Backyard Discovery Blog
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What are the Key Swing Set Parts to Give Your Kids Fun?
What are the key swing set parts to give your kids fun?
As a parent or grandparent, you can’t help but look back and compare how things are for the modern child with when you were young. I know that I was guilty of this when I thought about buying a swing set for my son recently. I kept remembering the items of playground equipment that I had fun on when I was young and assumed that the current generation would also like them.
Of course, the world has changed since my childhood. These kids consider me positively ancient. For that matter, you can’t even get some of the equipment we loved, particularly the group merry-go-rounds, the metal slides and the giant lullaby swing, which now I think about used to send toddlers flying. There is much more consideration given to safety than there used to be, and as a result, there are now a lot fewer gruesome playground injuries.
So, if you are looking at choosing a playset for your children or grandchildren, which swing set parts do you consider to be important? Which components are likely to provide the modern generation of kids the most fun?
There are quite a few swing sets available, at different prices to meet different budgets. Each set, of course, has a different combination of play items. You can add to the standard pieces of equipment with various swing set parts being available as optional accessories.
If possible, I suggest you put budget aside, initially - yes I know it will probably ultimately have a big effect on your choice of swingset, but there are quite a few options that come at a similar price. Instead, I am suggesting you look at your particular kids (or grandkids) and think about which features they are most likely to love. One thing I have learned in life is that it is better to spend an extra $100 on something that people really love than it is to save that $100 and then find that the kids don’t like the equipment and don’t use it much.
I suppose the core of any swing set has to be the swings (otherwise it wouldn’t exactly be a swingset!). And actually, that part hasn’t changed much since I was a kid. The swings may no longer be wood or metal, but they still do the same thing, and they are still as much fun for today’s kids, as ours were for us.
The standard swings are now belt swings, and kids can still swing to their hearts’ content. I have no doubt that the kids still compete to swing the highest, although that may freak us out a bit more than it did our parents.
If you still have little ones, though, you may choose to add a 2-in-1 Safe-T-Swing, which can act like an infant swing, and then convert to being a toddler swing as your kids begin to age. This way, even the youngest members of your family can enjoy themselves as much as their older brothers and sisters.
Of course, some kids prefer to be more adventurous in the swing area. A Trapeze or Acrobat Bar is standard on some sets, and can be added to others. These are great for the “little monkeys” in your household, who like to work on strengthening their arm muscles, and improving their gymnastic abilities.
Another swing variation is the two-person glider - not quite at the large-scale of the old Lullaby (which could carry at least ten kids safely, and undoubtedly carried many more in reality at times), but the gliders are still a great way for two friends to have fun playing together.
Another key swing set part has to be the slide. Slides have been around for many years, and although the materials they are made from have changed, the fun and enjoyment of whizzing down one has never diminished. Indeed, I imagine there are a few adults who still sneak onto a slide when nobody is looking (this in no way indicates any endorsement by Backyard Discovery of adults using your kid’s playset!).
Nowadays, you still have a standard downwards slide, but they are no longer made of metal, so you no longer have to worry about burning your legs on hot days. Different swing sets in the range have different length slides, and some of the bigger sets have multiple slides of differing lengths. Some sets also come with a turbo slide. These remind me of a hydro slide, except without the water. They are fully enclosed and can take a number of twists and turns before the rider reaches the bottom. I am jealous the modern kids have these. I would have loved my own turbo slide.
Obviously to come down a slide, you need to start somewhere high. Most of the swing sets come with some form of fort or clubhouse at an upper level. I have seen the kids’ imaginations come to the fore here, as they play games around “capturing” the fort, or they have a “secret” meeting in their upstairs playhouse. While there are often boring steps up to these clubhouses, the kids seem to prefer ladders as a way to get to the top.
There are quite a few options for the downstairs area. Some sets use this area like a porch area, some as a snack stand, and some even provide an area where the kids can set up a pretend shop. The set I bought my son has a hammock in the shade for any tired kids to take a break. One fun use of the area beneath the clubhouse is as a sandbox - again a simple activity that is just as fun now as it has been for generations - but, as always, be careful if you have cats and dogs! You might want to keep the sand covered up when not in use.
There are a few other swing set parts that your growing kids may love. One is a rock wall, which will help those kids who love to climb and work out their leg muscles. A further option is to buy a set based on a nautical theme, complete with Ship’s Wheel Gliders, a Ship’s Captain Wheel and Binoculars (which alas are for show only).
I suggest that before you buy a swing set yourself, you take your youngsters to either a public playground or a home that already has a swing set installed. Keep a close eye on your kids - not just for safety, but also to take notice of precisely what swing set parts give them the most fun. Do they completely ignore some parts of the playground equipment? Do they totally focus on just a few pieces of equipment?
Once you have done your research, you will be ready to decide which set to buy yourself, and which swing set parts you want to include in it. This is the time that you can consider your budget, and work out which set provides your kids with their best fun within your price range. If you follow this advice, I am sure that you will end up with a well-used swing set, and a household of happy kids.