The 8 Best Budget Swing Sets
8. Flexible Flyer Triple
7. Swing-N-Slide Complete Orbiter
6. Ironkids Outdoor Playground
5. Flexible Flyer Play Park Air Garden
4. Flexible Flyer World Fun
3. Step2 Play Up
2. Sportspower My First Metal
1. Backyard Discovery Dayton Cedar
Why You Should Get A Swing Set
If you poke your head in the backyard of many American families, you'll probably find a swing set. Swing sets aren't just a lot of fun, but they can also be an important part of one's physical and mental well-being, especially for children. Swinging has long been used as a tool in sensory integration therapy. When children swing, they need to process information both from within their bodies (like the sensation of moving back and forth) and from the environment (like the wind, or the feeling of the grass touching their feet). Sensory integration therapy has been shown to balance moods, improve learning abilities, and boost physical capabilities. When you send your child out to enjoy the swing, you're actually sending him out to grow and develop.
Swing sets are helpful for another reason, too: they take you outdoors. If you suffer from anxiety or struggle to calm your mind, try sitting on your swing. Research has shown that the sounds of nature have a very calming effect on the brain. Next time you're struggling to solve a problem or come up with an idea for your new creative project, spend some time on your swing, surrounded by nature. It's important for children to develop positive associations with nature early, as well. Putting your child on a swing set when he is still young could mean that, later in life, he turns to your backyard rather than video games for fun. That's pretty important since childhood obesity is on the rise.
If you have a shy child, giving him a swing set could help him socialize. Sometimes, when you have friends over for a playdate with your kid, he may not quite know how to get the conversation started, or how to play with others. Swings are a nice, low-pressure way for children to interact. They don't need to share toys or learn the rules to some game. They can simply enjoy sitting on the swings, and if they feel like talking, they can talk. If you look at a park playground, you'll often notice children who have never met before will start chatting if they're swinging side by side.
A History Of Swing Sets
Children have always been attracted to swinging. Perhaps it's a part of their primal urge for risky play, something important to a young person's learning how to regulate fear and anger. Swinging can feel both exhilarating and frightening, so it's no surprise children have always loved to do it. If Greek art from the 5th century B.C.E. is an accurate depiction of the times, we have reason to believe children and adults have sat on swing-type devices since then. Some of the first swing sets were made from no more than wood and rope.
In the 1700s, swing sets became a romantic piece of imagery in Europe. Women would often be depicted sitting on swings in some whimsical artwork. These swings may have been made from rope or vines to emphasize the connection with nature one has when swinging. American pioneers also used swings as a past time. They were easy to set up anywhere and provided a little distraction from long wagon trips. Germany is responsible for the first playground. The creation of public recreation areas has played a large part in relieving unemployment in Germany because each one requires a lot of labor. Germany first made playgrounds as a way to teach children how to play fair with others. In the 1800s, playgrounds began to pop up next to schoolyards.
By the late 1800s, outdoor swing sets and playgrounds took off internationally. That set off the need for safer, better-regulated swing sets. Those of the early 20th century were made from mostly steel. In the 1970s, people began to feel that it was unsafe for children to come in direct contact with steel as it could be sharp. Manufacturers started to cover the parts of swings children touch, like the rope, with softer materials, such as plastic. Today, many swings are coated with plastisol so that children do not pinch themselves.
What To Look For In A Swing Set
Your first priority when choosing a swing set should be safety. Along with following recommended injury prevention tips, look for swings with curved seats as these will better hold a child in place. Make sure the frame is made from strong material, like steel, and that it stands on durable legs. If your child will spend a lot of time on his swings during the summer, you may want a set with a UV-treated canopy to protect your child from the sun.
If you want to build a playground that will be the envy of every child on the block, complete with teeter totters and sandboxes, you can find a swing set with a little something extra. Some feature wavy slides, playhouses, and ladders. These will provide your kids with hours of recreation. Some sets even offer a variety of swing types, perhaps with one bucket seat swing and one that children can hang from, like swinging monkey bars. These offer your little one a few different ways to get some exercise.
Make sure your swing set has a high weight limit, too, so that multiple kids can safely play on it at once. You might even want a set with adjustable-height chains so it can grow with your child, or children of various ages can enjoy it. If you are working with limited space, there are great compact sets for a smaller yard. If you have the luxury of a big garden, you can get a bigger set with four or more swings. Every kid should get to enjoy a swing set, and fortunately, there are models that can work in nearly any size home.