Climbing Frames – Finding the right outdoor play set for your child's age range.

Today our children are spending more and more time indoors sat in front of the television or a computer game which is not a healthy habit to start developing at such an early age. As parents we must look to encourage a more active lifestyle and this must start from a young age.
A climbing frame in your back garden offers a safe and secure environment for your children to be active and stimulated at home and allows them to use their pent up energy .  Playing outdoors on a climbing frame will improve your child’s fitness, strength and confidence. It has been proven that active children are healthier and happier in the long run.
When you begin looking for the right play set or climbing frame for your garden you will soon see there is a huge range to choose from. Some structures have been designed solely for climbing whilst others are far more elaborate and feature forts, turrets, swings and slides. Obviously the bigger and more detailed the climbing frame the more expensive the price.
Before you decide which features you are looking to have on your children’s new outdoor toy, measure the space you are planning to erect the climbing frame otherwise you may fall in love with a structure that simply won’t fit into your garden. You don’t want the delivery truck to arrive only to have to send it away again because of such a silly mistake!
Once you have a size in mind the next thing to do is to decide on your budget. Remember by spending that little bit more on a quality item will ensure that your climbing frame lasts an entire childhood. When researching the price of various play sets take into consideration that many have one price for the frame and then will charge additional fees for add-ons, whilst others will simply be one flat price. This can sometimes make comparing various play sets time consuming, however a little extra time spent in the planning stages always pays off in the long run. If you are working within a tight budget don’t fret, even the simplest of frames will still provide your children with a base to begin their outdoor adventures, let their own imaginations take over.
Age Range
Up to 5 years old
For toddlers and smaller children plastic play sets are available. These are lower to the ground and are far safer. Plastic climbing frames are available in bright colours and have smaller slides and climbing ladders. These play sets are portable so can be moved around the garden allowing you to constantly keep an eye on your children whilst they play outdoors. These are great if you have a small garden as they do not take up too much room.
5+ years old
Wooden and metal play sets are better suited for older children, they can include baby swings and other accessories for smaller children but they will require more parental participation and supervision.
Metal climbing frames and play sets are usually made from thick gauge galvanized steel that is strong and rust resistant. They are cheaper than wooden structures but unfortunately less durable and will eventually weather.
Wooden climbing frames may be the most expensive of the three options but you can guarantee it will look better, last longer and see your children through to their early teens. If you can choose a wooden frame that has been pressure treated this will improve longevity and make the structure waterproof.
Jacks Top tip – For a growing young family investing in a play set which can include add on’s and accessories will pay off in the long run. It means that as your children grow you can add and replace various accessories allowing your frame to grow with your children and benefit your pocket!

Good Luck
Gardener Jack!

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