Play is essential for children. Period. It enables them to build imagination and creativity while fostering cognitive growth. When playing, children can set and implement their own rules, encouraging independence and an understanding of order.
No single activity defines play in children, whether it’s imagining a new world with the sticks and stones around the yard or playing with any exciting new toy trend. In many cases, parents don’t necessarily have the equipment their children need to enjoy some time in the backyard. This is why they take them to playgrounds, parks, or other houses in the neighborhood.
But instead of taking your kids out to parks to play, why don’t you save some time and bring the playground to your backyard? All you need is some ideas and a little investment. Our recommendation is that you buy a backyard jungle gym. Don’t know where to start? Here is your extensive jungle gym buying guide.
When looking to buy play equipment for your kids, you want a combination of safety and value for money. Here are some factors to help you get the right jungle gym for your kids:
- Size, Age Appropriateness, and Weight Capacity
- Play Elements and Accessories
- Ease of Assembly and Installation
- Price and Value
Size, Age Appropriateness, and Weight Capacity
When buying a jungle gym for your kids, ensure it is appropriate for their ages. For this, you need to consider the size of the equipment. Jungle gyms come in various sizes, depending on the age of the kids.
According to the international playground safety standards, there are three distinctive age groups for children which are:
- Children under two years
- Children between 2 to 5 years old
- Children between 5 and 12 years old
The size of a two-year-old jungle gym won’t be the same as that of a 12-year old. The two-year-old will need small-sized, light-weight equipment so that they can enjoy the play without much struggle.
In addition to size and age appropriateness, you should consider the weight capacity of the jungle gym. You want a piece of equipment that can hold on to the weight of your 14-year-old kid. Also, the kids will be using the equipment simultaneously, so you want the jungle gym to be strong and stable enough for your young ones.
You also need to consider the height of the jungle gym before buying it. If your kids are around 12 to 14 years, you’ll want a slightly taller model of the jungle gym, approximately 6 feet tall. For kids five and under, go for a slightly shorter model.
Buying a suitable jungle gym of the right size and weight capacity based on the age of your children will increase the safety and comfort of your children. And, of course, you should consider the available space in your backyard.
Head over to our jungle gym safety article for more tips.
The last thing you want is to buy equipment that’s too demanding in terms of care and maintenance, especially if you’re considering a used jungle gym. You want a jungle gym that will stand the test of time without requiring costly repairs and maintenance.
Well, every piece of equipment requires some sort of maintenance to increase its lifespan. However, professional repairs are much more expensive than individual/DIY repairs. So, you should go for a jungle gym that requires little professional maintenance and more DIY maintenance to save on cost.
Jungle gym equipment and accessories consist of different materials, including plastic, metal, and wood. Sometimes, the materials used to make the jungle gym may dictate its longevity. Although metal and plastic are durable materials, we recommend wooden equipment and cedar to be precise due to their beauty, strength, and natural resistance to insect damage and rot.
Before you close the deal, inspect the quality of the hardware and materials. Look at how the equipment is constructed, the bolts, finishings, and such kinds of things. If you’re not so sure about the quality of the materials, bring someone knowledgeable with you for the purchase.
Play Elements and Accessories
What kind of games do you want your children to play? This is one of the questions you should ask yourself before buying a jungle gym. Typically, the jungle gym comes with various elements and accessories for different games. This helps stimulate your kids’ imaginations. Some of the accessories include:
- Swing kits
- The fun phone
- Jungle gym bucket
- Step ladder
- Monkey bars
- Sliding walls
However, you don’t need all types of jungle gym elements and accessories in your backyard. You just need enough to keep your children engaged and entertained throughout. First, identify your children’s interests and preferences. Of course, it will be difficult, especially if you have more than one kid.
Now, identify the accessories that won’t bore them over time. For instance, make sure the jungle gym features a fun phone so that the kids can pretend to gossip on it. This will keep them active while helping your young ones develop their social skills.
A step ladder and a fireman’s pole will create additional recreation for the kids. If your kids love cars, you can make their driving imagination true by adding a steering wheel kit to your jungle gym. Make sure all the accessories and elements are child-safe and durable.
Ease of Assembly and Installation
Another important factor to consider when buying a jungle gym is the ease of assembling and installing the playset. You don’t expect to carry a whole assembled playset home (unless you have some magic equipment and a special means of transport).
Playsets come disassembled, which makes it easier to carry your jungle gym home before putting it together. Some of them come with instruction guides on how to assemble the playset in your backyard after purchase.
You should buy a playset that doesn’t require too much expertise or professional help and tools to put together. Go for a playset you can assemble on your own or with the help of your friends, although it may take you more than one day. Also, prepare your backyard well before installing the playset.
Some things you may need for installation include:
- Different sizes of screwdrivers
- Electric impact gun
- Electric drill
- Box wrench
- A ratchet and sockets
- Tape measure and level
- Locking pliers
An ordinary parent may not have all these tools unless you’re an engineer or a contractor. This is where the second option comes in.
Some sellers/companies offer installation services at a small fee. If you don’t have the knowledge, tools, or capacity to install a jungle gym on your own, consider hiring an experienced professional to get the job done. You don’t want to risk the safety of your kids by installing a playset the wrong way.
Price and Value
Now you’ve examined all the factors, and you’re now set for purchase. But do you know or have an idea of how much a jungle gym and all the accessories cost? Typically, there’s no standard price for a playset and all the accessories. However, there are numerous options that suit most pockets.
Various factors determine the cost. The first determinant is the size of the jungle gym. Are you looking to build a large playground in your backyard, or do you just want a small, simple setup? Of course, the cost of buying a small unit will be much less than that of purchasing a complete jungle gym setup. If you don’t have many kids, you can save on the cost by getting a small, simple playset.
Another determinant of cost is the jungle gym elements and accessories. How many elements and accessories do you need? The more elements and accessories you need, the more you’ll pay for your playset.
Also, consider the place you’re buying the jungle gym from as it affects the cost. Some sellers offer the accessories and equipment at a slightly higher price than others. If you’re buying it from a different region, you’ll need to pay more for transportation which adds weight to the overall cost.
The quality and durability of the materials also affect the cost of a jungle gym. You’re likely to pay more for high-quality and durable products requiring little to no maintenance. Also, wooden equipment is the most expensive due to the natural aesthetic appeal and classic style it portrays.
Lastly, the cost of assembling and installing the playset in your backyard will also feature in your budget. If you plan on hiring a professional installer, be ready to pay more for the setup.
All in all, the amount you’re willing to invest in a jungle gym will determine the value you get from it.
Setting up a jungle gym in your backyard can be a significant investment, and it pays off. Your kids can have all sorts of fun at any time. What’s more, you get to keep an eye on them while you continue with your routine activities at home.
When buying a jungle gym, make sure you get something that’s durable and age-appropriate for your little ones. Also, do some research online and from friends about the cost of the equipment and accessories before investing in them. And that’s how you’ll keep your children active and joyous.
Questions about jungle gyms? Shoot us a message.