What child doesn’t love spending a warm summer day on a playground? They can let their imaginations soar while swinging, sliding, climbing, and playing with friends- it’s even better to do so while in the comfort of their own backyards. But how do you find the perfect playset for your little one that will ensure fun times and safety? Don’t worry; we have compiled a list of features to be on the lookout for as you shop for the perfect playset for your children.
A Personal Investment Home playgrounds can run from a few hundred to thousands of dollars depending on the style. Though a significant investment, a properly maintained playground lasts for years. Make sure you are investing in safety features and high quality materials, not just elaborate playground attachments, to ensure your family’s safety and enjoyment. Consider how your children will use the space as they grow and understand that you can modify your playground equipment to suit your kids’ interests as they grow up.
A back-to-back glider your kids can operate with their hands is great for young kids because they are easier to use than swings. Fireman poles, monkey bars, and trapezes are better for slightly older kids since they typically require better upper body strength and longer limbs. Rope ladders and bridges require greater hand-eye coordination and can frustrate younger kids.
Craftsmanship When you think about which material to use in your child’s playground, think about wood. Metal can become dangerously hot in the summer and plastic will not remain durable for long. Cedar or redwood playgrounds are hardier than pressure-treated pine, spruce, or fir. When purchasing, double check the treatment used on the wood to ensure it is safe for your kids to use and will hold up against the elements. Heavy duty wood beams resist warping and cracking, and recessed triple joints ensure that the playground won’t fall apart while your child is playing on it.
Safety First and Foremost The safety inspection of your playground doesn’t stop at the store. Make sure to check after installation (we recommend you have it professionally installed) for a variety of safety precautions. Make sure there are guardrails and safe, easy-to-use ladders for your kids to easily grip as they run across. Cover swing chains with grips to prevent pinched fingers.
Dangers can show up on and around your playground as well. Make sure you have a recommended safety zone perimeter of six feet. This means that there aren’t any dangers that your kids can get trapped in as they use their playground: no clotheslines, electrical lines, or low-hanging branches that they can get trapped in while swinging. Likewise, make sure there are no tripping hazards like rocks, tree roots, or concrete footing. Also, install a shock-absorbent surface with a depth between 6 to 12 inches for inevitable slips and falls. For more safety tips, see the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Outdoor Home Safety Handbook.
Upkeep Make sure to perform routine checkups on your playground equipment to keep things safe. Check and see that all edges are rounded and capped, and that there aren’t any missing pieces, corroded metal, protruding hardware, or peeling paint. Check all the bolts and nuts of the equipment to make sure nothing has warped under the fluctuations in temperature and humidity across the seasons. Every few years or so, give the playground a light power wash and apply a fresh coat of sealant to protect the wood.
Backyard playsets are perfect to encourage creativity and active behaviors in your children. Finding the perfect one to fit your family should be a fun experience. With a bit of planning and a few tips, your family will have a playset that will be entertaining for years to come.