Many parents look outside in the winter time and concede to themselves that their kids probably won’t want to play out in the yard like they do when it’s warm. This is a mistake, because that attitude teaches kids that active play is just seasonal fun instead of a constant part of a healthy lifestyle. Playing outside is an important part of staying healthy, alert, and fit throughout the entire year.
One great way that parents can help keep their kids interested in playing outside is to get play equipment that performs well in winter. Swings are a classic outdoor toy, and by making sure that it’s as fun to use in winter as during the summer, parents can go a long way toward keeping their kids active and healthy.
Look for Waterproof Seats
Snow, rain, and frost tend to cover every surface in an uncomfortable layer of cold and wet that quickly soaks through gloves and pants. The seat of your swing needs to be quick and easy to dry off before use. Backyard swings are often made of wood or canvas for aesthetic reasons, and this can quickly become problematic because these can trap water even after it’s wiped off. Similarly, seats that are textured in some way can be very difficult to dry off.
Instead, make sure that your swing is made with a smooth, waterproof material that can be dried off very quickly and easily.
Use Insulated Materials
Metal chains are popular in public playgrounds, because they don’t tend to wear out. Private homeowners also like them for that reason, but they’re not a good choice for a swing that will be used in cold weather. Metal conducts heat extremely well, and can result in uncomfortably chilly fingers even through a pair of gloves. Natural fibers also tend to be a poor choice, because they tend to soak up water, which damages the fibers when it freezes, and melts under the heat of your kids’ hands when they swing, resulting in uncomfortably wet gloves. Instead, synthetics like nylon can provide a lot of durability without giving your kids icy cold hands.
Avoid Tree Swings
Swing sets are a better choice for winter play than tree swings. While tree swings certainly look great, they’re also naturally covered by a tree’s branches. These catch snow and moisture, which might sound like a bonus at first, but it isn’t. A child swinging on the swing can agitate the branches, bringing an uncomfortable shower down on their heads from the boughs. Also, trees tend to lose a lot of twigs to frost damage during the winter, which can often mean randomly falling sticks that can easily be avoided by simply setting up your swing next to your tree rather than directly beneath it.