Children’s Outdoor Play Sets

Most children love to play outdoors, but sometimes they become bored and want to come inside to watch TV or play video games. If they begin to get lazy and spend too much time indoors, you might consider getting an outdoor play set for them. Children’s time should be balanced between indoor and outdoor activities for optimum health. Their growing bodies need lots of exercise, and a play set is the perfect way to encourage them to be active and burn off some of their excess energy in a wholesome constructive way as they soak up some of that healthful sunshine.

A play set can be as simple as a swing hanging from a sturdy tree limb or as complex as a swing set with monkey bars, glider slide, teeter totter, ladder, tower, rock climbing wall, trapeze, bridge, tunnel, sand box and sun shade. Consider the size of the area you want to allocate for the play set, and include about six feet of extra space around it on all sides to allow room for running from one area to another. This will help you to determine how large the play set can be. Choose an area in your yard that you can devote exclusively to play, and do not expect grass and flowers to survive in that spot. To prevent sunburn, choose an area that is at least partially shaded in the summertime, or construct some type of awning for it.

Suitable materials for play sets are wood, metal and plastic. Plastic sets are best for small children and are usually not large enough or sturdy enough for heavier older children. A metal play set is good for larger children and should be treated in some way so that it will not rust. A wood set is usually strong, and a sturdy wooden play set should hold up well for many years. If you choose a wooden set, it should be well sanded to prevent splinters and treated to resist moisture and insect damage.

When shopping for a play set for your children, your first priority should be for their safety. Make sure it is sturdy and well constructed with no sharp edges or points. Chains wrapped with plastic will help to prevent pinched fingers, and using chains instead of ropes will prevent rope burns. Smaller children need straps to keep them from falling off the swings and teeter totters. Bridges, ladders and lookouts should have sturdy railings. Anchor the play set into the ground well, so that it cannot tip over when the play gets vigorous. Check the play set periodically to assure that there are no sharp or rough edges and that all the screws and bolts remain tight.

Kids will be kids, and they are sure to fall now and then, but if you cover their play set area with material that will help to prevent injuries when that happens, you can avoid some of the pain. Skinned knees are a common occurrence during outdoor play, but broken bones can put a damper on active play for quite a while. If you want them to have a softer landing, you can purchase fine sand, gravel, wood chips or chips made from recycled shredded rubber tires to spread under their play set. Whatever you decide to put on the ground, make it deep enough to be effective in cushioning their falls.

Before your children begin to play on their play set, give them some basic safety rules to follow. Tell them not to get off a teeter totter while another child is up on the other end, and not to walk close to someone swinging. What may seem like common sense to an adult may not occur to a child, so some safety instructions may prevent accidents.

Your children will build muscles and learn confidence as they exercise and play on an outdoor play set. They will be healthier and happier when they play outside in the fresh air and sunshine more often, and a play set is the ideal attraction to draw them out of doors frequently.