Children swinging and climbing on a swing set

How to Choose the Right Outdoor Playset for Your Child’s age

Children swinging and climbing on a swing set

Outdoor play is important for all, but even more so for children. However, due to the rise of technology, most children have lost the beauty of the great outdoors and spend all day in the house watching on screens. 

If you supply schools, daycare centers, parks or stadiums, your primary aim is providing the best options that cater to your clients’ requirements. This comprehensive article will cover all the essentials of how to choose the right outdoor playset for your child’s age, the different types, our top picks and their pros and cons. 

Types of Outdoor Playset

A white inflatable water climbing tower

The best outdoor play equipment caters to children of all ages. They also should stand different environmental conditions and budgets.

Free standing structures

A portable outdoor hammock

With space in mind, free standing structures don’t demand big rooms and are set up effortlessly. Examples include a balance board and swing beam, hammock, and picnic table.

Towers

A rock climbing wall tower for commercial purposes

Towers are becoming more common among commercial and residential playsets. The addition of other setups enhances a playset’s visual appeal and gives extra space for upgrades like slides, rock barriers, cargo nets, and ladders.  

Playhouses

a customized cottage playhouse for toddlers

Kids have hours of active imaginative entertainment in playhouses. They’re appropriate for children who want to mimic their parents. They can enjoy the outside of the playhouse through the slider windows with screens. 

Factors to Consider when choosing outdoor playsets

A huge adventurous playset with theme parks

High-quality outdoor playsets are an investment for the long-term. But, there’s only one challenge with long-term playsets, children grow very fast and so do their needs. It means, you should choose an outdoor playset that can grow and adapt with children for years to come. Here’s a pointer of what to consider when choosing the right outdoor playset for any child’s age. 

Outdoor playset tower

The tower of your preferred outdoor playset serves as the foundation where the rest of the set is built on. Thus, it’s a very important aspect to keep in mind as it’s the hardest to upgrade. 

  • Smaller towers – smaller towers have little usable space to work with when choosing accessories. However, they’re perfect if you’re looking for more cost-effective, shorter-term options for toddlers and preschool kids. 
  • Mid-size towers– mid-size towers have sizable space that can accommodate more accessories compared to smaller towers. They are a higher investment but will offer more flexibility as kids get older. They’re an ideal choice if you’re looking for sets where kids can grow into, or to a wider age range.
  • Unique towers– These are fit for older children in their early and late elementary school years, between 5-12+ years old. 

Outdoor playset accessories for the right outdoor playset

An amusement park with water slides

After deciding on the tower, it’s now time to start thinking of the accessories that will go into it. It’s advisable that you choose accessories that are easy to upgrade. Meaning, you can start with a toddler-friendly set and upgrade to different ages as they progress. 

  • Swing attachments– Many sets come with 3 or 4 swing options which is okay for almost all age groups. For elementary school kids, adding climber swing attachment is great as it adds an extra challenge to their motor skills and arm strength. 
  • Climbers and entry– These are accessories that are used to climb to the tower. For little ones, an access ladder with railing or ramp will be safer and easy to use. But for older kids, rock climbs or cargo nets will serve as a challenge whenever they climb to the tower.
  • Slides- Slides are fun for children of all ages. Straight open slides are ideal for toddlers and children below 5, while those above, it’s hard to beat the excitement of sliding down a tube slide.
  • Swings– Swings are easily upgradable as they are simply removed from their sung attachments and replaced as desired. 

Safety

It’s always good to buy outdoor playsets from established and well-known dealers. Any company will claim to put safety first. It’s always good to buy from companies who back those claims up. 

Size

It’s now time to break out your measuring tape. Size in this context refers to the size of the safety zone which is the area surrounding the playset. This area should be covered with loose material to protect kids from unseen falls and injuries.

Materials, maintenance, and durability

There are three options of swing set materials to choose from: wood, vinyl, or metal. Each material has its positives and drawbacks in regards to durability, cost, and maintenance. 

Vinyl playsets are a bit expensive as they have low maintenance requirements. They last for years but make it hard to spot dangerous safety hazards. Metal playsets, on the other hand, are the cheapest as they are prone to rust, become extremely hot in hot weather conditions, and require regular repair. Lastly, wooden playsets are made using lumber that needs annual pressure treatment with water repellent coating to prevent weathering and rotting. However, they’re really durable and can last up to preteen years. 

Tower deck height

A good outdoor playset should accommodate the heights of children in all age brackets. A deck height of 5′ can make it harder for children to enjoy. However, lower deck heights are suitable for commercial settings like preschools and daycares. One with a height of 6′-9′ or a multi level deck can accommodate children of all ages. 

Weight restrictions

Different playsets have varying weight restrictions. You should consider playsets with a higher weight limit for the following reasons:

  • Higher volume of children in commercial settings
  • Older children or  children with older siblings 
  • Toddlers or children with special needs who’ll need an adult present in the playset

Age-specific playsets

A wooden swing and slide for babies in a daycare

Playsets under 2

Children who are two years old and below are not as hardy when they become older. However, playing is fun and crucial for their wellbeing. Infants to 2-year-olds will have fun being pushed in infant swings, but as they move into toddlerhood, their outdoor equipment should be a safe haven where they can learn to crawl, stand, and walk. Their ideal equipment should be wooden and sturdy with stairs and ramps with safety rails to give them a balance while preventing them from climbing over. 

Ideally, this playset should include bucket swings as they’re fit for toddlers and babies. Other great additions are tunnels and open slides which they can enjoy under supervision. 

Playsets 2-5

Kids between two to five years olds are in their preschool era. They’re getting more curious and adventurous. They’re playsets should have climbing areas and ladders to inspire them to climb and use their feet together with their hands. 

These playsets should also have handles for safety purposes. Tubes and spiral slides are ideal for this age group, as they add to the adventure and present a challenge for the children to climb. This is also a good time to introduce regular belt swings to lower the swing beam for a safe swinging height.

Playsets 6-9

Between the age of 6-9, children are stronger and more agile, and have developed more motor skills for proper coordination. They’re getting more adventurous than their younger counterparts. 

Safe and more challenging outdoor equipment should be your go-to for this age group. They include large rock-climbing ramps, knotted ropes, tall ladders, chain ladders, loop climbers, track rides, silo scramble, advanced slides, and monkey bars.

Playsets 10+

As big as they seem, children over ten years will still enjoy a playset. They’ve already mastered the physical aspects of the set, but will still love to swing, climb, and slide. For their advanced outdoor playset, add sky lofts, tire swings, bridges, and ropes to climb.

Wrapping up

As a supplier, the bigger picture is to create top-quality playful getaways for children of all ages. By considering the factors above, you’ll not only provide a diverse range of thoughtfully designed playsets, but also deliver ones that can stand the test of times at relatively lower prices. Explore high-quality outdoor playsets on Alibaba.com and connect with the best manufacturers in a bid to grow your business.

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