Backyard Discovery Blog

Join Your Kids in Their Wooden Playground

 You’ve just bought the kids a wooden playground. You're sure that they’ll love it, and that it will give them hours and hours of entertainment. You can relax now, right, put your feet up and let the kids loose while you have a cup of coffee? Whoa! Hold on there. It’s not quite that simple.

Alright, if you’re a parent I don’t need to tell you how romantically naive that idea is. A parent’s life is never quiet. Depending on your kids’ ages, there are few times that you can simply relax for long without a “Mom, help me with this”, or a “Waa, he hit me!” echoing through your head.

So, it is inevitable, that when you provide your kids the fun of a wooden playground, you are going to have to be part of the activity. And so it should be. Your younger kids, at least, are going to need active supervision on the equipment, and you should be at least handy when your older kids are on the playground too.

If you bought (or were, at least, part of the decision making to buy) the wooden playground, you will undoubtedly realize that the playground is for the benefit of your kids, not you, but it can still be fun for all. A non-parent may see the playset as simply being a wooden structure with swings and a slide. A parent will see it as being a place where the kids will thoroughly enjoy themselves, which will also help their muscle development and fitness. The kids themselves may see the wooden playground as a fort, a playhouse, an adventure course, maybe even part of the old Wild West. It simply depends on what their imagination conjures up on any given day.

So a dedicated parent realizes that they have an important part to play when it comes to their kids gaining enjoyment from the playset.

Sometimes you have to play the role of referee. “Mum, Billy won’t get off the swing. I want a go!” This situation can be particularly difficult if you didn’t see what actually happened, and when there are two different versions of events. As this is a private playset and not a public playground, you may have to deal with your kids claiming ownership and not sharing, “Billy get off that swing, it’s mine!” This certainly is a case where you can give your kids some casual lessons in why they should share their things.

Although it is aimed more at public playgrounds, I was surprised to learn that there is such a thing as Playground Etiquette. I wonder if those parents who aggressively abuse the opposition when their kids are playing football know about this code?

Probably the worst role you have to take on as a playground parent is as First Aid Medic. Kids are adventurous. Many will push their limits to see how far they can go. Bumps and scrapes will happen, although hopefully you have followed our suggestions in 9 Safety Tip for Your Swing Set Kits, so you can, at least, minimize any harm. In particular, make certain that you don’t skimp on the surface underneath your playset.

Of course, sometimes our role is as a playmate. Now this can be a problem with a playset designed for Under-10s. There might be real questions asked if you start climbing into the clubhouse (which does have a weight limit remember) and then try to shoot down the slide. And it is not a good look for a fully-grown adult to hang off the five-foot tall monkey bars, particularly if your kids are looking on goggle-eyed! However, there are plenty of ways you can join in with your kids, without actually playing on the equipment itself.

Younger kids, in particular, need help to get onto some of the play equipment. This is particularly the case with infants and toddlers who will even need your assistance to safely put them in the swing.

All but the older kids will happily let Mom or Dad push them on the swings. They can see that your help will enhance the swinging experience for them. It is also a good opportunity to have some bonding time with your child.

Play should be fun for all involved. That includes you. You may not be the center of attention, soaring on the swings or swooping on the slides, but you can find playing with your kids in their wooden playground to be a highly enjoyable experience, which they will always remember. I still have happy memories of my parents playing with me, pushing me on the swing, helping me onto the slide and other such activities, from many years ago. I am sure that your kids will cherish their memories of you helping them, too.

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