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  • 5 Ideas for Father's Day

    Father's Day (Sunday, June 15) is just a few days away, but there is still plenty of time to snag dear old dad a great gift! Here are a few ideas worth considering:

    • A new storage shed: If dad spends a lot of his free time sprucing up the property by gardening, mowing and taking care of odd jobs, he would definitely benefit from a new storage shed. Keep in mind his tastes when you select colors and style. If you want to go the extra mile, start moving all of his supplies in there and get organizing! Imagine how surprised he would be to wake up to a new building that makes it easier to get all of his chores done.

     

    • An outdoor kitchen: Outdoor kitchens are all the rage this year, especially among those who enjoy cooking. If dad loves being behind the barbecue, upgrade his working space! Consider a new grill cart if his is starting to show signs of age, or go with an outdoor kitchen island that's stocked with a refrigerator and finished with a handsome tile surface. Truly an extension of the living space, the outdoor kitchen is guaranteed to be enjoyed by the whole family. And don't forget that grill accessories--from a spatula and tongs to a pizza stone) are always fun gifts.

     

    • Exercise equipment: There is no shortage of gift possibilities for a dad who loves being active. If he is into sports, think about getting him something that will enhance his enjoyment, maybe a basketball hoop, a punching bag, or even a new baseball glove. Another idea is a calorie counter or fitness gadget, like the FitBit or the BodyBugg.

     

    • A gift card: Maybe you've given an unsuccessful gift or two over the years, and now you are thinking something simple would be best. If this is the case, try a gift card to one of Dad's favorite stores so he can pick out exactly what suits him.

     

    • Something from the heart: We saved the best for last. Nothing says "Thanks for being a great dad" like a handmade gift (or meal!). No matter your age, this photo-heavy piece is a great craft that dad could keep on his desk for years to come. You can find tons of other craft ideas on sites like Pinterest. Just be sure to start thinking about your project sooner than later, as certain DIY creations can take some time.
  • Five Ways to Commemorate Memorial Day with Kids

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    The three-day weekend is here, and for many people, that means the start of summer -- complete with barbecues and visits to the beach. With all the fun and excitement that Memorial Day Weekend brings, it is important to look past the sales and celebrations and keep in mind the meaning of this American holiday. If you are looking for a way to commemorate the day with the kids, here are some ideas you may want to try:

    Share the facts: Many youngsters may not be aware of the significance of Memorial Day. Explain the facts--that it is a federal holiday, so banks, government offices and schools are closed; that it is celebrated on the last Monday in May; that it was initially established to honor those who passed during the Civil War; and so on. You could even pick a few wars and give the kids a mini history lesson (if it's a rainy day, think about incorporating an age-appropriate film that deals with a major battle in American history). Check out this CNN article for more information that could be relevant to the conversation.

    Attend a parade: Get out the red, white and blue and take the kids to the town parade for some community fun. There will be plenty of veterans there, so this could be a great time to encourage the kids to show their appreciation. Don't forget to pick up a few small American flags to wave!

    Visit a local monument or cemetery: Find a war memorial in the area and take the youngsters to see it. Read up beforehand and come up with a suitable way to explain the significance of the conflict. You can even talk to the kids about some of the more famous monuments found in Washington DC and other parts of our country by pulling up images online (visit a site like this one for more information). If you are having difficulty finding a monument or memorial, you have another option. Some local organizations place flags on the gravestones of veterans each year around this time. Ask around and see if this is the case in your neighborhood. If so, this could be a meaningful trip for the kids. It could also be the start of an important tradition for your family.

    Reach out to an active military member: Sit down with your son or daughter and go through an organization such as AnySoldier.com to send a care package to a member of our armed forces.  Another great organization is Adopt a US Soldier. Guide your child through crafting a letter that shows support and warmth.

    Enjoy the day: After you have spent some time talking about Memorial Day and what it means, continue the quality time with a meal. Incorporate a summertime dessert (here are some patriotic recipes to try!) and some time outdoors, with the kids on the swing set or the family taking a bike ride.

  • Five Ways to Make Mom Feel Special on Mother's Day

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    Mother's Day (May 11, 2014)  is almost here -- just over a week away! Dads, look no further if you're searching for ways to help the kids make mom feel extra special on this very important day. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Serve mom breakfast in bed: This may sound like a no-brainer, but it does take some preparation. Sit down with the kids the night before, come up with a menu and assign jobs; perhaps the youngest gets the place setting and serving tray ready, the middle child cuts the fruit, the oldest pours the coffee and dad scrambles the eggs. Be sure to set an alarm and wake up the kids way before mom opens her eyes so you have time to cook and serve the meal. And if you're feeling extra ambitious, consider whipping up a Mother's Day cake for later in the day!

     

    • Have the kids make Mother's Day gifts: There's nothing a mother treasures more than a handmade gift, and lucky for you, there are plenty of fun arts and crafts projects to choose from. Whether it's a simple Mother's Day card made from construction paper, a finger-painting, sand art, a Mother's Day poem or something else entirely, mom will love it. Let the kids be creative and come up with their own masterpiece, or do a simple Google search for Mother's Day crafts. And don't forget to take photos so mom can see what the process was like!

     

    • Spend some time outdoors: Plan a hike, a bike ride or even just a walk around town and enjoy the (hopefully) pleasant weather. If you don't feel like leaving home, sit outside and relax while the kids burn off some energy on the swing set or the trampoline.

     

    • Clean, brighten up the house: If mom is the one who usually takes care of the laundry, the dishes, the vacuuming and other household cleaning, do it for her and give her a break on Mother's Day! Don't forget to leave some fresh flowers, either on the table, in a vase in the living room, or even outside, in the window boxes of the house or the storage shed.

     

    • Pamper mom: If you've used some of these ideas in previous years, a gift certificate to mom's favorite store, restaurant or nail salon will always do the trick!
  • Ten Tips to Make Sure Your Wooden Swing Set is Safe

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    Swing sets add so much to a child's life. They allow for activity and exercise; they promote socialization by allowing many youngsters to play at once, cooperating and problem-solving together; and they give kids something to look forward to outdoors.

    For parents, swing sets keep the kids busy, freeing up the afternoons for chores--or even better, some relaxation. What's more relaxing than knowing your kids are having fun playing on a swing set in your backyard? Knowing the kids are having fun playing on a safe swing set. Below is a list of things to keep in mind if you are looking for a strong, durable wooden swing set.

    1. Protective Surfacing: A safe swing set needs a safe surfacing, such as rubber mulch, to lay beneath and around the equipment. Grass and turf are not options, as they do not have the ability to absorb shock, according to The US Consumer Product Safety Commission. A swing set should never be built on asphalt or concreteThe experts at Best in Backyards recommend at least three inches of rubber mulch on your playground surface. Click here to read the CPCS's guidelines on other materials, such as bark mulch, wood chips, fine sane and fine gravel.

    2. The Six Feet Rule: There should be at least six feet of unobstructed space surrounding the swing set in all areas. This is called the use zone, and, to prevent interference, it should be clear of any fencing, rock walls, trees, shrubs or other equipment.

    3. Level Area: When placing your cedar swing set, be sure the area is level. This will maximize the swing set's activities and surfacing materials.

    4. Recessed Hardware: All hardware should be countersunk so the bolt caps sit inside the wood, rather than on top. This method means loose clothing is less likely to catch. Plastic caps are not recommended as they can fall off or break over time.

    5. Edges and Sanding: All of the wood parts should be sanded smooth. The edges and corners should be rounded, too. This helps to prevent splintering, and it helps the kids avoid minor abrasions.

    6. Coatings: Ropes and chains are safer when they are coated in some sort of soft material. For example, swing chains should be heated, primed and plastisol-coated for a safe, smooth grip and no pinching.

    7. Stain or Sealer: To maintain the wood's natural beauty and prevent checking, cracking or splintering, an application of clear wood sealer or semi-transparent stain should be applied on an annual basis.

    8. Maintenance: Check all hardware annually.

    9. Upkeep: Replace accessories and tent tops if necessary.

    10. Replenish: If you have wood mulch make sure you refill it regularly as it will compact and deteriorate over the years. Sand or other loose fill should be raked and "fluffed" up.

  • Spring Has Sprung, It's Time to Get Fit

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    There’s nothing quite like this time of year. That’s because springtime isn’t just about the short sleeved T’s you can now bring out of your closet, or the sight of lemonade stands and baseball practice. Springtime is the one time of year when it is no longer too cold—nor is it too hot—to get fit, outdoors! Here are some great ways to boost your metabolism, lose those holiday pounds and get swimsuit ready, all while the kids are busy enjoying the swing set.

    Understanding What Your Aiming For
    Exercise is important for a healthy and happy life. It boosts your mood, decreases stress and even helps you to have a sound night’s sleep. Many people wonder how much is enough. Strive for thirty minutes of movement a day in order to get your heart rate up, and you are well on your way to a fit lifestyle!
    To improve the state of your current heart health (or simply to shrink your waistline), you need to know your particular target heart rate. Subtract your age from 220, and there you have it—the magical number you’re aiming for. Engage in exercise such as lifting some weights (start with a weight you're comfortable with--not too strenuous, but with some resistance) for a few minutes. Place your fingers on your wrist and along the artery. Then, count to sixty, taking note of how many beats you have. If your heart rate is not where you’d like it to be, increase the intensity. Then, store the weights in your shed for a clutter-free backyard!

    Push-Ups on Your Property
    Working out at home is great because it does not cost you a monthly gym payment. Instead you're just making the most of your property! Head outside and get down on the ground. Make sure your hands are placed so that they are just a bit wider than your shoulder-width. Get your feet in a good stable position and lift your body up, so that your arms are fully extended, and down, so your chest nearly reaches the ground. Keep in mind that the motion should be smooth and consistent from your head to your toes.

    If you’re new to this exercise, go easy and start with a few sets of 3 to 5 reps. Repeat daily, and as you gain strength, increase your reps and sets. This site offers great tips for perfecting your push-up.

    Lunges on Your Lawn
    Has your lawn been abandoned all winter? It’s time to take advantage of it by killing two birds with one stone! Think of your lawn as the primary spot for lunges, squats and sit-ups. It’s the best (and cheapest) way to get in athletic shape without all the fuss of heading to a gym. Start by standing in an upright position, with your legs shoulder width apart.
    Starting with your right leg, step out in a wide stance, and bend your knee so that you’re using your thigh muscles to lunge forward. Come forward with your left leg so your legs are now back together. Lunge forward with your left, and repeat this exercise until you have walked back and forth on your lawn, 2 to 3 times, lunging all the way.

    This sunny season isn’t just about getting outdoors. It’s about entering a period of rejuvenation. Spring into the spirit of exercise, and feel better about yourself, your body and the time you spend in the fresh, open air.

  • Swing Into Spring with a FREE Swing Set

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    With Springtime here there's no better way to kick off the season then giving back! That's why we're starting off with a Free Classic Cedar Swing Set giveaway contest. We love making kids happy and the Classic swing set is a perfect set to start with. It comes complete with all cedar lumber, hardware and accessories including two sling swings and a gym ring/trapeze bar combo. Our Easy 1-2-3 steel brackets make assembly quick, easy and safe!

    All cedar material is sanded smooth with rounded edges and corners. Everything is pre-drilled and all bolts are countersunk so nothing is exposed. The swing beam is 8' high and made with a 4"x 6" beam with commercial grade swing hangers so even mom and dad can swing on it. All the swing chains are coated with plastisol for easy gripping and no pinches. The side supports are 4"x4" for the strongest and safest installation anywhere.

    We love Spring and now you will to! Just click on the image above to enter and win a chance at a Free Classic Cedar Swing Set.

  • Swing Set Safety #2

    Swing Set Safety #2

    When it comes to your children’s happiness, you’re the pro. You know what makes them giggle with glee, or pout in misery. You are also the one that knows what puts an automatic smile on their face any time you suggest it—their swing set! However, there’s no worst rude awakening than when your child is swinging on their swing set one minute, and wincing out in pain the next. Keep them safe, happy and loving every second they spend swinging and sliding by applying the following rules. Then, everyone in your family can rest assured, stay safe and sound.

    Teach Your Children the Right Way to Swing

    It’s easy to get so distracted by your children’s excitementover their brand new swing set,  that you forget about the most important thing—their safety. Whether your kids are playing at an indoor play area, or your very own backyard, safety comes first each and every time. Surprising your children with a new swing set, such as the Supremescape Swing set from Eastern Jungle Gym is an exhilarating moment for any family, but remember: safety first!

    Acclimate your children to the “Do” and “Don’t” rules of their swing set. Spend a few moments teaching them about the right way to swing (facing forward with both hands on the chains, etc.) as opposed to the “wrong” way (jumping off in mid-air, etc.)

    Make Swinging a Fun Family Affair

    When it comes to children, accidents can and do happen. It’s inevitable—a trip on the slippery floor here, or a bump on their head, there. So, when it comes to swing set safety, the number rule you should always commit to is supervision at all times. Even with safe, top of the line equipment that you’ll find on all Best in Backyards swing sets, they can’t protect you from a slip, misstep or fall, all of which can be prevented with consistent supervision.

    Make their ‘swing time’ a family affair! Sure, it’s just your backyard, but treat it like you’re going to park and have hours of fun. Pack their favorite snacks and juice. Watch their faces light up as you applaud them as they slide down, racing their sibling to the finish line!

    Check all Swings, Chains and Bolts for Tightness

    Over time, some swing set hardware can loosen. And, when wet, it can become slippery, causing young ones to injure themselves easily. It’s important before every play session, that you survey your swing set for any signs of safety risk. Wipe down slippery surfaces, such as on the slide, swing and ladders. Once a month, search for visible signs of loosening. Then, look down! The most common area for children to injure themselves is because of slippery surfaces. There’s no time like the present—order our rubber mulch (the safest surfacing around!)—for an eco-friendly, smart choice. Available in a variety of colors, they go perfectly with your backyard equipment! Then sit back and relax. You’ve done your part to keep everyone in your family happy and out of harm’s way.

  • Benefits of Your Swing Set (You Didn't Realize Until Now)

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    Swing sets are good, old fashioned fun. What else can your children do that’s in the convenience of your backyard, can be enjoyed for hours on end and gives you and your kids the advantage of fresh air and zero guilt? While you may know that swing sets are a great addition to your backyard, what you may not know is how many benefits they offer! Here are some creative and usual advantages your swing set brings to your kids life.

    It Boosts Their Self-Esteem

    Sigh…how childhood has changed from when you were one. The biggest reason for this? There’s less and less opportunity for kids to act like kids. From academic to athletic pressures at school; peer pressure to cyber bullying, kids need a place that is safe, is assessable and can improve their self-esteem in one shot! That’s the beauty of swing sets. There’s no ‘downside’ or risk to having one (unlike so many other manufactured kids toys on the market) because with each slide, step or swing they engage in, they’re building confidence. They’re releasing anxiety. Best of all, they’re feeling good about themselves again.

    It Allows Them to Improve Their Problem Solving Skills

    Whether you have a five year old or a fifteen year old, children use any and every opportunity to learn. They learn about the world through what you say, and what you do. They learn how to act by how their friends act, or what’s suggested on TV. But invest in one of our Ultimate Swing Set Series, and they’ll learn, examine, assess, and come up with their own conclusions for swinging, sliding and playing their heart out! When you give them the gift of a swing set, you’re putting your mind at ease by knowing that their mind is sharpening and their body is strengthening. But to your kids, they’ll just think you’re the best parent there could ever be! It’s a win/win.

    It Promotes an Active Lifestyle

    When you were young, you didn’t have video games or the internet to keep your indoors. Sure, while that may make you sound a bit…old(!) this was a good thing. You had the advantage of fresh air and exercise (probably in excess!) whereas for kids now days, it’s much more of a challenge. The fact is, if your children aren’t being active, then chances are they’re ripping into a bag of potato chips and zoning out into a marathon of their favorite TV show. Ultimately, this sets a precedent for a sedentary life, not an engaging, interactive one.

    Swing sets on the other hand, promote an active lifestyle.  It encourages a healthy outlet to release stress and excess energy—because let’s face it, when it comes to your growing children, you’re always on the lookout for a new way that they can release their pent up energy and enthusiasm!

    Our swing sets are designed to allow your children to have good, old fashioned fun—the kind of fun you once had.  Check out our top of the line swing sets that aren’t just kid-approved, but meet your demands too! Start creating childhood memories today!

    Want to learn more about our swing sets? Give us a call or click here

  • Backyard Activities That Can't Be Beat!

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    Backyard Activities That Can’t Be Beat!

    While you love going to the movies, and chatting with each other over dinner—it’s easy to feel like as a family, you’re doing the same thing day after day.  If you had your way, you’d love to stir up the pot with some new, creative ways to spend time together as a family (and get that look of boredom off of your kids face!) Sit back and relax, because we’ve got three suggestions that are just what you’re looking for!

    Bring the Beach to Your Backyard

    If you don’t have the chance to head to the sand and surf too often, who says you can’t bring the beach to you? Whether you have toddlers or school aged children, a sandbox is a great way to give them the excitement of the beach, without having to make a day trip to one. If you want to get them really excited about spending hours making sandcastles in your backyard, look online for specials on clever sandbox bases—you can find creative fire trucks or fairytale castles to hold your sandbox in (that you can’t always find at your local store.)

    Create Memories With a Swing Set

    There’s no getting around it—when you invest in a swing set, you’re creating memories for your entire family. Do your son and daughter fight like cats and dogs? The swing set should take care of that. Does your 8 year old only child seem to continually have a look of boredom on her face? Put a swing set in your back yard and she’ll squeal with delight as she slides and swings for hours on end. Buy our Dreamscape swing set, and in addition to our sale price, you’ll receive delivery and installation for free. What’s a better gift for your children than outdoor fun they’ll enjoy each and every day?

    Play a Round of Miniature Golf

    Whether you have toddlers or teenagers in the house, having a happy family means that you need to change up the activity from time to time. Instead of the usual weekend mall shopping or TV watching, why not round up everyone in the backyard for some miniature golf instead? You can cater it for any and all ages (from simple to challenging), give each family member a putter, and be as creative as you’d like with the setup! Add some personal touches that your family will love, such as using part of your son’s Thomas the Train tunnel to create an obstacle for the golf ball to go through. The more involved you get in the process of turning your backyard into miniature golf mania, the more engaged they’ll become!

    With such a busy schedule day after day, it’s easy to get bogged down with all the things you have to do. But what about what you want to do, such as getting your family together for some good, old fashioned fun? We’d love to hear what you and your family does for weekend fun! Post a comment on our Facebook page, and let us know!

  • Eastern Jungle Gym on New HBO movie

    Well if you like Larry David, you'll love his new movie. This is just a clip of him trying to install a swing set and it's very funny. I guess he didn't use our instructions for this one. It is a comedy though, so that might have something to do with it.

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