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Backyard Playset

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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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