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  • 3 Fun Backyard Activities and Treats for Fall

    Fall is here and in full swing! Make sure you are making the most of your backyard before the winter chill strikes. Backyards are meant for play and to be a place where memories can be created. With these activities, you can turn your backyard into the perfect fall haven for your family, friends, and neighbors.

    Pumpkin Painting

    What’s the perfect activity for a crisp fall day? Pumpkin painting! It’s fun and an easy way to get kids outside. Painting pumpkins even allows for children to exercise their fine motor skills. To create a fun and interactive time for everyone, here’s a few steps to get the pumpkin painting party started.

    1. Set up a table outside with newspaper to protect it.
    2. Collect a variety of washable paint colors and paint brushes. You can even pick up some leaves, old sponges, or cut open fruit to paint and stamp on the pumpkins.
    3. Set it all up, gather up the kids, and prepare for the fall fun!

    Fall Scavenger Hunt

    When a little fall chill sets in, it’s easy to cuddle up inside and watch TV. Get your children outside by creating a backyard scavenger hunt! This is the perfect way to get the kids moving and outside to practice their gross motor skills. Create a list of backyard objects for the children to find or grab a few things from the garage. Incorporate the use of the backyard playset by hiding a few items at the top of the slide or in the tire swing. If you would like to download a free copy of a few different scavenger hunt ideas, we’ve pulled together a list for children of all ages.

    Fall Treats

    To top any fun fall day off, you’ll want to have the perfect seasonal treat ready for your kids and friends. Here are three easy and yummy recipes everyone is sure to love. Try one, or try them all! You will not be disappointed.

    At Eastern Jungle Gym, we encourage outside play for all. Fall is a great time to embrace the outdoors and spend time with your family. To see our selection of wooden swing sets, take a look at the offerings of our online store. For any questions about our products, reach out to our sales team and customer support for answers. We hope you all have a safe and fun time this fall!

  • How to Make Your Backyard Sensory Heaven for Children

    It is important for children to develop and experience all their senses early on in life. It is also important for children to play outside and engage in physical activity. So why not kill two birds with one stone by integrating outdoor and sensory play activities? We have three fun and exciting features you can add to your backyard which allows children to get the most out of playing outside.

    Rope and Bucket Pulley

    Children love the feeling of accomplishment. The rope and pulley system is the perfect way for them to express this feeling. Children also get to work on their gross motor skills by filling the bucket, raising it up, dropping it down, and getting to empty its contents. This fun addition adds repetitive entertainment to your backyard and keeps children occupied for hours.

    To create a rope and bucket pulley, you simply tie a rope to the handle of the bucket and possibly tie a few knots on the end of the rope for children to grab ahold of. Once the knots are tied, find an open spot on the beam where the swings are. Then throw the rope over the beam which holds the swings. Pull the excess cord until the bucket can sit flat on the ground. Make sure you have some fun things to fill the bucket with! Foam building blocks or a cut up pool noodle work great.

    Tire Swing

    Break up the action on your play set by adding a tire swing into the mix. Tire swings are a great way for children to experience a different kind of swinging. Tire swings allow kids to sit high, hold tight, and pump their legs a little harder to get the tire swing in motion. These actions allow children’s gross motor skills to take flight by strengthening their little muscles and allowing them to have a lot of fun at the same time.

    Attaching a tire swing to your play set is made simple with our three chain tire swing. Our chains are coated in soft plastisol, which prevent fingers from being hurt and the chains from rusting. If you choose to build your own, make sure you purchase the correct hardware to go with your recycled tire.

    Tightrope

    There are many muscles that get strengthened by a tightrope. Tightropes are a great way for children to strengthen their arms and legs, practice their balance, strengthen their core, enhance their climbing skills, and coordination.

    To create a tightrope in your backyard, locate two trees that are six feet or more apart from each other and are suitable for a tightrope. You can also make your own anchors by installing wooden poles in your backyard. Take one piece of rope and wrap it around the one tree trunk or pole multiple times just a few inches off the ground. Tie a knot and repeat on the other end. Make sure there is no slack in the rope as you tie it. Repeat the same steps with the second pieces of rope. Space the second piece a few feet above the bottom rope keeping tiny people in mind. This second rope will provide upper body support for the children as they balance and maneuver across their new contraption.

    This fall is a great time to give children the experience of strengthening their gross motor skills with these play set additions. Keep them entertained and engaged in outdoor play for hours with the pulley, tire swing, and tight rope. For more tips on how to make your swing set more appealing, visit our blog discussing the types of swings to add to your swing set!

  • 3 Playground Workouts for Busy Moms

    Mom working out on playsetSwing sets are not just for kids, they can be for moms too! Turn your jungle gym or swing set into a mini gym with these three full body workouts.

    For Your Arms

    If your child’s play set has a trapeze bar or gym rings, you can first focus on your upper body muscles with incline pull-ups!

    HERE’S HOW: Walk up to the hanging trapeze bar and grab the bar or the gym rings. Lean back so your body is relying on your arms to not fall to the ground. In this position, you may begin to pull yourself towards the bar and slowly release your arms back down to your original position. This exercise will work your upper back, trapezius muscles, biceps, and deltoids. We advise that you start with three sets of 10 to begin.

    PRO TIP: To increase the intensity of this workout, move your feet farther forward under the trapeze bar. To decrease the intensity of this workout, move your legs backwards to decrease the distance you must pull your body up.

    For Your Legs

    Good news! It’s time to switch the muscle groups you were just using. It’s time to do some squats.

    HERE’S HOW: Approach the swing of your swing set and turn your back to it, with the base of the swing touching the back of your legs. For this exercise, you are going to pretend as if you are going to sit in the swing, keeping your arms extended out parallel to your shoulders as you sink down. Once your toosh touches the swing, shoot back up into a standing position with slightly bent knees. Repeat this motion 20 times for 3 sets.

    PRO TIP: For a more engaged workout, twist your body as you are descending and have the elbow of one arm meet the knee on the opposite side. Switch arms each time you sink down for another squat.

    For Your Abs

    Lastly, we cannot forget the abs. Abdominal muscles are responsible for keeping our body stable and upright, which is needed to maintain good spinal health.

    HERE’S HOW: Assuming the same incline position that you were in for the pull ups, hang with a still body and lift your knee to your chest. Repeat this motion 10 times for each leg, doing three sets altogether. This exercise will engage both your upper and lower abs. Add in a variation of lifting your knee out to the side to work your oblique muscles.

    PRO TIP: Holding a single leg out, fully extended to a 30-degree angle, repeatedly and slowly raise it to a 45-degree angle. Repeat each leg 10 times each for three sets. This change up will give your upper thigh and lower abs a workout all at the same time!

    Not only do we have tips for keeping your body maintained, but we also have tips on keeping your swing set maintained! We offer great blog posts with tips on maintaining your swing set. Interested in buying a swing set of your own? Shop our online store to order your next piece of workout equipment!

  • 10 Safety Tips for a Wood Swing Set

    There's nothing better than watching the little ones laugh and play on the backyard playset. And knowing your wood swing set is sturdy and secure simply adds to this satisfaction! Here are the top 10 safety features every backyard swing set should have.

    1. Sanded wood with rounded edges

    To avoid splinters and other minor injuries, your swing set should be free of any rough surfaces. A good way to ensure this is to purchase a playset with wood that's already sanded and rounded on the edges. This way, maintaining the smooth surface will be relatively easy in the years to come.

    2.Recessed, tightened hardware

    All of our wood swing sets feature recessed hardware, a standard set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS). We know how important it is to eliminate anything that your child's clothing could catch on. At Eastern Jungle Gym, we highly recommend you make sure the swing set you buy has recessed hardware. If you've already purchased a swing set that has protruding hardware, consider replacing the hardware, or simply remind the kids to not wear loose or baggy clothing. Also, be mindful to perform annual checks on the swing set to make sure the bolts are tightened properly.

    3. Bolts, not nails or staples

    Your wood swing set should have only bolts to connect the pieces and parts together. Zero nails or staples should be used to construct your swing set. Nails and staples are simply too weak and they also stick out from the wood, creating a safety hazard for the children playing on it.

    4. In-tact accessories and activity areas

    If your swing set has been in use for several seasons, it is a good idea to check and make sure the accessories are intact. Look for pulls or tears in the canopy tent top, make sure any playground rope is in good condition, refill the sandbox if necessary, check the wood for additional sanding, etc.

    5. A soft surface

    The surface on which a swing set sits is oftentimes an afterthought for shoppers, who assume grass is good enough. The best option is a rubber mulch surface. Rubber mulch has a terrific ability to absorb shock, whereas over time, grass loses its ability to do so.

    6. Proper handles

    Anytime your child is climbing, he or she needs somewhere safe to grip. That's why we install grab handles at the tops of our ladders and rock walls. This way the youngster has a place to grab when he or she enters the clubhouse. If your swing set didn't come with this feature, grab handles may be purchased online. We also recommend larger grab handles to run along the side of the stairs. They're very easy to install, too!

    7. Enclosed clubhouse

    The clubhouse of your wood swing set should have walls wherever there is a no activity area. A safety rail is necessary for spaces where there is a slide, ramp or ladder that meets the deck of the clubhouse. The wall should have rungs that are about an inch to an inch-and-a-half apart.

    8. Separate the monkey bars and swings

    The CPCS and the American Society for Testing and Materials recommend monkey bars that do not have swings attached. When you are purchasing your swing set, make sure the monkey bars are separated away from the swings. A good example to display this is our Dreamscape 3 Outdoor Swing Set.

    9. Slides with high sides

    Your wood swing set should have a slide that features high side rails to ensure that the child is secure as he or she slides down. Super scoop slides are perfect for smaller children because of their high sides.

    10. Check the open spaces

    Measure any open spaces the playset may have. Make sure open spaces on the swing set are either smaller than 3 1/2 inches or larger than 9 inches to be certain a young child cannot fit his or her head through.

    It is important to be aware of these 10 points when purchasing a swing set for your child. After your purchase, continue to keep these tips in mind as you maintain your swing set and replace or add on accessories. If you have any questions about this article, give us a call!

  • The Benefits of Swinging for Autistic Children

    Swing sets can offer a great active alternative for children with special needs. Jumping, spinning, swinging, and rocking are motions that all work to help regulate the vestibular system in our bodies. Read why it is important for the vestibular system to be regulated and how swinging can help achieve that.

    Movement and the Vestibular System

    Every vestibular system varies from child to child. Be cautious of whether your child enjoys swinging or staying still. Your child may love to swing, jump, spin, and rock. As time goes on, this may change. If those movements help to calm or slow down their hyperactivity, you will want the proper equipment in order for them to achieve peacefulness. Having a swing is one of the best pieces of equipment to have. Continue reading to learn the benefits swinging can have.

    The Benefits of Swinging

    Movement is essential in the development of all children. For children with autism, swinging has the potential to impact the brain’s ability to process sensory information, which assists in the early stages of brain development. Swinging can strengthen specific sensory experiences an autistic child encounters. Sensory movements are described as touch, motion, bodily awareness, sight, sound, and the natural pull of gravity. As children swing, they are able to process these sensory movements which work in tandem with potential therapy solutions.

    Swinging movements can be used as therapy objectives to help children with special needs. It can help them relax, ease their anxiety, and calm their minds. These types of therapy solutions are great to be knowledgeable of in times where an autistic child feels out of their element or is upset.

    Swinging also can help special needs children combat their struggles with balance and coordination. Integrating swinging into their daily routine can help the development of their gross motor skills and muscles. The more swinging that is practiced, the more balance and coordination can be achieved.

    Where Your Child’s Swing Should Go

    As expected, you may be considering putting your swing outside or to purchase a play set for your children to play on. Placing a swing set outside is the most common space, but know that it is also important to have a swing that is accessible for indoor usage too. Inclement weather and late night episodes happen. You want to have a swing accessible for your child at all times to help calm them without any interrupted disturbances. The possibility for an indoor swing is available and with a little creativity and ingenuity, can be installed in your home.

    Swinging can help autistic children achieve developmental milestones. For help finding your next swing, look to our swings page. For help with installation, watch our YouTube videos for a visual explanation.

  • Swings for Your Backyard Swing Set

    Whether you’re dreaming up a terrific DIY swing set to build for the little ones or you’re simply looking to surprise the kids with a new accessory for their jungle gym, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different swings and accessories available. We have outlined the details of the different types of swings you can add to your swing set.

    High Back Full Bucket Swing 

    The high back full bucket swing is your child’s first swing. Designed to securely and safely hold an infant, this swing encloses the child 360-degrees and provides plenty of back support. You will get many years out of this swing, as it is suitable for infants and toddlers. We recommend children from 6 months to about 4 years old use this swing, depending on the size of the child.

    High Back Half Bucket Swing with Chain

    The half bucket swing with chain is a great transitional swing for your kids. It offers the same support of the full bucket swing in terms of a high back, but this time with a safety chain in front. This safety chain helps children get the feel of a real swing, while providing an added safety precaution. The recommended age range for this swing is about 2 to 6 years old.

    Sling Swing 

    The classic sling swing is what you and the kids see most often on your trips to the public park. A sturdy, high quality sling swing can support children and even most adults.

    Horse Glider Swing

    Unlike the swings described so far, which accommodate a single child at a time, the horse glider swing is designed for two. The kids sit back-to-back on the seat. There are handle bars for holding on and spaces for the children to place their feet. The kids love that the horse glider allows them to rock back and forth with a friend. With this swing, we suggest children be no younger than 2 years of age. The weight limit is typically about 200 pounds.

    Tire Swing

    The tire swing is always a hit with the kids. It can accommodate anywhere from one to three children, and is usually made with a rubber tire that has three or four chains attached. The tire swing will allow the children to swing around 360-degrees, so it requires a bit more space than any of the other swings listed here. The tire swing is a great activity for kids ages 2 and up.

    Three chain tire swing A three-chain tire swing makes a great addition to any backyard playground.

    Gym Ring/Trapeze Bar Combination Swing

    The gym ring/trapeze bar combo allows a child to swing and hang, and maybe even flip or perform a chin up. It’s constructed of a trapeze bar—ideally made of steel and coated in a soft plastic—with a grab handle on each side. The grab handles and the bar are attached to chains, which attach to a swing beam. Kids who use this swing can be anywhere from 3 years of age to 15.

    Swing Safety, Information, and DIY Details

    For maximum safety, we recommend that all plastic swings be made of a durable polymer plastic. All swings should include triangle hardware and S-hooks that attach to the seats. To ensure the safety of your little ones, we recommend heavy duty straight-coil chains with a soft coating (we always prefer you to use chains over rope). Look for swing chains that are coated in plastisol for a soft grip which will protect tiny fingers from getting pinched. These little extras can add up, but quality accessories are worth the investment.

    Don’t forget to take additional hardware into account. The first three swings mentioned in this piece would attach to a swing beam with ductile swing hangers and mountain clips. Whereas the tire swing uses a special swivel and the horse glider uses specific brackets. More often than not this type of hardware is not included with the swing. That will add to the price of the swing. The cost of the swings described here typically range from about $35 to about $120.

    No matter what type of swings you have in mind for your backyard play set, it is always a good idea to do your homework. Do consider what the product is made of, as it should be rust resistant and UV-protected. Also read up on reviews left by other customers. Remember, not all swings are made equal. Pay close attention to what type of chains or rope are used, how long they are, and how they are connected.

    Lastly, keep in mind that the ages we have listed here serve as a general guide. Some form of adult supervision is always recommended. If you are looking for more information on swings, watch our video to learn about the three swings for a wooden swing set.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

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