Children never grow out of playing on the swings and going down the slide. These activities are all about having a wonderful time. What’s more, they help to improve your kid’s gross motor and coordination skills. So, what about equipping your backyard or garden with a swing set?
This is a real win-win situation: besides pure entertainment and aid to your child’s physical development, the set will also greatly add to your yard’s appearance. Although you can hire a contractor or buy a ready-made set, we recommend that you try to work on the project yourself.
First, it will substantially reduce your costs. Second, you will be able to use such a hypoallergenic and eco-friendly material as wood. Third, you can ask your children to assist you: they will be extremely proud of their involvement.
It is not a problem to find plans for a homemade playground on the Internet: for example, you can download free plans that are provided by the famous Popular Mechanics magazine, and follow their detailed instructions that can be found in this in-depth article. You can also follow the example of this blogger who describes the process of construction of a wooden playground in meticulous detail.
The cost of such a project can vary from some $950 in the former case to as little as $300 in the latter case: yard sales often provide a great opportunity to buy used swing seats and wave slides that are as good as new and cost next to nothing. The choice of pine boards can also save you some money. Do not forget to treat the boards to make them last longer.
It is also a great idea to use the bottom of the slide tower as a sandbox that is protected both from the sun and rain. Trapeze bars and rings are ideal for building up muscles: older children like playing with them. Cover your tower with a roof to turn it into a playhouse where your kids will spend their outdoor time reading, playing with toys or simply watching the world go by.
When choosing a suitable material for the roof, bear in mind that inexpensive mesh tarp can be an attractive alternative to corrugated plastic (potentially toxic) or metal sheets (heavy and costly). Having chosen the tarp you will also save a lot of time when fixing the roof in place: you won’t need numerous rafters, and it is very easy to staple the tarp to the wood.
Older kids will have no problem using ladders. However, if your child can barely walk it might be reasonable to decide on a ramp rather than a stepladder.
It is important to make sure that the entrance to the tower is tall enough to let your kid in without risking a head injury. Sometimes children grow so fast that what once was big enough is now totally inadequate. You can either place the entrance and the slide next to each other, or place the ladder or ramp in the rear and the slide in the front of the tower. This design approach is both elegant and less demanding of your kid’s physical skills.
And here is the last thing you should do when the work is done. Join your children in their games!