Tags » ‘Swing Sets’

How to Choose the Right Play Set for Your Yard

March 15th, 2016 by

How to Choose the Right Play Set for Your YardGetting a new play set or upgrading your existing play structure can feel daunting. From the variations of slides and swings to features like forts, climbing walls, monkey bars, and even chalk boards, the options are endless — and the decision isn’t something to take lightly, given that most play sets are a family’s hub of fun and activity for years on end. Where do you begin? What can help you find the right fit?

Below, we guide you through the process.

How do I get started?
Browsing play sets and accessories online is a great way to get initial ideas, but meeting with a play set specialist and seeing the options in person is always best. After all, you can compare the different sizes and add-on options, and a knowledgeable sales associate can chat with you about your needs and make recommendations based on the ages of your kids and the size of your yard. If you visit one of our showrooms, your kids can try out some of our play sets firsthand — and you’ll be able to see what excites them.

What if I have a play set I need to get removed first?
If you’re buying a play set from Play N’ Learn, we can remove your existing structure for a small fee. That way, your play set experience can be streamlined — and you won’t need to make arrangements with multiple companies. We’ll handle it all for you.

Can I still get a play set if my yard isn’t level or my yard isn’t big enough?
A short answer to this question is — absolutely! But it’s a question many families ask when they walk in our showrooms. Remember: the way we display play sets in the showroom isn’t at all how they have to look in your yard. The displays are there to give you ideas and let kids try out the options. If your yard isn’t perfectly flat, we can adjust the legs or add a different length slide. And if your dream play set won’t fit the current dimensions of your yard, we can shorten the swing beams or reconfigure slides and ladders to work around your space limitations. Plenty of options exist for uneven, awkwardly shaped, and even really small yards. So don’t let any of these stop you.

What if my HOA declines me?
In most cases, since our play sets are not fixed permanently to the ground, and since they come in neutral colors, they’re usually not declined by HOAs. If you’re awaiting HOA approval, we can stagger installation so that you can get the full go-ahead from the time you purchase to the day we install the swing set. And if you get declined, your purchase is fully refundable.

Can I add on more features later?
If you want to start with a smaller set and build out as your kids get older, that’s completely fine. Our swing sets are made so that you can add features like monkey bars, fire poles, tire swings, and other great accessories that can vary the play experience year after year. For instance, you might start with features like the captain’s wheel or telescopes for young kids who like to play imaginary games, and later decide to add accessories like a rock climbing wall for older kids who like a challenge or a hammock swing for those who like to relax and read. In this way, your play set investment keeps going.

At Play N’ Learn, we provide a full range of play equipment and specialize in helping families make choices that can grow alongside their kids and create lasting memories. Stop by one of our showrooms, and we’ll point you in the right direction.

Simple Tips for Decorating Your Playset for the Holidays

December 3rd, 2015 by

Simple Tips for Decorating Your Playset for the HolidaysNow that Thanksgiving is over and December has arrived, it’s officially time to move on to the end-of-year holidays. That means celebratory decorations will be popping up all around the neighborhood, from wreaths on the doors to that one neighbor whose light show takes up 50 percent of the power grid (you know who you are). You probably have some tried and true decoration plans for your house, but have you ever thought about incorporating your swingset into the decoration scheme? While you decorate the house, your kids can take ownership of decorating the swingset. Here are some fun, simple ideas for how to get started and get the kids into the holiday spirit.

String lights around support beams
Your swingset is a perfect place to string lights; it’s easy to wrap lighted garlands around and when the whole thing is lit up, it’ll be transformed with holiday cheer, enticing kids to get out there and play. Try using icicle lights to run across horizontal beams, or wrap lights around each leg. While you work on the house and front yard, your kids can design the perfect plan for making your swingset the main attraction, from what color lights to use to the size and where they’ll put them.

Hang ribbons around the top of the fort
Your kids can add another layer of festiveness to the swingset by adorning it with the big, shiny ribbons that always appear during the holidays. A few ribbons on the upper level in the fort add a nice touch and make the whole structure look like a big present — and you’ll be able to appreciate them any time of day, not just in the evening when the lights are on.

Hang a wreath above the slide
Create a focal point for your holiday decorations by hanging a wreath above the slide. It can be small or large depending on whether your kids will still be sliding during this time of year. If your kids are still playing on your swingset throughout the winter, remember to make sure you’ve done a winter safety check as the weather shifts and keep lights and other decorations out of their way.

Hang birdseed pinecones
Let’s not forget to bring some holiday cheer to the animals that might hang out in your back yard alongside the kids. While you’re decorating, why not give the birds and squirrels an early present by making some birdseed pinecones? Using pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed, your kids can make homemade feeders to string up on the swingset. If your kids still play a lot on their swingset during the winter, have them string them up in a less trafficked area of the set; otherwise, they can use the main support beams to hold the special treats.

Once all the decorations are done, celebrate with some hot chocolate in the fort with friends! You’ll be making good use of your swingset even when it’s too cold to enjoy it for playing. Thinking about adding a playset to your backyard? Come visit a Play N’ Learn showroom where we can walk you through all the options for how to ensure amazing play throughout the seasons.

Stay Safe on the Playground this Winter

January 22nd, 2015 by

Stay Safe on the Playground this WinterDo colder temperatures, ice, and snow mean your backyard playset or local playground is off-limits till spring? Not at all. Even though you may balk at the idea of going outside in the cold, most kids are still raring to go. Instead of going stir-crazy inside all winter, why not embrace the outdoors as you do at other times of year? But first, check out our tips on how to stay safe on your playset or playground this winter. Then, get out there and play!

1. Inspect your playset equipment.
Your local playground should have maintenance personnel assigned to its upkeep, but your backyard playset will need to be checked each season to make sure all of the parts are still in good working order. Ideally, you should check your playset at the beginning and end of the peak play season for wear and tear, parts that need to be replaced, and other damage. But especially if you haven’t done a fall inspection, take a look at your playset now that the cold weather has come to see if any new vulnerabilities have been exposed—for example, loose boards, a cracked slide, or protruding nails or screws.

2. Check for ice.
Before you start your play session, check your playground equipment thoroughly for ice or snow build-up. Ice can be especially dangerous on hand- and foot-holds (like those on ladders and monkey bars), where it’s easy to slip and fall. If you can chip away any ice build-up, then you’re all clear. But avoid any parts of the playground that aren’t free of ice or snow. The same goes for your rubber mulch or footing—if it’s frozen, don’t play! Your kids rely on the absorbency of the material to protect them from falls.

3. Watch the weather.
If it’s below freezing or there’s freezing rain, stick to an indoor play session. Particularly when there’s precipitation in colder temperatures, ice can form rapidly and create unsafe conditions even if things were safe when you started playing. When it’s cold, limit your outdoor play to short sessions to avoid frostbite.

4. Suit up in the right snow gear.
Since your kids will be bundled up more than in the summer, it’s important to make sure their clothing is as safe as possible. That means avoiding scarves and drawstrings, which can get caught on play equipment, and not wearing nylon pants, which can make your child go too fast on a slide. It also means making sure your kids are warm and dry, so break out those hats, boots, gloves, and layers!

The last step is to make sure you have hot chocolate in the pantry to enjoy when you’re done playing! Need more ideas on what to do outside this winter? Check out our suggestions for how to turn your playset into a winter wonderland to get the most out of your playset this season.

Create a Play Set that Grows with Your Kids

March 25th, 2014 by

Child plays with mailbox accessoryA play set is a significant investment—if you’re in the market, you’re probably considering what you really need to get the most bang for your buck. When it comes to building out a play set for your kids, you’ll want something durable and safe but also fun enough to keep their interest for years to come. We’ve put together a quick list of things to consider while planning out your first custom play set.


1. Do some market research

By research, we don’t mean heading to your local library—we mean hitting up your local playgrounds or your neighbors’ backyard play sets for some hands-on product testing! What better way to find out what features your kids like best than to go straight to the source and try them out? Who knows, this may require going to new playgrounds in different parks—all the better. Spiral slides, straight slides, rope swings, monkey bars—your kids will have a chance to decide what features they like best and would love playing on in their own backyard.

2. Figure out what your kids like to do while playing

If your kids spend all day at the playground swinging, or they like running around chasing each other through obstacles, or they are more the imaginative types and like to survey their kingdoms, then you’ll want to plan your play set accordingly. High-octane chasers and climbers, for instance, might get lasting use from a rock wall, rope ladder, slides, and monkey bars, while kids who enjoy crafts might want a picnic table or fort that can serve as a quiet get-away.

3. Think about what your kids will like in the future

While it’s great to see what your kids are into right now, also keep in mind that they will get bigger—fast! Adjustable swings, for instance, allow your play set to grow as your kids grow. Know, too, that you can add and subtract many playground accessories as your children get older and develop new interests. That baby swing they couldn’t get enough of as toddlers might be replaced by a trapeze bar or tire swing, and a periscope or retractable telescope might be just the right addition for the year your kids develop a fascination with pirates.

If you have multiple kids spread across ages, you’ll want to consider what will be appropriate for all of them. Hammock swings, for instance, are ideal for older kids who like to relax with a good book in the afternoon sun, while an add-on wooden mailbox might be perfect for your younger one’s pretend play.

4. Check out the coolest playgrounds in the world

Need some inspiration for what to put in your back yard? Check out our list of the world’s coolest playgrounds to see how designers have gone outside the box in making engaging and resourceful play areas. It may get you and your kids thinking about how to turn classic playground pieces into something even better.

How did you choose the features on your playground? Let us know in the comments!

6 Ways to Prepare Your Playset for Summer

April 30th, 2013 by

6 Ways to Prepare Your Playset for SummerIt’s finally warming up and that means it’s time to start playing outside again. Your playset may have taken a beating over the winter after being buried in snow, used as a nest or restroom for your local wildlife, and a burial ground for the last falling leaves. Before your kids go full swing into playset season, your playset will require a cleaning. Read on for our recommendations on how to prepare your playset for summer.

1.  Remove Obvious Debris: Over the winter, some leaves, twigs, and other pieces of nature have probably made their home in your playset. Start your spring-cleaning by removing the most obvious clutter.

2.  Scrub It Down: Either using a hose or a bucket of soapy water and a brush, give your playset a full scrub down. This will remove the gunk that has accumulated on the wood sections of the playset and will help keep your playset looking pristine for years to come.

3.  Wipe It Off: All of the plastic or vinyl items on your playset should be fairly easy to clean. Simply use a wet soapy rag to wipe down the slide, swings, monkey bars, and any other non-wooden surfaces that may have developed a layer of grime over the winter. Remember to clean anywhere your children’s hands will be grabbing—it’ll save you clean up time on your kids later!

4.  Nuts and Bolts Inspection: As you’re cleaning, make sure to inspect all of the metal elements of your swing set. Check to see that there is no corrosion or loosening at any points and that all attachments are secure.

5.  Spruce Up Your Mulch: If you have a mulch base for your outdoor play area, you may want to get a new bag or two of rubber mulch to make sure you have a solid pad for your children to play on. After a long play season and several snowfalls, you may have lost some of your original mulch, so filling in the holes and thin spots with a new bag will ensure your kids have a safe landing zone wherever they play.

6.  Add a New Feature: And the last way to prepare your playset for summer? Add on a new feature! The beginning of the outside play season is one of the best times to add on a new feature like a rock wall or a rope swing to your playset. The excitement of something new will have your kids outside all day. Plus, they’ll have the whole summer to wear it in.

It may seem like a lot of effort, but doing regular maintenance on your playset will keep it in good working order for years to come. So the next time it’s nice outside, grab the hose, a rag, and your kids, and get everyone involved for a quick spring-cleaning so that the next sunny day can be a play day.

Turning Your Playground Into a Winter Wonderland

December 20th, 2012 by

Turn your playground into a Winter Wonderland this season!Winter is here and the temperatures are dropping—you may have even seen the first snowfall of the season. While winter does bring fun for your kids with the holidays and winter break, the cold weather can seriously cramp their active lifestyles.

You may think that your playground or playset is off limits until it warms up again, but playsets are good for more than just swinging and sliding. They’re the perfect spot for fun winter games as well. Read on for some ideas of how to turn your playground into a winter wonderland.

Have a snowball fight

Up the stakes of your snowball fights by incorporating your playset. You and your kids can use the walls and pillars of the playset as hiding spots or shields. Try using the bottom of the slide as a storage spot for all the snowballs you’ve made. You could even make up a story involving the playset as a fortress or a castle before the snowball fight begins.

Build an igloo

Your playset can get a snowy addition in the winter when you build an igloo. You can use some of the existing structure to work off of, or start from scratch.

Make snowmen

Just because your kids aren’t able to play on their playset as much in the winter doesn’t mean it should be without company. Next time there’s a good snowfall, try building a snowman family by your playset. Can you make one that’s going down the slide?

Make a pinecone birdfeeder

Your playset probably has a lot of long beams that are perfect for hanging things. Why not use them as birdfeeder posts while the weather’s too cold for heavy duty swinging? You and your kids can make a project out of making pinecone birdfeeders by spreading peanut butter on open pinecones and rolling them in birdseed. Tie a ribbon around the top and your kids can hang them all around your playset and watch the birds come in for a feast.

Light up night

While you string lights on the hard to reach places on your house, your kids can string lights on their playset. As long as it’s not snowy or slippery, they can wrap lights around the pillars and along the balcony of the top platform. Both your house and their playground will be the most impressive in the neighborhood.

So what are you waiting for? Bundle up and head outside to make your playground into a winter wonderland. With activities like these you can put your playground to use year round while still being safe in the winter weather.

Why Woodplay Uses California Redwood For Its Playsets

November 20th, 2012 by

We sell Woodplay playsets made from redwood from the California Redwood Company. At Play N’ Learn’s Playground Superstores, we’re committed to using the highest quality products and partnering with companies that we know we can trust. That’s why we sell Woodplay playsets made from redwood from the California Redwood Company. Why California Redwood? Read on to find out more about why we’ve partnered with these companies to make the best redwood for our playsets.

1. They’re family owned and oriented.

The California Redwood Company has the longest history in the redwood industry as a family owned business for the past 126 years. Long term partnerships are important to them, just like they are to us.

2. They’re the largest redwood producer in the world.

With the second largest timberlands holding in California (over 430,000 acres) and an additional 300,000 acres in the Pacific Northwest, the California Redwood Company is the largest redwood producer in the world. All of their products are harvested and produced in the United States, and they’re committed to their local workers and communities. They’re also environmentally conscious—the CRC uses sustainable practices and was the first timber company with an approved Habitat Conservation Plan for the spotted owl and also for aquatics.

3. They make the highest quality redwood products available.

The California Redwood Company makes wood that is in excess of the specifications of existing specifications for playsets, meaning that all wood used in Woodplay playsets is super durable. At several points during the manufacturing process, the wood is graded to Woodplay specifications and anything that doesn’t measure up is dropped from the stock.

4. Redwood is the perfect material for playsets.

Redwood is a beautiful, high performance wood that will keep your playset strong throughout years of play. It’s decay resistant, dimensionally stable, easy to work with, and accepts stains and paints better than alternatives. In addition to being practical, redwood is also the most responsible wood choice. It’s sustainable and renewable, and is the fastest growing species of premium wood. That means that replanting efforts make an impact faster than with other species. Redwood sequesters carbon faster than alternative types of trees and has the lowest carbon footprint in the industry.

With a history and product like this, it’s no surprise that Play N’ Learn loves working with Woodplay and the California Redwood Company to provide the highest quality playsets while still maintaining our commitment to the environment and our local workers. Stop by a Play N’ Learn’s Playground Superstore today to see redwood in action in one of our Woodplay sets!

Preparing Your Playset for Winter Weather

October 23rd, 2012 by

Preparing Your Playset for Winter WeatherSchool’s in full swing, the days are getting shorter, and the jackets have come out of summer storage—winter is approaching. While the cold weather brings with it snow, sledding, and holidays with the family, your trusty playset probably won’t be seeing much action over the winter months.

On the east coast, where Play N’ Learn’s Playground Superstores is based, winters can range from mild to brutal, with feet of snow. So it’s important that you prepare your playset for the weather so that your investment can stand the test of time. Luckily, Play N’ Learn playsets are made of redwood or cunninghamia, which are extremely durable and stand up to the elements, including snow.

So what can you do to keep your playset in top condition through wind, sleet, and snow? Read on for tips on how to prepare your playset for winter weather.

1. Do a full check up

Part of good winter preparation is knowing what condition your playset is in at all times. That means that every time you go out in the yard, you take note of any cracks, corrosion, or degrading parts. You’ll be able to order new parts or make plans for repairs over the winter so that once it warms up again, there will be no need to delay the start of play.

2. Cover up

If you don’t already, cover your sandbox with something heavy enough that it won’t blow away. This will protect the sand from falling leaves and snow as well as animals passing through that might consider using it as a litter box.

3. Clean up summer dirt

Remove all leaves and debris from your play set—if piles of leaves are allowed to accumulate on the wood, they can accumulate moisture, promoting mildew and mold on your playset. Your kids can help pick up trash, leaves, sticks, and brush off dirt.

4. Remove any last toys

Before your slide is covered in snow and your play fort becomes an ice castle, have your kids go through the swing set and bring in any toys they may have stashed in there. Chalk, notepads, stuffed animals, juice boxes—who knows what may have made it outside during summer play. You’ll be able to use the toys over the winter and again next summer since they won’t be frozen at the top of your playset!

The most important part of getting your playset ready for winter weather is to make sure it’s cleaned up and covered up, so it looks like it’s in its original condition. After winter’s over, you’ll be able to do a closer inventory of any damage or degradation that’s occurred over the months and do springtime repairs in time for the warm weather. As long as your playset is made of durable redwood and is in strong condition before the winter starts, it should make it through the winter just fine and come out the other side ready for more fun!

Fun Playset Add Ons to Make Your Backyard the Place to be

October 1st, 2012 by

Add a rock climbing wall to your playset!All playsets are fun, but there’s no denying that there are certain playsets that really make you say, “Wow!” It used to be that a good set of swings and a slide were the norm, but now that you can choose a basic playset and then customize it with different equipment, you can make your backyard a place that your kids—and the rest of the neighbors—will want to be all the time.

The best part about add ons is that you get to pick and choose what you like, so you’re sure to find something that will both fit your kids’ personalities and be age appropriate.

Read on to find out what features and options we have here at Play N Learn’s Playground Superstores!

1. Rock Climbing Walls

Who doesn’t love a good rock climbing wall? They’re fun and they encourage your kids to be active and develop strength and coordination. You can adjust the incline depending on where you place the wall so that the difficulty level matches what your kids can handle based on their ages and skills.

2. Rope Rung Ladder

Add an alternate route to the top of your playset with a rope rung ladder. Which kid will get to the top first? Rope rung ladders are constructed with sturdy rope that anchors it to the top and bottom of the swing set. The rungs allow your kids to climb, keeping them active and enjoying their playsets!

3. Glider Swing

Regular swings are plenty of fun, but sometimes it’s nice to get a different kind of swing in the mix. Glider swings fit two people, so your children and their friends can work together to go as high as they can.

4. Picnic Table

For the times when your kids need a break from high speed play, a convertible picnic table is a great option for below your playset. Your kids can set it up to have a picnic, do crafts, or create strategies for their next adventures.

5.  Chalkboard Panel

Swinging and sliding and climbing are all a blast, but sometimes it’s nice to have a change of pace. A chalkboard panel can be a great addition to your playset for those moments when your kids still want to be outside but want to draw or write instead of run and jump.

These are just a few of the option available to make your playset the ultimate play spot. Check out Play N Learn’s full catalog of options to see what details would be best for your kids and your yard!

Summer Vacations vs. Playsets, Trampolines, and Basketball Hoops

July 30th, 2012 by

Compare the value of a summer vacation with a long-term investment in your backyard!With summer comes nice weather, longer days, and for many, a lighter work schedule. What this often means is that it’s also the perfect time to take a summer vacation. But vacations aren’t the only way to spend your family’s hard-earned money and time: you could also use that money on a longer-term investment like a playset, trampoline, or basketball hoop. Here are the reasons why you might do that instead of taking a vacation:

Vacations only last a week. The one thing about a vacation that limits its value, primarily, is that it ends. Afterward, you have memories and pictures, but if your children are too young to value these anyway, it might not be the best option for your family. Playsets, trampolines, and basketball hoops last a while, and they’ll grow with your children, allowing for a much more dynamic investment of your time than a vacation.

Playsets, trampolines, and hoops are good for you. Vacations can be healthy, or they can be focused more on food and sitting around then exercise and exploration. Either way, they don’t offer the productive opportunities of a playset, trampoline, or basketball hoop. All of these are fun and engaging exercise options for your children (and you!), and a basketball hoop has the added bonus of helping to develop basketball skills.

The price is right. Vacations can get very expensive very quickly: if you have a family of three, four, or five, that means plane tickets (or gas for the car), a hotel room, pricey food, and entertainment during the week. And if people are arguing or complaining, or if some activity doesn’t work for everyone, you might be wondering during that vacation why you’re spending all this money. On the other hand, a playset, trampoline, or basketball hoop will likely be a cheaper initial investment than the vacation and its value will appreciate over time. With every year you have it, that money spent will seem like less and less of a cost.

Satisfaction is guaranteed. In terms of making sure you get value for your investment, a playset, trampoline, or basketball hoop is by far the safer bet. There’s no secret about what you’re getting with one of these, and you can adapt most of them to make sure that they continue to be interesting and fun for your children as they grow older. Vacations are a much riskier proposition, with the possibility of missed flights, mistaken reservations, and all of the other pratfalls of travel. If you have a limited amount of money to spend, it might make more sense to go with the safer option.

Of course, you can’t really go wrong with either of these, and both vacations and household entertainment are important for your family. But if you’re thinking about them as long-term investments, a playset, trampoline, or basketball hoop is the way to go!