for a swing set or going the DIY route, we recommend learning about the different types of play slides available. Gaining this knowledge will allow you to pick the right slide for your family.

    Here are five things we think you should know when searching for play slides:

    1. There is no standard size. If you enjoy shopping online, do remember to look beyond the photos and check out the specs. Two similar looking swing sets may appear to have play slides that are the same length, but in reality, one may be 10 feet long while another is 12 or 14. The same goes for spiral tube slides, which come in a variety of sizes too. But remember to plan for the future. The kids will outgrow a toddler slide sooner than you think!
    2. There are a few safety factors to consider. When it comes to your child's wellbeing, we suggest choosing a slide with high side walls. This is especially important if you have small children (don't forget about cousins and neighbors) playing on the swing set.
    3. Not all slides are created equally. For starters, different styles of play slides offer different assembly methods. Here at Eastern Jungle Gym, wave slides come with our compact to mid-sized residential swing sets. Our larger playsets often incorporate scoop slides, with double-wall construction. That feature is one of a few that makes them similar to commercial grade units. Wave and scoop slides offer different rides, so if possible, we advise letting the kids try both before deciding.
    4. Color is your choice. We often hear customers wonder if one color will retain less heat than another. In our 24 years' of experience, we've seen that the heat difference between colors is negligible. Choose whichever colors will look best in your backyard! If you are concerned about heat, try to find a playset spot that is shady at least part of the day.
    5. Two is better than one! Having two play slides on your swing set really does double the fun. Whether they are two of the same or one is open and one is a spiral tube slide, this is the one activity that kids are always vying for.  If your swing set simply cannot accommodate a second slide, simply swap out the old one for a new unit. The installation process is fairly simple, so you can go back and forth easily, depending on the kids' preference.

    Play slides are the crown jewel of any backyard swing sets, so do your research and find the right one. The kids will get years of use -- and countless childhood memories --  out of a high quality, age-appropriate slide.

  • Six Ways to Modify a Backyard Playset for Older Kids

    When it comes to providing outdoor fun for the little ones in the family, there's nothing better than a backyard playset. It is not uncommon for parents or grandparents to purchase one for the kiddoes once they reach a certain age. But as the kids get older, it may be necessary to make some minor adjustments to the swing set in order to keep the activities exciting and developmentally challenging. After all, a backyard playset is an investment that families should be able to enjoy for a number of years.

    If this situation sounds familiar, there are several potential modifications you can implement to make the swing set more age-appropriate. They range from simple and inexpensive to a bit more advanced. Depending on the types of activities your swing set features, here are six options to consider:

    1. Rock Climbing Wall Adjustments: Removing some of the hand holds on the backyard playset's rock wall will make the climb a bit more difficult. This will help the kids to improve their agility and upper body strength.
    2. Replace the Swings: It may seem like a no-brainer, but any infant swings or toddler swings should be replaced with traditional sling swings. Sling swings allow youngsters to work their leg muscles as they pump and soar through the air.
    3. Add monkey bars: Because monkey bars require coordination skills and athletic arms, the activity is typically reserved for older children. Adding a set of monkey bars (or, as some call it, an overhead ladder) to a backyard playset that the kids have had for a few years will make the unit seem brand new.
    4. Add a gym ring/trapeze bar comboLike monkey bars, the gym ring/trapeze bar combo is another item parents usually hold off on during their initial purchase. But once they are physically ready for the challenge, the kids love this activity. They especially have a blast hanging upside down! If you don't want to sacrifice a spot on your swing beam for this activity, you can always add a wooden accessory arm off the clubhouse as a fourth swing position.
    5. Swap out the step ladder: Replace the wooden step ladder -- which many parents opt for early on because of the surface area it offers -- for one with metal rungs. Or you could add a wooden gang plank ramp, which gives the kids a chance to jog up to the clubhouse, another great way to get their heartbeat up! 
    6. Upgrade or add a slide: It is common for moms and dads to wait on the spiral tube slide because they want to keep the tots in sight at all times. Once the children are a bit older, that reservation fades. Whether you add this type of slide or upgrade to a larger one (say the 14-foot scoop slide from a 10-foot wave slide), updating the slide gives any backyard playset a new look and feel.

    Each of these options are a great way to renew the interest in your backyard playset. Kids will be kids, and at times, that means parents need to get a bit creative to help avoid boredom. Believe it or not, even adding a new accessory toy is often enough to get the children excited again and playing on the set.

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