You’ve found an interesting looking swing set that seems like a good fit for your family. But perhaps you have lingering doubts about whether the kids will use the swing set enough to be worth it. Maybe they’ll grow out of it, and you’ll be left with an oversized piece of abandoned play equipment in your yard.
Let me reassure you. A swing set is almost essential for Mission: Backyard Adventure.
A swing set is worth it for kids. It will keep them occupied in play, as well as develop their gross motor skills. If they have siblings, they’ll need to learn to work together to push each other on the swings until they can do it themselves. Even teens will still drift for hours on swings talking, often with music.
Here are the tips that worked in our home. After much research, we ended up with our first swing set. It had a small playhouse attached. There were two kids swings, a rocker, a couple of rings and something that looked like a trapeze bar. Later on, we had a simple A-frame with three swings when we moved and the kids were older.
I’ll help you answer the question, “Are swing sets worth it?” for yourself.
1. Get The Swing Set Early, But Anytime Is Better Than Never
Whilst it’s never too late to get a swing set, it can be really fun to have a swing with a toddler. There is such pure joy as they swing toward you and giggle in your face. For my kids, I wanted them to be able to hold themselves with a bit of confidence. I probably waited until at least 12mths, and then it was only really gentle pushes.
Even once your child can walk around easily, they will still need help getting on and off the swing (particularly the ‘bucket’ style for little ones). They will also want to be pushed again and again.
One of my kids learned to push herself at around 3 years. Legs in, legs out. Another of my children was much later, somewhere between 5 and 6 years old. I can’t quite remember how old the third child was (oops!), but it was probably somewhere in that range.
If you have another baby, and the older child can push themselves, it’s really lovely just being outside on the lawn with them both. You’re close enough to be altogether, but also helping the older child develop their own sense of achievement.
Between 7 and 12 years old, the kids will use the swing set with friends. Friends from school, from the neighborhood, everywhere really. Depending on how adventurous they are, they’ll start trying to see how high they can jump off the swing whilst it’s in full flight. Or to be daredevils and somehow manage to climb on top of the whole thing. Now that I’ve written that, I can see that it might seem a bit dangerous. However, at that age, if they’re going to be pushing boundaries, I’d prefer they’re doing it at home where they can get help fast.
Even after 12 years old, my kids still used the swings to have some space with their friends. They’d take their phones out to play music, and then just hang there, swinging gently.
2. As They Get Older, It’s Better With A Couple Of Kids Rather Than Just One
Little kids will go into their fantasy world easily, and can entertain themselves there quite happily by themselves. From time to time, you may have to be their accomplice, and either push on the swing or order at the café restaurant window. But they’ll play happily without other kids needing to be around.
Older kids enjoy bouncing off other kids, learning social skills, whilst still figuring out where their fast-growing limbs will end up. A swing set is ideal for helping them keep their balance, whilst they navigate their friendships safely.
You might find that your yard becomes a bit of a magnet, attracting other kids. When it comes to playtime, you’ll generally find the more the merrier. It’s great for the kids to have unstructured time to play. And if you have the yard with the swings, you’ll find that your yard will have just a bit more status and ‘cool’ factor.
3. It Can Help Keep The Kids Busy Outside Without Having Them Roam The Streets
A swing set is also worth it to keep the kids close to home. Depending on where you live, what the local kids are like and how much traffic there is, you might want to keep the kids nearby.
Having fun, cool things to do in your own yard will keep them entertained, especially whilst they are tweens or younger.
If you’re working from home, this will also help you feel comfortable knowing that they are getting out in the open air, having some sun on their face, and safe in your own yard.
4. A Swing Set Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive
Swing sets come in an enormous price range. There are swing sets that cost over $10,000, and others being given away for free on Craigslist, and so very many in between.
If you want the latest whizz bang playset with three forts, several swings and a couple of slides, you’ll be able to find it readily enough. These are beautiful, well-made and require an enormous yard to put them in. Some of them are so big they would probably suit a school better than a single family home, but if that’s what you would like, please do not let me stop you
If you have a more normal budget, you can find excellent options in the several hundred dollar range.
And if you want to keep costs super low, then Craiglist, Facebook Marketplace can be a source of bargains. If you are willing to dissemble and transport, it’s very likely that you’ll find a swing set for free or well under $100.
5. A Swing Can Be Difficult To Transport When You Move
Swing sets can be moved, but it does take a bit of effort to make it happen. You have to take apart every bolt, and not lose any of them in the move. Then you need to remember which one goes where when you go to put it all back together. It’s worth thinking about if you are the type of family to do this, or if you are likely to move house in the next 6 months.
When we moved house, we simply left our first swing set behind for the next family to enjoy. As the kids were getting on towards the tweens and teens, we decided to move to a simpler A-frame wooden swing set that had just 3 swings. They’d grown out of the playhouse and climbing wall, but still enjoyed the rhythmic motion of the swing.
I’d absolutely say that a swing set is worth it. My little kids enjoyed being pushed and then learning how to swing themselves. It was a great safe way to get an hour to myself inside whilst they played outdoors on the swings. As they became older teens, they still loved playing on the swings. They’d take their phones down, listen to music and sing down there. Overall, it’s a winning element of Mission: Backyard Adventure!
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