Small Backyard Playsets

by HomeArtist1

These outdoor playsets for small yards bring full-size fun to the wee-est of backyards--without putting a big 'ol dent in your pocketbook.

As parents, we all want our kids to enjoy a healthy dose of the great outdoors and crucial sunshine necessary for vitamin D production. Did you know that 60% of our toddler to school-age kids have suboptimal levels of this, most important nutrient?

Playing outdoors is just plain all-around smart but small yards may seem to rule out those fun-as-ever playsets more indigenous to big back yards. With our yards shrinking, there's a resurgence of well-designed outdoor playsets appointed with swings, climbing walls and ropes and maybe a treehouse to stretch our kids' imagination.

Indeed, these smaller playsets can be had without having to forfeit our summer vacay funds, but it took some digging. And I'm happy to share what I've found to be the best options in small outdoor playsets for toddlers and older kids alike. It's fun-in-the-sun without having to leave our backyards. How cool is that?

Small on Space, Big on Fun: Playsets for Small Yards

My Pick for No. #1 Outdoor Playset for Small Yards: 9.1' x 7.5' x 7.5'

Congo Swing'N Monkey 2 Position Play Set for Small Backyards in Gre...

What Swings Teach Our Kids

Swings also help kids learn to see things from other angles, as they lean back for a different viewpoint. Also, while swinging, children get a chance to see the world from a new perspective. Not to mention (but I will, anyway), tone muscles and improve balance. There's no substitute for exercise and outdoor play; it can't be simulated.

About this playset: I chose this as my "Author's Pick" for smallest, best option for extra small back yards. With less than ten feet to its length, it'll fit in nicely and satisfy toddler to school-age kids' need to explore to their imagination's content. Click the image for more details.

Outdoor Playsets: What You Need to Know

One thing you'll need to keep in mind when you begin shopping for your new playset - particularly the wooden playsets like this one - is its description.

When I began my hunt, I remember being uber-excited when I happened upon what appeared to be a 'dirt cheap' playset. But I would learn quickly that my excitement and impulsiveness nearly had me ordering a kit.

BIG difference with that one word!

A kit is just that: a few brackets, braces, swings and chains - minus the wood; you'll have to be mighty handy to put it all together, straight and sturdy and ready for the rough and tumble action of excited kids. If this is a scary notion, make sure you're ordering a complete package, like this playset for small yards were you can expect the whole kit & kaboodle - not minus the 'kaboodle!'.

I love this playset; it's ideal for small play areas and has it all! If you leave out or reposition the slide, I can see this model in a super small back yard. Click on the image for complete details.

Cedar Swing Sets: Make Sure You're Getting the Whole Kit N' Kaboodle


As I mentioned earlier, you'll want to opt for the complete play set versus the 'KIT' which is the makings of a project where you're the carpenter.

Indeed, you can go for the lesser-priced kit and have your lumber straight-cut at a local big box DIY store like Home Depot. But you'll be doing quite a bit of work (insert your own unappealing visual, here).

I'm happy to see several reasonably-priced cedar playsets for small yards, like those I feature, here. I'm loving the adventure aspect of the 'fortress' and all the fun extras like slides and climbers along with the predictable swings. These play sets have a longer life expectancy with their treehouse turned clubhouse when kids get older.

These cedar playsets have a smaller scale that's ideal for us city dwellers with a patch of yard to dedicate for play. If you've a super-teeny back yard, you might consider forsaking the slide, or if you're handy, just reposition it if it's a safe move.

Small Plastic Swingsets & Playsets for Backyards

A Word About Swings' Benefits on Health - Small Outdoor Plastic Playsets for Toddlers
Step2 Naturally Playful Adventure Lodge Play Center Swing Set with ...

Swingsets appear to be the quintessential simple playground accouterment dating back to before any of our time. But don't be fooled by simple physics; swings - and the mechanics behind making things move, have so much to teach our toddlers to school-aged children.

Remember all those developmental milestones we're bombarded with with every check up at the pediatrician's office? Those worrisome, bulleted words etched in black and white? Well, swings can help allay our fears with their wealth of advantages in helping kids learn cause and effect (if I do this, then this happens), spatial skills (where's up, where's down and where am I?), rhythm, coordination, patterns, timing and more - all while engaging and toning kids' muscles.

Indeed, who knew so much could be garnered from 'simple' movement!

Important Note About the Sun's Benefits

playsets keep kids outdoors longer

With all the hype about the sun's 'harmful' rays coupled with our need to keep our kids safe, we've unwittingly slathered on the highest degree of sunscreen,blocking out badly needed exposure.

It is important to keep sunburn at bay but our overzealous attempts have left most of our kids deficient in vitamin D; as our skin manufactures this crucial nutrient via the sun. The National Institute of Health reports that the benefits of sun exposure far outweigh the risks of sun-borne disease.


A Healthy Dose of Sun & Shade - Small Yard Outdoor Playsets with Shade Canopies


My Top Recommendation for Small Yard Swingsets

I have to put my own "Mom's Seal of Approval Award" on these outdoor swing sets (yes, I invented my own award for these!). I love the idea of a healthy balance of sun and shade made possible by shade canopies.

Did you know our kids can benefit from sunlight that's shaded?

These small swing sets promise the best of both outdoor conditions.

A Little Bit O' Sunshine and Cooling Mist

Equally appealing is the price, quality of construction and conservative scale; perfect for small back yards. Kids can play on into the afternoon with the playset on the left with its refreshing mist.

I'm thinking of how much I appreciated those misters while at Florida's theme parks - just marvelous on a steamy day! Both models have a helpful video at the links above if you'd like to learn more.

For those of us parents who all but dress our kids up for military combat against the sun's rays, I highly recommend this more sensible approach. Who knew?

Things to Consider When Buying Your Playset - Small on Budget & Size


swing sets with side slides keep things compact
Flexible Flyer Swing N Glide III Swing Set with Plays

Outdoor Playsets for Your Child's Own Fun

There were several considerations I wish that I had thought about before buying my kids a backyard playset. But in the end, I can share my thoughts on my mistakes, so you have a smoother time of things.

First, I suggest you consider your yard space, of course. But at a close second is your child's activity preferences, their abilities and how long you plan to stay where you're currently living.

Toddlers and Their Need to Socialize ~ or NOT!

Toddlers have a big job on their little hands. They're having to make a lot of changes - and quickly. So, it's no wonder they have the occasional meltdown. They have to learn to work and play in groups and for most toddlers, that's not a popular option; they don't want to share their toys;

they don't want to play that way.

As parents, we have the delightful job of calming (if that's possible) a distraught toddler when lil' playmate Zack took her shovel. Or touched her pail. One way I handled the situation was to try to prevent the meltdown from happening by explaining what behavior I expected before the play session. Oh, those dreaded rules. And the more you follow through with the same rulebook, toddlers come to know what's expected of them and what will happen if they don't comply. Giving toddlers boundaries before you even get started helps; it really does.

Ahem . . . getting back to playsets:

I love all the action that will be going on with this toddler-size play set. Its durable plastic construct means less bumps reminiscent to metal's sharp edges. There's plenty to do for everyone, so if you're into play dates, I'd go with this Neighborhood Fun Center by Step2. As I mentioned earlier, you can recover a lot of your investment if you sell after your little one outgrows it. Super-small, this outdoor playset comes in at only 63.5 x 84 x 58 inches! Click the image to see more about this playset.

Plastic Outdoor Playsets for Toddlers

ideal for small yards
Step2 Play Up Double Slide Kids Climber
Updated: 08/07/2015, HomeArtist1
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