Tag Archives: Playsets

Swing Set Updates That Keep Kids Interested

The backyard swing set you bought for your kids when they were small was probably filled with challenging and fun equipment just right for their age and size. Bucket swings for safety, a short ladder leading to a scoop slide, and maybe even a club house for hours of pretend play. As kids grow older, though, their ideas about what’s fun and challenging evolve. Making sure that the backyard swing set doesn’t become an unused eyesore means keeping up with your children’s changing interests and abilities. By updating the swing set periodically with equipment and accessories that meets your kids’ current needs, you can ensure that the swing set continues to appeal to your kids over the course of many years.

Alternative Swings

Swings are an affordable place to start when it comes to updating a swing set’s accessories. If you haven’t done so already, swap out the bucket swing or half-bucket swing with a traditional belt swing or two.  Don’t stop there, though. Swings come in all shapes and styles, and a little variety adds a lot of appeal to a backyard swing set.

Belt Swing  Buoy Ball Swing  Pine Wood Chair Swing


Swing sets generally come with a standard scoop slide, which is straight, smooth, and adequately thrilling for little ones. As kids get older, though, they tend to prefer a more exhilarating ride. Replacing your original slide for a spiral slide can offer that extra bit of thrill to older kids. Spiral slides are often completely enclosed tubes, too, similar to what you find on commercial or public playgrounds. The enclosed spiral brings an additional measure of excitement to the sliding experience.

Super Wave Slide  Super Tube Spiral Slide

Climbing Accessories

Climbing equipment offers growing kids a fun way to challenge their bodies’ developing abilities. While not usually appropriate for young children, climbing accessories help older kids gain confidence, strengthen muscles, and refine gross motor and motor planning skills. Monkey bars may be the most common type of climbing accessory found on standard swing sets, but they can be added to an existing swing set that doesn’t already have them. Rope ladders and rock wall climbing kits are available, too, and are exceptionally appealing to adventurous kids.

Rock Wall Climbing Kit  Rope Ladder 

Making small but meaningful changes to your backyard swing set over time will not only encourage years of continued interest by your kids, but will also reinforce the value of your initial investment in the swing set.

Swing Set Safety

Wooden Swing Set Kits

How Safe is Your Backyard Playground Equipment?

Before you jump into installing the swing set you got for your kids this Christmas, consider the following… Backyard playground safety begins even before the playground equipment has been constructed and installed. Hopefully this information will assist you in planning and creating a safe backyard playground for your children and their friends.

The Best Location for Your Backyard Playground Equipment

Choosing the ideal location for your new playground equipment is the first step in ensuring backyard playground safety. Avoid sloping areas – level ground helps prevent playground equipment from tipping over. In addition, select an area that is away from potentially hazardous obstacles such as trees, low branches and wires, stumps, roots, large rocks, fences, bricks, and concrete. Plan for a safety zone of at least 6 feet around all backyard playground equipment; set aside even more space in front of and behind swings.

Protective Playground Surfaces

Once you have chosen the safest location for your backyard playground, the next step is to select an appropriate type of protective surface for under the equipment. Grass and dirt are the most common surfaces found under backyard playgrounds, but they are not adequate protection against injuries due to falls. Pea gravel, sand, wood chips, and shredded or recycled rubber mulch are some examples of protective playground surface options. Each protective surface option has its own specific minimum depth recommendations.

Backyard Playground Construction Materials

One of the most common materials used to construct playground equipment is wood.  Wooden Swing Set equipment should be treated to resist rotting and insects. Cedar and Redwood are two recommended wood types for wooden playground construction because they are naturally resistant to rotting and insect damage.  ACQ pressure treated wood is also a good choice.

Safe Hardware for Playground Equipment

Use the bolts and screws recommended by the manufacturer of your playground equipment. Lock washers or self-locking nuts are essential to prevent bolts from loosening over time. Be sure to cap any exposed bolts – these can cause serious cuts or entangle loose clothing. In addition, close all S hooks so that openings are less than the thickness of a dime. Carabineers, like those used in mountain climbing and other adventure sports, can be used as an alternative to S hooks to attach the top of each swing to the swing beam hardware.

Once the playground equipment has been chosen, constructed, and installed, the following guidelines will further ensure the safety of children who enjoy the playground equipment:

  • Bike helmets should not be worn on play sets because they cannot pass through some spaces and children can become trapped. Strangulation by the helmet’s chinstrap is a potential danger.
  • Ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes should never be attached to playground equipment because they can be a strangulation hazard.
  • Children who use the backyard playground equipment should be supervised at all times by a parent or other responsible adult.
Maintaining Your Backyard Playground for Safety

Ensuring playground safety means maintaining the equipment over time. Bolts, nuts, caps, chains, cables, and other  equipment should be checked periodically for wear and tear and replaced as needed. In addition, protective playground surfaces like pea gravel, mulch, and sand may need to be replenished.

Having the most fun possible is a child’s only concern when it comes to backyard playground equipment. With proper planning and implementation of the playground safety recommendations, you can rest assured that you will have created a play space for your children that is not only fun, but safe.