Author Topic: Swing Sets as Status Symbols  (Read 8217 times)

MsSindy

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Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« on: September 13, 2012, 03:32:33 PM »
What is it with people buying swing/slide sets for their yards?  I NEVER, EVER, see a kid actually playing on one of these (because they are all too involved with paid sports).  These are the really deluxe wood ones, too.  There's probably 1 out of every 6 houses that have them.  It's almost as if it is a status symbol - the guy down the street actually bought some kind of wood train set (1/2 scale - kids never played on it). Does this go on in your area, too?  or is it unique to the Philly suburbs?

Nudelkopf

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2012, 04:59:16 PM »
We had a swing set as a kid - and we all used it (we = 3 kids).

It was one of those ones where you've got room to hang 3 swings. Whenever one of them broke, Dad just welded us a new thing. We got a new trapeze-style bar & the standard tyre-on-a-rope, at least once each. We also lived out bush, so there were no parks we could go to to use the swings.

I don't think there's anything wrong with a swing.

Ben

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2012, 05:25:34 PM »
My family swung the hell out of our swing sets. Neighborhood kids would come to our house to use the swingset, sandbox, and basketball hoop, we would go to their house to play nintendo. Great system, and my parents' 'status symbols' kept us outdoors and active.

James

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2012, 08:10:29 PM »
There is a big difference between a simply swingset you build yourself, with or without the little fort that goes beside it, and the huge Rainbow play systems you see that cost around $20,000.

Irishmam

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2012, 08:50:33 PM »
I agree with OP. We chose to go with second hand swing set that gets as much use as SIL's 'Creative' wood-thing $1200 set. Kids use sporadically, so I knew it wasn't worth spending $$$ on.

happy

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 03:53:59 AM »
Swings are great, I made my daughter's one out of rope and some recycled planking....drilled some holes and threaded it though. One of my earliest DIY projects and I was very proud of it.

I think many children's items are subject to the status symbol issue and/or the big kids (parents) thinking it would be so cool to have the really big mega set. Swing sets, train sets....many expensive toys  which are often sold in "sets" that can be endlessly expanded and added to...ie more and more cost. The cost is definitely not necessarily equivalent to the amount of joy the kids get out of them...often a cheapie really hits the spot.

Melissa

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 06:16:20 AM »
I will admit to being one of those families who bought a large wooden playset.  We ordered it from Cedarworks when the kids were small.  I will also admit that we bought some of the items because we wanted to play with them too.  It has 4 swings (at one time two of them were the full seated baby swings), large tower with canopy, large fast slide, ramp to get into the fort rope ladder, and monkey bars going across where the swings are located.

There weren't many large playsets in our neighborhood and we quickly became the gathering spot for the neighbor kids so our playset ways used on a daily basis.  The kids even used it in the winter, sliding down into a pile snow.  We all enjoyed using it so much that we paid to have it moved when we built our house out on five acres.

I do agree that most use it as a status symbol, but I also wanted to say that we saw it as an investment.  The playset is now 10 years old and because it is cedar it has weathered nicely without having to worry about staining or painting it.  My nieces and nephews still ove to use it when they come over, and I still go down and swing from time to time.  That playset has been our ultimate form of entertainment.  My brothers even used it as a tree stand last year for deer season (the playset is tucked into the woods).

Oh, and we didn't have a company build it either.  Part of the fun was putting it all together as well

igthebold

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2012, 06:58:25 AM »
I'm hoping to build a swing set or something for my kids. The only formal thing we pay for is recreational youth soccer, so it's nice for the kids to have a platform for outside play while at home (which is most of the time, aside from school). I'm thinking I might end up making some sort of abstract structure instead, though, since the swing would just be a swing, whereas a tower would be a pirate ship, space ship, house, whatever.

I don't see the swing set as the problem. I see the combination of expensive purchase and lack of use as the problem, which the OP mentioned. It's the same problem as that of buying kids toys on a regular basis, just on a bigger scale.

elindbe2

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2012, 07:03:00 AM »
It's like with most toys.  The kid sees it and thinks how cool it would be to have it.  Then he begs his parents for it, promising to use it every day.  Then the parents get it for him and he loses interest within a month.  I can't tell you how many Christmas toys I did this with.

galaxie

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2012, 07:25:51 AM »
I live in a city -- I can think of four public swingsets within walking distance.  Nobody here has a big enough yard to have their own, anyway.  :)

James

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2012, 07:48:05 AM »
I live in a city -- I can think of four public swingsets within walking distance.  Nobody here has a big enough yard to have their own, anyway.  :)

We are trying to move into town, and one thing I really look forward to is being within walking distance to a city park.  Having them build and maintain the equipment is one less thing I have to think about or mow around.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2012, 08:19:59 AM »
We moved to current place last year the people across the street had one and their youngest was 6th grade and so never used it.  They asked if we wanted it and I said absolutely, partially disassembled it and dragged it across the street.  Needed a new rope mesh climbing thing and neighbor gave me the part number and said it was about $150.....went to home depot and bought $10 rope and weaved it together. 

Sure its not new and there are parts that I had to reenforce a bit due to wear and the chains are rusty a bit but kids play on it all the time. That is the only way to do it.

Incidentally, at the prior house (after we moved) one neighbor offered to another neighbor the same kind of deal (they were right next door to eachother and moving the set was about 200 feet).  They turned it down and went and spent $4500 a nice new set (cost was split with the grandparents but still) - tragic.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2012, 08:22:14 AM »
The climbing structures at two public parks (each bikeable) were far superior to the standard swing set. Why buy? Our town also has a skate park which my son used when at a certain age.

We saw no need to own a swingset.

igthebold

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 08:41:34 AM »
We have a playground available to us within a quarter mile of us. However, I do see some value in having our kids around the house, especially when they're smaller. It's nice to be able to go as a family to a playground, but sometimes you just want your 4 year old to be able to play on her own outside. Having something simple to play in/on is nice for that. I recognize it's a nice-to-have, since kids play with sticks just as well.

keith

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2012, 05:41:05 PM »
Incidentally, at the prior house (after we moved) one neighbor offered to another neighbor the same kind of deal (they were right next door to eachother and moving the set was about 200 feet).  They turned it down and went and spent $4500 a nice new set (cost was split with the grandparents but still) - tragic.

Free one across the street and they chose to purchase a brand new $4500 set? Feels like throwing money down the drain to me.

I wonder if they were too lazy to move it, or if they just don't like buying anything used.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2012, 07:52:49 AM »
Incidentally, at the prior house (after we moved) one neighbor offered to another neighbor the same kind of deal (they were right next door to eachother and moving the set was about 200 feet).  They turned it down and went and spent $4500 a nice new set (cost was split with the grandparents but still) - tragic.

Free one across the street and they chose to purchase a brand new $4500 set? Feels like throwing money down the drain to me.

I wonder if they were too lazy to move it, or if they just don't like buying anything used.

Yes they were too lazy move (and it wasn't across the street it was next door and there was no fence separating their yards - so even worse), so being lazy was part of it, and I think they called someone for an estimate to move it and it was pretty expensive (not $4500 though) but based on their comments that wasn't the primary reason for not taking it - comments that were said to me were along the lines of its used, might not be safe, doesn't look new, would probably not last that long and would have to replace anyway.  I offered to help as that is what neighbors do, no doing though.  In reality though after these comments I would have been resentful helping them, kinda glad that they wasted so much money.  Incidentally the play set was easily a decade younger than the one we had at the time but because we were moving I didn't ask if I could have it.

You nailed it....absolutely a waste.

strider3700

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2012, 01:52:40 PM »
We've got one of those cheap metal 3 seat swingsets with the associated cheap plastic slide.   I got it from the neighbour behind us  who's kids are in their teens now and had out grown it.  We handed it over the fence one day and that's how it became mine.   My kids 4 and 2  play on it whenever they're in the backyard which is daily in the summer.    We've also got one of those cheap plastic playhouses that came over the fence in the same manner.  it gets regular use as well.     neither of these things are worth buying new but as freebies they've been great. 

MsSindy

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2012, 06:58:29 AM »
The cheap metal one is the one that I grew up playing on.  Our neighbor was fortunate enough to have one and all the kids wound up there to play on it -- that, and his mom made really good tamales for us!  The swing sets I see now are all sad and lonely, no one playing on them.

Norman Johnson

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Re: Swing Sets as Status Symbols
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2012, 12:39:45 PM »
I live in a city -- I can think of four public swingsets within walking distance.  Nobody here has a big enough yard to have their own, anyway.  :)

We are trying to move into town, and one thing I really look forward to is being within walking distance to a city park.  Having them build and maintain the equipment is one less thing I have to think about or mow around.

That's what we do... there is a park down the street from us with all sorts of fun stuff. I had a swingset growing up, but we lived out of town and it was the only one for miles. The neighbour next door would come over and use it because we were the only kids for miles!