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Cedar Playset

  • 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.

  • 9 Tips for Assembling a Wood Playset

    Building a wood playset for the kids should be nothing short of a memorable experience that involves the whole family. But sometimes this is easier said than done.

    Most of us have been in a situation where a project that should be an enjoyable opportunity for bonding and productivity slowly turns into a slightly frustrating situation because of minor mishaps. Usually this can be attributed to underestimating the scope of the project, or hitting some other sort of speed bumps -- missing a tool, stripping a screw, assembling components in the wrong direction, etc. -- along the way.

    That's why we are excited to use our 24-plus years of experience manufacturing, assembling and installing swing sets to offer some advice. Here are nine tips to help you build your family's wood playset with as few hiccups as possible!

    1. Read through product specs, features and assembly instructions, thoroughly and carefully, paying attention to any notices about the type of lumber needed for the product and the list of items included with the product. When you receive the product, lay out the pieces and compare them to the list of parts. This will save you from starting the project and then having to pause after realizing that you need a different type of lumber (for example, Eastern Jungle Gym swing sets are designed to fit kiln-dried wood) or are missing an important component (perhaps you would like to purchase stakes because the children using the set are a bit older), either because it was not part of the purchase or maybe because it was omitted in error.

    2. Pick the right location. This should be a fairly level area, away from concrete, asphalt and other hard surfaces. A rubber mulch play area is ideal. We also recommend keeping stationary components at least 6 feet from any obstructions (trees, fences, storage sheds, etc.).

    3. Give yourself enough time. We advise setting aside at least one full day for the construction of your wood playset, depending on the size of the unit, your experience with assembling wooden structures and so on. It is highly recommended that you have at least one adult there to lend assistance.

    4. Gather the required tools. For a traditional A-frame swing set, you'll need the following: 1/2" standard socket, 3/4" standard socket, standard socket wrench, electric drill, 1/4" pilot drill bit, tape measure, level, claw hammer, step ladder. Additional tools may be necessary depending on the wood playset model you have selected, but this information should be included in the instructions that come with the product.

    5. Begin the assembly on the ground. Your wood swing set will likely involve some sort of brackets. We recommend keeping these brackets on the ground as you slide in the lumber and secure the beam and posts.

    6. If you purchased a wood swing set kit, keep the boxes nearby. They could come in handy for keeping hardware organized, or for sliding the swing set into place (as this couple did in a time-lapse video showing the construction of our A-frame Cedar Bench Swing).

    7. Remember the basicsWear safety glasses; be sure to tighten and secure all lag bolts and nuts; pilot recessed holes as instructed to help maintain the integrity of the wood, etc.

    8. Keep in mind, checks (which are often mistakenly referred to as "cracks") and knot holes are normal characteristics of timbers. Do not worry if you come across these natural imperfections during setup. Checks are inevitable, as they result from the wood absorbing and releasing moisture. Typically, they do not impact the structure.

    9. Have fun! Remember, you're creating childhood memories by building your kids a beautiful backyard swing set. Make the memory a good one!

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