Garden Play Equipment  

From see-saws and swings through to climbing frames and play houses, there is a wide range of garden play equipment for all gardens, ages and budgets. Whether you want something to keep the children busy in the garden for hours, or something to entertain the grandchildren when they come to visit, there will be some garden play equipment to meet your exact requirements. 

Placeholder image Starting at simple stand alone pieces such as slides, swings and see-saws, play equipment can also come as a larger integrated equipment or modular items that can build up into a larger scale piece. Consider your child's age when buying, as you can get play equipment aimed solely at pre-school children, or you may want to get things that can grow as your children do. For example, swings with baby seats that can be extended into full size swings, or climbing frames with platforms that can be extended to provide adventurous play for older children. 

 The advantage with modular designs is you can choose the bits you want to match your children's preferences. Don't forget about elements such as dens or covered areas that will give your children hours of opportunities for imaginative play, or activity tables that give an extra dimension and also make a great spot for a snack or lunch, as playing outside always helps build up an appetite. 

 Creating the right outdoor play experience takes some planning and thought. To start with, consider how much space you have and how much you want to use for garden play equipment. Measuring carefully is a really good idea. Once you have an idea of how much space you have, think about the types of play equipment, what will fit in and what you can afford. When considering space, make sure there is plenty of space around equipment and remember that swings will need extra clearance space. It might be worth drawing up a wish list of the types of features you would like. If they are old enough, children may enjoy helping to plan the type of equipment they would like. If you have a wide range of ages to cater for, try and ensure that they are some elements that younger ones can also do by themselves. A sand table or sand pit is often a good choice.

Placeholder imageOne of my all time favourite climbing apparatus for the garden is the domed climbing frame. We bought one for our young granddaughters when they were 3 and 5. They spent hours and hours climbing, dangling, running and jumping - they had so much fun. When they were tired out, simply throwing a large blanket or sheet over the dome created a 'play-house', providing cushions, dolls, tea sets and finger food provided many more hours of fun and play.          

 Another important consideration is safety. Look for safety standards in the items you are considering such as EN71, a CE mark and Lion mark. If you are opting for timber based play equipment, then look at how the timber is treated and whether or not the equipment comes with any guarantee. Look at other safety features you may want to consider, such as what type of ladder you want, the grip on the rungs and whether or not you need some form of handrail. You need to think about how things are assembled and how they are secured into the ground. Some items, such as large playhouses, may require a concrete footing to sit on. With other items you may want to consider some type of safety surface around them, if, for example, the ground is likely to get muddy, or if the surface is too hard.