Play Sets for Toddlers

Updated on May 27, 2010
V.S. asks from Lima, OH
12 answers

I have a 2 year old daughter and a 2 week old daughter. My husband and I are currently looking for a play set for our toddler. We've looked online through Walmart, Menards and Meijer and cannot really find one that is worth buying. The wood ones at Walmart seen very cheap. I've done research and looked at reviews for the Walmart ones (Adventure) and the one review stated that the wood is not very thick and adults would not be able to go on it. Now granted my husband and I don't plan to go out there and play on it ourselves, obviously, but we do have cousins and friends that wouldn't mind coming out and playing on it. I'm scared if we get the ones from Walmart and have people over, someone will get hurt because of the weight capacity.

Does anybody out there know of a good play set? We are looking at spending around $600 at the most on it. I just don't want to spend a lot of money on something and it end up lasting only 1-2 years. I don't mind spending a little more, but if we do spend more than $600, I want it to be a good play set that will last up to 5-10 years.

Any advice will help. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

So, my husband and I are going to purchase a metal swing set from Kmart. It took awhile to figure out what we really needed and for now, we found it best not to get anything extravagant. The wooden playsets are more of what we wanted, but we just don't know what to get without spending loads of money. I had a metal swing set growing up and it lasted us years! Since my 2 year old daughter is really the only one on it right now, there is no use in paying hundreds of dollars for something right now. Once she gets older, then we can go ahead and buy a better one. So, for now we are just getting a simple metal one w/ swings, a teter toder, slide and a small trampoline on the side. I think she'll be happy with it. Thanks for all the great responses!

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answers from Fort Wayne on

have you seen the ones at sam's or at costco? they run about a grand I know ouch but the are solid. and should last awhile then you can always sell it after. or if you know of a builder that can make one from spects online as a side job you supply the material and he builds it.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I also have a 2 year old daughter and now a 5 month old son. We did the same thing and did a lot of research. The best one out there is at Home Depot. We spent just under $500.00 for the entire set. At Home Dept you purchase the kit and lumber seperate. The kit was $420.00 and the lumber was around $60.00 the quality is great. My husband is a big guy, around 300lbs and the swing set will hold his weight. My 2 year loves it and we are so happy with the purchase. Home Depot has many different sets, we got the one with 3 swings, monkey bars, slide and a fort on top. It is made by Timber Built and I think we got the Hawk's Nest.

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answers from Detroit on

My husband I a were debating the same thing a few weeks ago. We have an 19 month boy and one on the way. We wanted something that would keep his attention but yet he could climb on himself without a parent being right there. We decided on the Step 2 Naturally Playful Clubhouse. We realize in a few years we will need to replace it but the ones that we wouldn’t would have been a bit too much for him right now. He loves it! I loved it until he decided that instead of going down the slide he would rather go head first out the little window! We are working around that right now. We got it at Amazon for cheaper than TRU and got free shipping. One note: go bigger on the area they tell you to place it we just went with what they told us and wish it was a bit bigger. We will actually be adjusting the area around it a bit. Good luck!!!



answers from Cincinnati on

I would suggest if you are going to buy one to last 5-10 years, you buy one big enough for a school aged child to use. Some of those wood ones are made for young children and as your children age they would out grow it by 5 or 6 years old.
We bought a package that just had the slide, swings and plan in it and then bought our own wood. It did cost about $1,000 in the end but it's built to last for greater than 10 years as long as it's sealed every couple years. (Well my in laws did that for their yard)
Growing up, I had the aluminum one, and that's what I plan to do for my backyard. Ours lasted longer than 10 years, got a little rusty but not bad enough to stop using.
It's all in how you take care of it.



answers from St. Cloud on

Check craigslist! I've seen some pretty nice ones for that price. People sell them when their kids outgrow them and they want their yard back or when they will be moving. Just keep checking and you will come across one.



answers from Nashville on

This is what I have spent my entire day doing today! Ugh, isn't it frustrating?! So what I have concluded is that you get what you pay for. But I think I found one that is only slightly over budget but seems pretty good. They have it at Sams Club online and Toys R Us.

In case it doesnt work it is the Sierra Outdoor Playset.

Between the two sites the reviews are all good except for the assembly being difficult. There is another one on Toys R Us that is about $500 but got very mixed reviews and seemed like much lower quality. The Toys R Us one has a coupon good through tomorrow that will make it $800 instead of $1K. Only in store though. Our store is out of them and they said they will do a rain check for the coupon price when it comes in. So I'm still debating because I didn't want to spend that much either. Or you have the option of doing a plastic Little Tykes type playset that would be in budget but won't last as long just because they will outgrow it. Hmmmm, what to do??? Good luck!

If you can get one off Craigslist, by all means do that! I have been searching craigslist for months trying to find one, and they are just not available here. There are 30 listings for "want to buy". I only wish I could find one on there...



answers from Columbus on

I did a lot of research last year and we ended up getting a Rainbow America one. Different models were sold at Sam's, Cosco, Toys R Us and I think Home Depot or Lowe's. This was a cheaper line of Rainbow. I just got on the Rainbow America website and it doesn't appear that they have any 2010 models. So, that information is not very useful for you.

However, I do agree with several other mom's that craigslist is a great place to look. I found several after we had already purchased ours. Another tip, we found a swingset installer on craigslist. The person we found would either move an existing one or install a new one. It was well worth the money. Most of the sets seem to take a couple of adults at least 2 full days to assemble.

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

I just bought one through Craigslist, so I highly recommend doing that rather than getting a new one. Ours is Oasis brand, which is apparently also manufactured by Rainbow but marketed under a different name. The wood quality is great and it's really sturdy. We had a professional swingset mover who has been in business for 18 years move it for us and he agreed that it was a great set. We only paid $500 and the same set retails at $1700+. And my husband and I CAN play on it if we want to. :)




answers from Indianapolis on

We bought a wooden playset from Toys R Us during one of their sales. They always have 1-2 of them on sale every week this time of year. They have half a dozen or so styles (and range of prices) for the Sierra playsets. I don't remember exactly but I think we paid $600 or $700 for it (on sale, comparable set was over $1500 at other places). It came in 2 large boxes that fit in the back of our SUV (stuck out the end about 4 inches). We took it home and my dad and husband had it built and set up ready for kids to play on in a Saturday afternoon. That was almost 6 years ago.

It's sturdy. Every spring my husband will go out to tighten anything that might have worked loose but nothing has. The awning is still in great condition and has survived our winter and spring storms. The wood has faded just very slightly but we've never sealed or sprayed it with anything. It still looks great. We've customized it a bit... added a plastic steering wheel and pirate spyglass from Lowe's, removed the hanging bar and replaced with a Little Tykes toddler swing. We already had a red plastic crab sandbox (with lid) and that fits perfectly in the 'sand box' area underneath the playhouse area.

We have 3 children that play on it almost everyday. We also have tons of neighborhood kids over all the time (apparently we're the hangout house - which I don't mind at all) and it's not unusual to see 5-8 kids on it at once. My teenage neices and nephews (some the size of adults) play on it, too and it holds up well.

My son was 2 when we bought it and could do everything himself right away except the monkey bars and the 'big kid' swing (he could get on/off and do the 2 person glider, though).



answers from Columbus on

We bought our daughter a playset last summer at The Anderson's. It's made of wood, and we're very happy with it. Adults (including me) have sat on the swings with no problems. I think we spent less than $500 for it. It was kind of a la carte...buying the pieces separately. They will tell you everything you need, but you can choose your swings and other accessories like steering wheels, etc. Hope that helps!



answers from Toledo on

It's garage sale season! You can get one CHEAP by watching the paper for people who want them gone because their kids don't play on them anymore. I found someone a block away who was going to tear his big wooden one down and throw it away! He was happy to have my hubby and SIL take it away. All it needed was a tarp over the fort/playhouse, which I bought for $10. Since this is our last kiddo, we gave away our toddler set (the thick plastic type that fits together without nails or screws) because we had it for over 10 years, and got it at a garage sale for $30. At your babies's ages, they won't be ready for what you describe for a couple of years anyway. You need something your daughter can play on without you needing to be right there helping.

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