Picking out the right a swing set for your backyard might sound simple at first, but there are a lot of things to consider, especially for larger families. Getting kids to share and to play together politely and safely is can seem impossible, even when there are no swings, climbing walls, or slides involved. Before that even becomes an issue, however, parents need to think about how to make sure that their play equipment is suitable for multiple kids of different ages, sizes, and play needs.
Choose the right swing
Swings are fun for kids of all ages, but taking turns can quickly devolve into conflict. If your backyard is large enough, a solution might be to build a swing set with two swings attached to it, but that may not work if parents have more than two children, especially if one swing needs to be a bucket seat for a smaller child.
One way to circumvent this is to use a non-traditional swing, such as a web swing or a fabric swing. These provide other, unique ways to swing, and also make for a comfortable experience as a hammock. More importantly, they’re up to 40 inches in diameter, meaning that more than one child can use it at a time. Instead of taking turns, children can simply share and play together.
Opt for an open slide
A lot of kids love tunnel slides, and would like nothing more than to have one in their backyard. For parents with several children, this is unfortunately not a wish you should grant. Larger public playgrounds generally keep kids of different age groups somewhat separated, but backyard swing sets don’t work this way. While your 8 year old might be trying to find ways to get down your tunnel slide as quickly as possible, your toddler might well have decided to try to climb up at that very moment. It’s important to make sure that you can see exactly where your kids are at all times to ensure that you can step in to prevent accidents.
Watch for falling hazards
When a lot of different kids are playing on the same equipment at the same time, the risk of falling from raised platforms, monkey bars, or climbing equipment increases. Children don’t maintain a lot of awareness of the space and the people around them, and might accidentally crowd a sibling off of a ledge. While ensuring that your swing set has a proper shock absorbent base will help them to avoid most serious injury, falling from any height is still dangerous. Instead, make sure that raised platforms all have proper safety railings.