If You Have a Swing Set/ Play Structure Do Your Kids Play with It?

Updated on April 21, 2016
S.P. asks from Carlsbad, CA
18 answers

I am considering getting a swing set/ play set for our backyard (the wooden kind sold at the big name home improvement stores). I have 2 boys ages 6 and 3. I'm hoping the swingset might provide enough fun to keep both kids outside this summer, and I think it would be fun for playdates. But I rarely see neighborhood kids playing on their playsets, and I wonder is they are worth the expense? We do have a few playgrounds within a 10 minute drive which we frequent often. Maybe that's more fun than a backyard playset? Do your kids use your playset? Was it a good purchase?

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 21 now but we had our first wooden play set from Wooden Swing Co. (About $1500) when she was 18 months old. She loved the set and it got a lot of use from her and neighbor friends daily. We were close with our neighbors and our children played together daily. We all ended up building more homes and moving on around 2000 and we are still close friends with those neighbors. The people who bought that house loved the swing set too.

Fast forward to 2000, when we built our current home, we wasted no time in investing in another Wooden Swing set which had more options and things to do fur about $2600.

It was well worth it and well used. I sold it to a family here on MMP about 6 yrs ago or so. The contractor who came to take it apart and set it up at the other place said it was in great shape and well taken care of. I hope the family who bought it got as much good use from it as we did.

You can find a high quality set from neighbors, etc. Make sure it's properly taken apart, leveled and put back together well. It's wirth the $ to get a professional to set it up and take it down.

So your question was it worth it?? Oh my yes in our situation!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Mine lived on ours.

Here's what I found.

I swapped out the basic swing for a 2 seater plastic contraption swing. Two kids sit back to back. They loved that. You can get at Home Depot etc. I'm not sure how much they would have swung on the regular swings. Similarly, I've seen people swap out the basic swings for a round tire like swing. If more than one kid can use it, chances are it will get more use.

Get the biggest fort part you can. Our boys lived in our fort.

Same with slide. Boys love slides. Get the coolest one you can get.

Ours has a climbing side. That was a hit.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Think about your kids, if they go outside on their own, if they would like a fort, etc. My SD got a swingset when she was 8 and it got decent use til she was about 13, and we kept it around because we had a younger child come along. She doesn't use it as much because she's mostly on her own, but when her friends come to play, they will all use it. If your kids have other kids that they enjoy playing with, it might be a good idea, especially if there are no convenient parks in your area. Look at your yard and pick a spot that gets some shade because otherwise in the summer it will be unpleasant for them to be in it. Our neighbors got one for their 4 kids and the tire swing is the biggest hit. I'd look for a feature that isn't at a playground you frequent.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

When we got our playset I made the choice based on what I knew they liked to do at the park, which was mainly climb and swing. So we got one that had monkey bars across the top, ladders at either end, 2 swings, one horsey swing and a trapeze bar with rings, no slide. They played on it quite a bit, especially when friends or their cousins came over. They also played a LOT in the sandbox, for longer than I expected, it was a really nice big deep wooden one with a cover.

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answers from Washington DC on

We have one, but we are selling it this summer. My youngest is 9 and he doesn't use it anymore. What my kids use the heck out of is the basketball hoop and the trampoline. The trampoline we have had for almost 10 years (this is our second) and the basketball hoop about 18 months. They will play at a park if it's geared towards older kids, but our little one (slide, two swings, rings, and a rocker chair thing) has not drawn their interest for the last year.

But while they did use it, it was an amazing investment. They were 1, 3, and 5 when we got it...so we got about 7 years out of it. Can't complain.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

In our case, no. It wasn't used. I had 2 boys, 18 months apart and they preferred to go to the wooden lot next door and play in there. Think it depends greatly on your situation. If you get one, make sure it has the "cool" stuff that the park doesn't have, then will friends come over it will be different. BTW, a friend of mine had a nice one and the most used part was hose she put at the top of the slide so they could slide down in their bathing suits and get wet. That was a big hit.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I grew up with one and my sister and I shared great memories there on it with each other and with friends. It was a great place to sit away from my parents' ears. Later, I swung my neices and nephews on it. It stayed at our family home a very long time.

I bought one for my children when they were young as I loved my memories on it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My kids and then later pour grandkids loved ours. It was the kind with swings, a climbing rope, a fort and a sandbox underneath with a plywood lid to keep it safe from neighborhood cats, My youngest son is quite a bit younger than the older kids. He used it until he was in Jr high. Not swinging so much by then anymore but still loved to be up in the fort part reading and playing his Nintendo hands held games. He did that till probably 8th grade. And my grandkids loved it to. If you get one you won't regret it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We have one with a slide, three swings, and a little play house (top/bottom). It gets a ton of use. We put it in when my oldest was 4, and 5 years later it is pretty weatherbeaten but still going strong. My kids go on it all the time, and it is especially handy when we have friends over or backyard birthday parties because it is "new' to others. Now that I think about it my 9 y/o is not on it much anymore. But the youngest is 2 so I figure the thing has at least 5 more years to be useful. He plays on it every day, and the 6 year old too. 10 years of use (it cost about $1000) I think is well worth it.

ETA Tori reminded me you can turn the slide into a water slide in the summer. We just tie a hose up at the top and put the kiddie pool at the bottom. they love it!



answers from Chicago on

We recently moved and left our wooden play set behind. My kids are an almost 9 yr old, 10 yr old and almost 12 yr old. They were so sad to leave the play set. They begged us to get another one at the new house but the park is visible from our new house. We opted for a trampoline this time. Our old play set was a huge hit in summer and winter. They ate lunch in the fort all the time. like others mentioned, the water hose and kiddie pool was hours of fun.


answers from Santa Fe on

My daughter loves the fort best...she pretends it is her pirate ship. She doesn't swing all that much and I think the reason is that the swings really are so small/short that you can't swing very high. By age 5 she liked to swing VERY high. A big tree swing off a high branch would have been the best for her, but I don't know how to put one up or how to make sure it's a safe branch. When her neighborhood friend comes over they like to swing together side by side and talk. Besides that she rarely uses the swings. She is 6 yrs old.



answers from New York on

My daughters are 12 and 9 and ours still gets a lot of use. We are actually the house to have play dates at because of it. It was the best investment I made. We have one that has a sand box and they love playing in that still also.



answers from Kansas City on

We have a nice big playset that we purchased almost 3 years ago. My kids are now 8 and 6 and they use it every single day. They love it. I will say that our yard is quite shady so that is a big plus because even when it's the heat of summer they can get use out of it at least a bit. We went for a bigger one that included a "clubhouse" type thing and monkey bars. My daughter loves monkey bars and she was so good at them at a young age that we wanted her to keep practicing. They are hard to find with monkey bars. It would not nearly be as much fun without the clubhouse. A lot of stuff happens up there. Additionally, we have put our slip-n-slide at the bottom of the regular slide and that is a huge hit!

It was a great purchase for us and although we try and visit parks too, this is nice because when I'm making dinner this is a great alternative to getting outside and playing where I don't have to supervise them.



answers from Boston on

Our set is 10 years old and will be dismantled because we are moving and it's not in great shape anymore. It probably hasn't been really used in a couple of years now, but where we live we're within a mile of many playgrounds, fields and athletic facilities that my kids are more likely to use. And it doesn't compete with the pool and trampoline in our yard. That said, when they were little, it was great. Your kids will get a lot of use out of it, I'm sure. I remember when my youngest was 4 he used to invite kids home from preschool all the time and if it was a nice day, he and his friends would play for hours out there. We had many relaxing evenings when the kids were small just hanging out in the yard and watching them on the swing set. It also kept the busy while I was gardening or doing yard work.

I would check and see if anyone is selling one. The ones that are made by the bigger companies (Creative Playthings is the premium brand around here and way out of our price range new) are made from high quality materials that can last years and years. You might be able to get something used that's bigger and of better quality for the same price that you would pay for a smaller brand-new set.



answers from Oklahoma City on

In California it's probably too hot to be outside all day long if the playset is in the direct sun. We have ours and it's shaded in the afternoons, it's not under a tree because I didn't want ticks overhead so much.

The kids won't play outside all day anyway but if they go out in the morning and in the later evening they will probably like it.

We didn't put swings on ours. We choose to do the seat thing where they face each other and go back and forth. Then we got a single trapeze bar. The swing we did purchase was a baby swing with straps.

When I had my child care center and we went to get liability insurance with swings on the swing set it was more than double. When we took the swings off our liability insurance was ridiculously cheap.

We have the rock wall, climbing rope ladder, rope disk swing, and a slide.

You will want to consider rails on the top of the slide, down about 1/3 of the way. Our 5 year old got mad at her little brother and pushed him, he fell off the top of the slide. Could have broken his neck but he only broke a tiny chip out of a back bone. I put up some stair rails and screwed them to the side of the playset and then to some support boards that go to the ground. It probably wouldn't keep a bigger child from pushing them out of their way but so far neither of the little kids have risked acting up again.


answers from Los Angeles on

When my kids were little I thought about getting a play structure for the yard, but we had lots of playgrounds within walking distance, and I liked taking them to the playground where they could play with other kids and I could meet neighbourhood moms. I kept a small sandbox and a wading pool in the yard and hung a swing from a tree branch for when I needed to stay home and work in the garden.



answers from Chicago on

I have a cedarworks play set that we designed ourselves and I LOVE IT. My kids were 2 and 5 when we got it, I do daycare as well. My own kids played on it often until they were in junior high, and a bit here and there even after that. I've had it almost 12 yrs now and it's still in near perfect condition - the rollicking roundabout had a broken wood piece, I removed the trap door to prevent hand injuries and the corner of the slide has a very small hole in it from a severe hail storm. The thing I love about this company is they use wood that never gives splinters, never needs to be sanded, never needs staining. It's super easy to care for, I had to bleach water it once cause it got this mold stuff but that hasn't happened since, and I had to tighten bolts every 5 yrs or so.

It cost 8800, yes, almost nine thousand dollars for the climber, then another thousand for rubber mulch and landscape timbers. But it has been played with for hours a day for almost ever nice weather day in those 12 yrs, I'd say it's been worth every penny. Even if I hadn't had daycare I would feel it was worth it, my kids used it for hours on end.


answers from Springfield on

my kids are on it every time we go outside. it has 2 swings, the rings, a ladder and a rope and plank to climb up on, a slide, and dh is going to put a canopy on the top and move the sandbox under it.
when its hot out we put the slip-n-slide at the bottom of the slide and both kids can slide down the slide and across the slip-n-slide and end up in the splash pool at the end. they love it. me and dh have also done this with them and you go fast and its fun! (i am also a bit of a kid and will swing with the kids, i will also get up the ladder and slide down with them. and i cannot resist making a big sandcastle with them.
when we have family over the big kids play on it too. so yes it was definitely worth the money. (we do have a park nearby and its only about half a block away but it on the other side of the hill so its an uphill walk to get there and back... so we don't go there often dd hates the hills

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