Last Updated on
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the best backyard playground equipment and the best backyard playsets. Sometimes the best place to help your kids get exercise and enjoy nature is right in your own backyard. Having great outdoor toys and equipment is a must. What’s more, by purchasing the best backyard playgrounds on the market, you can make your house a haven for your kids and their friends.
Physical exercise proves essential to early childhood development. But you want to ensure the safety of your little ones while at play. Finding a reputable playground set for your backyard is a must. Read on to learn more about the best backyard playground equipment for your family.
The Best Playground Equipment for Your Family
Up first is our rundowns of the best playsets for backyard fun. Which models should you look for when it comes to your kids? Let’s start with toddlers and work our way up to elementary aged kids.
Toddlers (Up to Two Years Old)
The Step2 Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse offers a fun variety of activities at a comfortable proximity to the ground.
- Broad stairs
- A slide
- A platform
- A periscope
What’s more, it comes with a roof making this a shaded, protected perch to cuddle up with stuffed animals or a good picture book.
Up next is the Little Tikes Hide-and-Seek Climber and Swing.
This product includes:
- A mini rock-climbing wall
- A clubhouse landing
- Peek-a-boo windows
- A tunnel
- A steering wheel
Your toddlers will adore the molded seat swing featuring a three-point safety harness, too.
Third, if you have a sports fanatic in the house, you need to check this out. The Step2 Game Time Sports Climber comes with a basketball hoop for little dribblers. The set also features a fun tunnel to crawl through and a slide.
Preschool Kids (Two to Five Years Old)
Our first suggestion is the Step2 Clubhouse Climber which accommodates up to four children and comes with loads of fun features for your next playdate. After climbing the playhouse stairs, kids have many activities to choose from.
It gives them the option of:
- Crossing the bridge to a tower
- Peering outside opposite portholes
- Steering the wheel
- Whipping down the slide to do it all again
What’s more, crawlspaces below the tower and bridge let kids create their own hiding spots and mini-forts.
If you’re looking for something with a few more fun features, without too much of a higher price tag, consider this backyard playground. It is accommodating for up to four kids, the Little Tikes Clubhouse Swing Set provides the perfect focal point for a fun playdate.
The clubhouse comes with:
- Two ladders
- A slide
- A clubhouse platform
- A steering wheel
- Two saddle swings
For the most activities in one backyard playset, check out this equipment. The Lifetime Products Adventure Tower Deluxe Playset is a must for climbers.
- Monkey bars
- A trapeze bar
- Two three-dimensional climbing walls
- A slide
- Two swings
- A fireman pole
What’s more, it proves highly durable and easy to assemble.
Elementary Kids (Five to 12 Years Old)
If you’re looking for the ultimate in durability, then check out the Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set.
- Three belt swings
- A trapeze bar with gym rings
- A nine-foot wavy slide
- A fire pole
Constructed of high-density polyethylene and galvanized powder-coated steel, you can rest assured this set will stand up to the wear and tear of kids.
If swinging is your kids’ forte, we have the Tanglewood Playset Swing Set by Backyard Discovery offers durability and beauty with its cedar construction and complementary green slide and swing set accessories.
This playset boasts:
- Two belt swings
- A glider swing
- A slide
- An upper bakyard fort
- A lower clubhouse
- A rock climbing wall ladder
A big upgrade is in your future. The Woodridge II by Backyard Discovery features 100 percent pre-stained cedar construction. Stamped with unique numbers, its parts make for easy assembly.
It relies on Safe-T-Fuse hardware to maximize safety. Constructed to stand up to the traffic of up to nine children, it includes a sun deck, crow’s nest, rock climbing wall, and a high-rise tunnel.
A Model that Grow with Kids
If you’re looking at for the best backyard playground equipment that isn’t age specific, you’ve come to the right place. The Ridgeview Deluxe Clubhouse Wooden Swing Set by Big Backyard actually grows with your kids, making it one of our favorite playset choices. It can accommodate up to nine kids, and its weight capacity allows for kids up to 110 pounds each.
- A roofed upstairs clubhouse
- A flower box
- A window
- A lower clubhouse
- A shaded snack counter with two stools
- A rock wall
- A chalk wall
- Monkey bars
Clearly, it’s got something for every age. What’s more, the removable slide and swings prove interchangeable with baby swings. This means you can customize the set to the needs of your little ones every step of the way.
Before we dive into the finer points of the best backyard playsets, let’s discuss some simple precautions you can take to make your children’s play area safer. First, always make sure that you properly maintain equipment.
Most injuries on backyard play equipment result from falls. An easy way to mitigate this includes placing play equipment on protective surfaces. For swings, it’s recommended that you lay six feet of protective surface on each side measured from the support structure.
You should also make sure that swings remain properly spaced from one another. That means a minimum of eight inches between the support structure and the swing. This measurement applies to the distance between swings, too.
How about clearance below swings? The minimum clearance should measure eight inches from swing undersides to the ground.
Make sure that the equipment sits on level ground. Double check the recommendations for how far apart railings should go.
Instructions and Rules
An often overlooked but important way to prevent playset injuries remains. Show your kids how to properly and safely play with the equipment. While knowing how to play might seem like a no-brainer to you, your kids will need some guidance at first, especially the youngest ones. As you show them the equipment and walk them through how to safely use it, set clear boundaries about dangerous behaviors, too.
Of course, kids will be kids. They will experiment in dangerous ways that you’ll need to nip in the bud before a visit to the ER. Adult supervision remains one of the primary ways to prevent injuries.
Choose the Best
Finally, choose high-quality equipment that places a premium on child safety. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best play equipment on the market.
Equipment by Ages
Finding the safest equipment for your kids involves understanding age-specific play needs and how to find suitable equipment. Because children’s motor skills and physical stature vary greatly by age, you’ll need to find a play set that “fits” your kids. This will go a long ways towards preventing injuries as well as ensuring your children’s overall enjoyment.
Playset equipment falls into three categories:
- Toddlers (up to two years old)
- Preschool kids (two to five years old)
- Elementary kids (five to 12 years old)
So, how does play equipment differ between age groups? Let’s dive more deeply into differences between age groups.
For toddlers, sets should sit close to the ground and feature easy-to-access ramps, simple stairs, and three-point harness swings. Whether your little ones have mastered crawling, walking, or climbing, toddler playsets help them experiment with balance at a safe proximity to the ground.
Preschool equipment starts to look a lot more like the setup you see for elementary aged kids. But these sets are built on a smaller scale, closer to the ground.
Preschool kids have more agility and dexterity than their toddler counterparts, and this gets reflected in equipment that allows them to further build their strength and balance. Their playsets feature narrower stairs as well as ladders and short slides.
Elementary aged kids prove very capable when it comes to balance, strength, and movement. Again, this gets reflected in their play equipment. How does this translate into the nitty-gritty of specific sets?
You’ll see additions to their equipment that include monkey bars, fire poles, and tire swings. Because children this age prove even more agile than their toddler and preschool counterparts, their playsets prove larger and stand further from the ground.
Sets that Grow with Your Kids
To accommodate their increased physical needs and higher weights, gear comes in a combination of wood and metal. That way, it’s resilient to wear-and-tear, and it can accommodate multiple kids who weigh more.
What to do if you’re trying to accommodate kids of multiple ages? Or, you’d like your playset to grow with your kids? Some playsets come with interchangeable parts that allow you to age up.
For example, ramps can turn into stairs. And swings with backs and three-point harnesses transition into backless ones for elementary-aged kids.
The Best Backyard Playgrounds
When it comes to finding playsets, look for high-quality equipment manufactured by companies with proven safety records. Make sure you understand your children’s age-specific play needs to find the best products for them, too.
When accommodating children from various age groups, some parents put up more than one age-specific set so that siblings can play safely in proximity to one another. Other sets, such as the Ridgeview Deluxe Clubhouse feature adjustment equipment that grows with your children.
No matter which playset you choose, make sure that you follow safety protocols such as placing all equipment on level ground and checking swing clearance from the ground and distance from one another.
Let Your Kids’ Imaginations Run Free
Interested in learning more about the best backyard playground equipment? Or, maybe you’ve got questions about tricycles, wagons, or dune buggies? We’ve got you covered.
Check out our outdoor play blog for the latest information.