The 10 Best Toddler Swings
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in February of 2016. Some things never go out of style, as is the case with these toddler swings. Your little ones will never tire of them, no matter how many fancy electronic toys try to distract them. Our selection includes plenty of options that can be mounted onto an already existing swing set or hung from your favorite sturdy tree. For safety, follow installation and mounting instructions carefully. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 19, 2020:
For safety, it is always important to carefully following mounting instructions, height recommendations and proper surfaces to hang a swing over. It's always a good idea to consult a pro if you're unsure.
A toddler swing is inherently safe when used correctly because no swing is meant to be very high up off the ground, and toddlers are still at an age when they need to be supervised at all times, so many popular toddler swings don't include a full harness. Parents of extra wriggly toddlers, or those who are supervising more than one child at a time will probably prefer a swing with a harness, or at least a buckle.
The Step 2 Infant to Toddler and the Little Tikes Snug 'n Secure provide the most protection with a plastic restraint panel and shoulder straps, almost like a car seat. All the extra support also makes these 2 choices ideal for use with older babies before they reach the walking stage.
Our top choice, the Eastern Jungle Gym Full Bucket, has no restraint yet it also makes a great baby to toddler swing because of it's depth. Supervised babies and toddler are quite secure being surrounded by a ring of sturdy polymer plastic that's rugged enough for playgrounds and preschools.
For this update, we also added the Outree Pod Swing, which is designed to meet the needs of sensory sensitive children, but can also make a quiet personal space for any tot who likes a little down time. The cotton canvas fabric is pretty durable, but this choice is best as an indoor swing and should definitely not be left out in the elements.
Swurfer Kiwi Created by the inventors of Swurfing, (surfing on a swing in the air), the sleek modern lines of the Swurfer Kiwi won't be an eyesore in your front yard. It's ergonomically curved to cradle your child in the padded EVA foam interior, plus there's a three point harness for safety. swurfer.com
Solvej Baby and Toddler If you happen to be looking for an heirloom-quality swing, these classics are crafted in New Zealand from sustainably-sourced timber and durable acrylic canvas that can withstand the outdoor weather. They're available in a range of nature-inspired colors, plus for an extra fee you can have a custom color made. solvejswings.com
Why Swinging Is Great For Toddlers
On the opposite end of the spectrum, slow swinging can calm the mind and body, making it a great way to sooth already irritated toddlers.
Who doesn't have great memories have playing on the swings as a child? It can be either calming or exhilarating, depending on how fast you go, and considering how much fun they are, it is no wonder they are one of the most enduring and iconic items found on playgrounds. They are more than just fun for toddlers though, they also offer a number of physical and cognitive benefits.
As a caretaker pushes a toddler on a swing, the child will naturally grip the ropes, which helps to strengthen the hand muscles and improve finger coordination. Toddlers also need to hold their body upright as they swing, which helps to strengthen the neck and core muscles. This means swinging is not only fun, but great for building muscles in young bodies, too. Flying back and forth on a swing can also help children get used to experiencing new kinds of movement and get more comfortable with unusual motion-related sensations. Rapid swinging can be used to help perk up a tired child so they are less cranky if you need to take them with you when running errands. On the opposite end of the spectrum, slow swinging can calm the mind and body, making it a great way to sooth already irritated toddlers.
Swinging can be very helpful with sensory integration, especially as it pertains to inner ear balance and spatial awareness. Since the swinging motion stimulates the senses, it causes a toddler's brain to practice organizing and interpreting spatial information, which can help provide a strong foundation for learning more complex behavior later in life. Not only that, research has shown that swinging stimulates the cerebral cortex, which is the part of the brain that helps people focus. This means you can use swinging before reading to your child or teaching them how to count, as a way to prepare their brain to focus on the information being presented to them. If you are playing with your child on a tire swing or some other model that is capable of rotation in addition to a forwards and backwards motion, it can stimulate additional areas of the brain, especially those that are responsible for balance.
What To Consider When Choosing A Toddler Swing
Toddler swings come in a range of sizes and shapes, so it is important to buy one that works for your child. While every item on our list is recommended by the manufacturer for toddlers between the ages of 12 and 36 months old, not all kids between these ages are the same size. A toddler swing that is ideal for a 12-month-old, won't be the right choice for a three-year-old. This means you'll need to be the judge of which models are the best fit for your child. If you buy one that is too large, it may not be safe for your toddler as they may not be properly secured in place as you swing them. On the other hand, if you buy one that is too small, your toddler may be uncomfortable when seated inside of it.
It is up to you to decide which you think your toddler will feel most comfortable in and enjoy the most.
While we are on the subject of comfort, we should mention that it is also important to choose a model that appears to have an ergonomically curved seat and handles or chains that are well-positioned for easy grasping. Some may feature a front handlebar, while others may only have ropes to grip. If you know your child is fearful, buying one with a handlebar may be less scary to them. Some children though, may find that a handlebar gets in the way of them swinging their hands around in an effort to make the experience even more exhilarating. It is up to you to decide which you think your toddler will feel most comfortable in and enjoy the most.
Many parents don't realize it, but children actually care greatly about the color of their toys. Buying a swing in a color your child likes may just motivate them to want to spend more time on it, whereas they may be reluctant to use one in a color they don't like. You may think this to be silly, but consider yourself for a moment. Have you ever seen two cars of the same make and model, but found one more appealing because of the color of its paint job? Colors can also make children feel a certain way. For example, some kids may find red causes them to feel anxious, while others may enjoy the boldness of red and find it stimulating. Pay attention to which colored toys your toddler tends to favor, and choose a swing the of the same, or a similar, color if possible.
Swinging Through The Ages
As mentioned previously, swings are one of the most enduring pieces of equipment found in playgrounds. They are so old, in fact, that vases from the 5th century B.C.E. have been found that depict women and kids playing on swings. In Greek literature we have the story of Phaedra, also known as the Swinging Woman, who was half-sister to the Minotaur. Polygnotus, a Greek painter who lived between 450 and 420 B.C.E. produced a painting of Phaedra sitting on swing, which is believed to have been in an effort to demonstrate a symbolic relationship between the swing and the story of her committing suicide by hanging.
During the days of the Westward Expansion, pioneers would set up swings for children to play on when the caravan stopped for the night. In an effort to discourage children from roaming too far from the campsite, parents would hang primitive swings from nearby trees to keep them occupied. It wasn't just caravaners that used swings to occupy their children, but settled communities, as well. Laura Abrahamson, a woman who lived in the late 1800s, has relayed to historians stories of a 4th of July celebration in South Dakota in 1895, in which the children entertained themselves on swings.
Considering how humans have always looked to find new and exciting ways to experience motion, it is not surprising that swings have such a long history throughout the ages.