Wooden Playsets

by Tested_to_Destruction

A wooden playset may seem an expensive purchase but, in terms of play value and value for money, they're an awesome (and entertaining) outdoor toy.

Kids love to play make believe, they love to engage their imagination and lose themselves in hours and hours of outdoor play.

A great way to encourage your kids to play outdoors, in a safe environment, is by way of a wooden playset, which is nothing more than a combination of swings, slides and maybe a few ladders, hoops and, with the bigger models, a tree-house.

The Basic Benefits

There are a variety of different wooden playsets, in terms of size, indoor or outdoor use and individual features. As an example, those that are designed to be used outdoors tend to be both bigger and more expensive.

However there is the additional play value; larger playsets have a tendency to encourage children to further develop skills that cannot be easily mastered indoors, plus they’re generally a 'communal' affair.

An outdoor fort or large playcenter tends to consist of adventure based play on a grand scale. There’s usually a combination of swings, ropes, slides and climbing walls included in the design and, depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you could turn your backyard into a private adventure playground.

They can also be cost effective if you measure quality, length of use and how many children you have. Even today’s kids love to have a tree-house type play area, and one that includes lots of cool features and can withstand having their friends around to play well … all the better.

Don't Expect Small Price Tags

Most of the backyard playsets come under the same group as the larger outdoor wooden toys. As previously mentioned they’re rarely inexpensive as they’re built to last, and meant to withstand an awful lot of traffic that’s delivered by way of young children having the time of their lives whilst (presumably) playing fun role playing games.

Some of the best ones come in the mid-price range, somewhere around the $1000 price tag, and the one featured below is a great example. For that kind of money you can expect to buy sizable models, and, like the Swing - N - Slide kit, you should expect some/all of the following to be included:

  • swings
  • a slide
  • monkey bars
  • a climbing wall
  • a sandpit
  • a club or play-house

There’s an awful lot of value with the above, more so for children between 3 and 8 or 9 years of age. Past 9 and most children have moved onto ‘bigger’ things, such as hiding indoors with electronic toys!

Swing - N - Slide Chesapeake Wood Complete Ready - To Assemble Swing Set Kit

The Wood Complete Chesapeake Ready-to-Assemble Play Set ensures hours of fun in the sun for your little one! This features the award-winning Rapid-LOC bracket system, designed f...

Only $1164.48

View on Amazon

Consider Using A Plan And Build Your Own

You can buy plans that enable you to build your own swingset, similar or the same as the Swing-N-Slide Alpine Custom Diy kit below. That said if you’re going down the whole do-it-yourself route, be prepared to buy all the lumber and materials yourself. You're paying for the plans and brackets/fixings only.

There are some good kits out there for around $100 - $200, and if you’re lucky enough to live near a lumber yard, you could well manage to secure the whole amount for half that again.

This is one way of giving your kids a top-spec adventure playset for a lot less than buying a ready to assemble kit, and quite possibly a lot more fun to build as you can make it a family affair!

Alpine Custom Ready-to-Build Swing Set Kit

Swing-N-Slide Alpine Custom Diy Wooden Playset includes: brackets, two swing seats, canopy, pair of safety handles, two pairs of swing hangers, screws and play in one day option...

Only $139.98

View on Amazon

Buying On A Budget?

Although swing and slides cannot always be classed as being a 'real' wooden playset, many do come with at least a wooden frame plus they remain a popular outdoor toy of choice for many parents. They’re especially good if you’re on a budget and can be bought as singular pieces or, if your budget’s up to spending a bit more, a combination of both.

There are some nice examples available and, because they’re less costly, you can buy them age appropriate, changing for a new one/set when your children have grown a bit older/bigger. Buying a smaller, cheaper swing/slide combo is also a great way of gauging your children’s reaction, in the event that you want to ‘go large’ when they’re a little older.

It’s pretty easy to watch how interested your children are when they’re playing on a smaller, less expensive swingset or small playcenter, before making the decision as to whether or not investing in larger version is going to be the best thing you ever did or a complete waste of money. So far as I’m concerned, given the choice, most children would love to have a cool, feature packed wooden fort in their backyard all day long!

Updated: 09/21/2012, Tested_to_Destruction
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