The 10 Best Teeter Totters

Updated September 19, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Teeter Totters
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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Your kids will stay entertained for hours on end with any one of these fine teeter-totters. Designed with both fun and safety in mind, these indoor and outdoor seesaw options will let your children enjoy imaginative play while also getting some exercise and developing critical physical skills, such as balance and coordination. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best teeter totter on Amazon.

10. Gym Dandy TT210

Bring fun into your yard with the Gym Dandy TT210, featuring a patented pendulum system to create a rocking motion, and large shock-absorbing bumpers that significantly reduce impacts. It is designed for home use, but durable enough to stand up to playground fun.
  • elongated soft-cushioned seats
  • high weight capacity up to 300 lbs
  • poor quality seat covers
Brand Gym Dandy
Model TT210
Weight 45.9 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Fat Brain Teeter Popper

For children who want the action of a balancing toy but don't have anyone to play with, look no further than the Fat Brain Teeter Popper. It's designed for indoor seated or standing use and features suction cups on its underside to improve strength and coordination.
  • safe fun for a wide age range
  • available in three colors
  • only suitable for hard floors
Brand Fat Brain Toys
Model 50052
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Pure Fun Rocker

The Pure Fun Rocker has a solid frame with a durable powder-coated finish that won't get too hot, even in direct sunlight. It offers good back support to cushion small bodies from impacts, and large, easy-to-grip foam-padded handlebars.
  • injection molded plastic seats
  • has bright colors kids love
  • takes a long time to set up
Brand Pure Fun
Model 9306RS
Weight 21.3 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Step2 Play Up

The colorful Step2 Play Up is constructed of durable poly plastic that easily wipes clean, and can be used for indoor or outdoor fun. It has oversized handlebars that kids will have no trouble gripping, even if they don't yet have fine-tuned motor skills.
  • compact size makes transporting easy
  • contoured seats for extra comfort
  • too small for kids older than four
Brand Step2
Model 716800
Weight 13.1 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Swing N Slide Spinner

The Swing N Slide Spinner has a nostalgic seesaw design that will remind you of the ones you played on as a kid. It promotes balance and coordination skills, while providing hours of entertainment and a safe way for kids to use up all that extra energy.
  • 360-degree spinning feature
  • includes anchors for added security
  • may not withstand rough play
Brand Swing-N-Slide
Model NE 4569L
Weight 17.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Grow'n Up Heracles

Fun and safety collide in the durable Grow'n Up Heracles, which features a secure stopper pole and can support up to 99 lbs per seat. It is recommended for ages three to 10 years old, and doesn't require any kind of digging or permanent installation.
  • easy to move at just 18 pounds
  • plastic seats won't rust
  • tends to scoot around when in use
Brand Grow'n Up
Model 8035-01
Weight 18.7 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Gym Dandy TT-360

Spin freely with the Gym Dandy TT-360. It is equipped with a special universal joint to allow movement up, down and side to side while rotating in merry-go-round-esque fashion, and has a durable frame that can accommodate up to 300 pounds.
  • comfortable seats with back supports
  • easy to grasp handles for balancing
  • good for a wide age range
Brand Gym Dandy
Model TT360
Weight 67.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Gonge Round Seesaw

Designed for kids aged three to five, the Gonge Round Seesaw will put a smile on your little one's face. It's great for only children, as it's just as fun alone as it is with a friend, and you can expect it to last for years thanks to its extremely durable construction.
  • improves balance
  • rocks freely in all directions
  • comfortable soft foam side handles
Brand Gonge
Model G-2106
Weight 18 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Little Tykes Classic Whale

Designed with safety and stability in mind, the Little Tykes Classic Whale is made of strong plastic, so even older children can enjoy a ride. It's the ideal choice if you want something lightweight that can easily be picked up and carried around the house.
  • play alone or with up to three kids
  • suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • smooth rounded corners and grips
Brand Little Tikes
Model 4372/4878/4879
Weight 13.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Lifetime Ace Flyer

Featuring a double-seat cockpit, two teeter totters, and an interactive dashboard, the Lifetime Ace Flyer will propel your youngsters to new heights while inspiring hours of imaginative fun. It has two axes of movement and can accommodate up to seven children at once.
  • adjustable for different sized kids
  • won't rust or fade in the sun
  • recommended for ages three to 12
Brand Lifetime
Model 90-AC-COL
Weight 105 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Developmental Benefits Of Teeter Totters

Teeter totters are more than just fun; they are beneficial to children, as well. It may not seem like it at first glance, but successfully operating a teeter totter requires a number of physical and mental abilities. One of the core components of playing on a teeter totter is social interaction. Unlike some other playground activities, such as using a slide or climbing wall, teeter totters require the involvement of two children. This can help a child to become more socially adept. Unless they have arrived at a playground with a sibling or friend, they will have to approach another child in the playground to find a teeter totter partner. Learning how to make friends is a valuable skill that can benefit someone throughout their entire life. Having the confidence to approach a new person and initiate a conversation can often mean the difference between someone having a healthy social life as they age or spending the majority of their time alone.

Once on the teeter totter, the two children must cooperate to make it rock back and forth. In order to coordinate their movements, children have to focus on their timing. If a child doesn't sequence their movements correctly, they will not be able to move the teeter totter's center of mass to the correct point to raise the other child into the air, and vice versa. Sequencing skills are very important, as they play a major role in successfully performing a range of daily activities, from writing to assembling toys and playing sports.

Playing on a teeter totter also helps a child develop better balance. Rocking up and down stimulates the vestibular system, which is responsible for balance and spatial orientation. Humans have a vestibular apparatus inside of the ear that detects vertical orientation, as well as linear and rotational movement, and sends this information to the brain. The more the vestibular apparatus is stimulated, the better a child's body learns how to process the information sent from these receptors and the better it learns how to balance itself in different conditions.

Jumping up and down on a teeter totter helps develop muscle strength, as well. A number of muscle groups activate as a child performs the different actions. Muscles in the hands and arms are used to grip the handle, leg muscles are used to jump off the ground and cushion the landing, and core muscles are activated as the child leans forwards and backwards to change their center of mass.

The Many Names Of The Teeter Totter

The teeter totter has been a staple in playgrounds for as long as anyone can remember. Over time, different regions have developed their own names for this beloved toy. The two most common names are seesaw and teeter totter. Some believe the name seesaw is an Anglicisation of the French words ci and ça, which literally translate to "this" and "that". This seems to aptly describe the simple back and forth motion of the seesaw, so it is certainly a possibility.

Others believe the term seesaw stems from a combination of the French word scie and the Anglo-Saxon word saw. Scie directly translates to saw in English, so it is actually the repetition of the same exact word, just in two different languages. It can be said that the up and down motion of a seesaw is akin to the back and forth motion of a saw, also making this a possibility, as well.

Teeter totter is most likely an adaptation of the Nordic word tittermatorter, which is what this playground toy is called in the Scandinavian region. This term likely came about due to the feeling a teeter totter creates of teetering on the edge of going up and going down. Doubling a word or syllable with a different vowel or consonant is known as reduplication and it is actually a common linguistic process. Some other examples of reduplication are zig-zag, criss-cross, hanly-panky, hodge-podge, and flip-flop.

While seesaw and teeter totter may be the most popular names throughout much of the United States, this doesn't mean they are the only names. Depending on what region you happen to be in, people may call it a tilt, tilting board, teedle board, ridey horse, or hickey horse.

The Physics Behind The Teeter Totter

A teeter tooter is essentially just a lever. By utilizing a long rigid board and a fulcrum, it allows the users to lift a lot of weight with less effort than would normally be required. It works on the basic law of physics that states work is equal to force applied over a distance.

The fulcrum of a teeter totter is placed at the exact center of the two seats. This means that for the teeter totter to sit exactly level, the turning force on both sides must be identical, with one force moving clockwise and the other force moving counterclockwise. If you were to place two children of equal weight on opposing ends of the teeter totter, it would sit level as long as neither one of them performed an action that affected this equilibrium. Now, if you have two children of unequal weight, you can still obtain an equilibrium if the heavier child sits closer to the fulcrum. This is because the closer you are to the fulcrum, the more weight that is required to reach the moment of force, or the point at which the lever reaches the turning point.

As children lean forwards and backwards on a teeter totter, they are moving their center of mass. This brings the force closer and further from the fulcrum. So two children of roughly equal weight can sit an equal distance from the fulcrum, and just move their center of mass back and forth to make the teeter totter move up and down. Two children of unequal weight can still use a teeter totter together in the same manner as long as the heavier child sits closer to the fulcrum.

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Last updated on September 19, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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