Even as the world opens up, your backyard remains a haven for your children. And a great backyard swing set elevates it from a patch of grass to an at-home amusement park. The best kids’ swing sets can be a hefty investment, but the payout is your mental health: You yell at the kids to “go play outside!” and instead of whining, they just… go? Having a kids’ outdoor playset in the backyard also encourages more physical activity on long summer days when screen time sings its siren song.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are a few safety features parents will want to keep in mind when choosing a swing set. Though wooden or metal swings might be appealing, the AAP recommends choosing swings made of soft materials. During installation, parents should make sure there are no open hooks or bolts, and that the swing set is secured to the ground, and not swaying when the swing is in use.
Swing sets should be installed in areas with soft surfaces that can gently break a fall, like wood chips, sand, or rubber, if possible. “I think the surface is a real key,” says Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, chair of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. “Most injuries I have seen are due to the swing sets being on grass, or other unforgiving surfaces.”
The AAP’s guidelines can make swing sets sound scary, but mostly they’re common sense. Teach kids to walk far from swings when people are on them, to remember that seats might get hot on hot days, and to never stand on swings or tie things to them. “Supervision is absolutely essential, and [so is] making sure things are used as intended, and not ‘creatively,’ ” Hoffman says.
The Best Outdoor Swing Sets for Little and Big Kids
If you're planning on having a few kids play together, this is a solid option that doesn't break the bank. You get two swing seats and a ring/trapeze combination swing, all with pinch-free coated chains. Each swing supports up to 115 pounds' worth of kid. Because of its simple A-frame swing beam, you can also add a toddler swing, if you're so inclined.
This insanely detailed and insanely awesome swing set features a 4' high clubhouse, bungalow, cottage deck with a fabric shade, two built-in climbing walls, a vertical cargo net, and a ladder. Oh and there's a lookout platform and a slide. It has room for 10, yes 10, kids. The weight limit per swing is 110 pounds.
Go big or stay home, you say? Damn right. This is a full outdoor clubhouse for kids, featuring five foot high rock-climbing wall and 5 foot vertical cargo net. There's a long wavy slide. And two swings. There's also built-in safety railings and handholds, and two removable canvas sunshades. The swing weight limit is 110 pounds; a maximum of six kids can play on this at the same time.
Don't insult this by calling it a swing set. It's like calling Everest a hill. There's an elevated crow’s nest and telescope, two belt swings and a two-person glider, so four kids can swing at once. And behold the five-foot rock wall and full-size monkey bar set. Bad weather? No big deal, thanks to the covered upper clubhouse. And of course, nothing is complete without a 10-foot wave slide. The weight limit is 1,350 pounds.
So this isn't a swing set, but it's one great swing. You can use it from the time your child can sit up to about four years of age; the weight limit is 50 pounds. Because of its unique design, kids get a wider range of motion when they swing. And it helps them work on their sense of balance. You can attach this to a tree or an existing swing set.
The swing to end all swings: Kids can swing, spin, rock, or just hang out. It's a platform swing with a steel frame and made of heavy-duty nylon rope. There's an attachable cover to block out the sun. The swing stays low to the ground and is secured by a pyramid of feet, and the fabrics are water- and UV-resistant. The included cushion adds extra comfort, and the tent can be removed.And the weight limit is 400 pounds.
This multi-use swing set comes with a saucer swing, traditional swing, and a standing one (though kids should sit, not stand on it) plus a seesaw and slide. Unlike some backyard playgrounds, it has no high points for kids to fall from, and its legs come with padding to soften any accidental bumps. You may need additional stakes to secure it to the ground.
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