It's spring and all the stores have a huge swingset on display. The question is how do you find the best swingsets when there are so many to pick from. Before you buy a swingset because it looks cool at the store, do some research. Finding the best swingsets is a lot like finding the perfect house for your family. Not only is price important, so is safety, low maintenance and the total cost which includes installation and changes to your landscape.
Remember Who's Going to Use the Swingset
The really big difference is who's going to use the swingset? Are you planning to have several children? Do you want your backyard to be a magnet for your neighborhood? Or maybe you plan to stay home and host lots of play dates instead? Do you see the common thread here? It's not really about the swingset. It's about playing with other kids!
Note: This topic is one of my personal hot buttons based on my experience owning a handyman business. Many homeowners bought the “big is better” swingsets that looked like a bargain. Failing to finish assembling the swingsets over one weekend, they got angry at us because the installation cost more than the swingset (Read: Tips to Installing a Swing Set).
The Best Swingsets from Your Kids Perspective
Here's where my experience as an elementary school teacher, mother and grandmother comes in handy. My granddaugher is an only child and there aren't any children in her neighborhood. That's why we take her to a playground a lot when we're visiting. Chloe spends lots of time climbing but her favorite activity in every playground we've visited, is the swing where multiple kids get to swing together.
This swing is lots of fun and it offers so many learning experiences too (now you can see the teacher in me). Ages three to five still need adult supervision and we're teaching them that everyone has to take turns on the swing. While waiting, they can also help push the swing which Chloe is doing here. They're learning about community, about taking turns and helping others. So when you're looking for a swingset, remember that there's more learning when kids have to share.
So the best research you can do when searching for kids swingsets, is to take your kids to a few playgrounds. Ideally you can do this when there are other kids there. Watch your children explore as Chloe likes to try everything out first. Plan to spend enough time there to see which features they keep returning to. Watch the other kids too, where they hang out and where they interact the most. You might be buying the swingset but don't forget who's going to use it.
Remember that I said swingsets were one of my hot buttons? Here are some other articles and resources to help you with your research and please let me know below, how I've helped you
- Backyard Fun is More Than a Swing Set
- Playground safety tips from the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS)
- Swing Sets: Research Before You Buy
- Tips for Installing a Swing Set
- Your Kids Can Help You Find the Best Swingsets >> this article
Swingsets + Seating for Parents = Happy Familes
After you've finally found the best swingset for your family, there's one more thing to remember. You'll want to invest in comfortable seating for you to enjoy time spent outside while your children are playing on … you picked it, so must be one of the best swingsets available.
Be good to yourself and buy a few chairs or a nice bench, so you and a friend can relax too!
Your choices are endless. You can coordinate with outdoor furniture you own or match the material your swingset is made from. Another great idea is a bench that also has storage for your kids toys, as inevitably there will be a few balls, sandbox things and more surprises.