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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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