Author Topic: Playground/Swingset suggestions  (Read 6790 times)


  • Bristles
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Playground/Swingset suggestions
« on: September 06, 2013, 09:32:19 AM »
My son is getting to the age where he enjoys playsets a lot.  I was thinking of buying him one for Christmas but looked into the prices and was in shock.  I've seen a few places online that offer "kits" that you add your own wood to and put it all together.( is one I found)  This seems like it would be a cheaper option. 

Does anyone have any experience building one of these things?  Anyone used one of the kits out there and can recommend  a company?(or advice to stay way?) 

I'm still trying to decide if this will get used enough to be worth the cost... opinions parents with playset... do your kids use them a lot?

Frankies Girl

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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 09:59:21 AM »
Have you checked Craigslist? I just pulled up "swingset" and there are literally hundreds of them listed. You'd have to pay someone to disassemble and reassemble if you don't do it yourself, but you can get some quality ones for half price or better from folks who have kids that have outgrown them.

You might also ask around or put an ad in your neighborhood newsletter - there will always be someone nearby that have kids that aged up and want to unload one for cheap (or free maybe). As long as you know who made it (or can figure it out) you can purchase replacement parts for things like the swing seats and hardware.

Our next door neighbors gave away a very sweet wood one with a two level playhouse, slide and swings to the folks across the street - it only needed two guys to break it down and reassemble.

Also just noticed several companies in there too that will install or move swingsets and perform maintenance if you don't have the ability to do so yourself.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 10:01:26 AM by Frankies Girl »


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 10:19:24 AM »
When I was a kid my dad made me a swingset.

He bought an old heavy duty steel tube clothes rack from a thrift store, cemented the base into the ground and hung a tire (that he got from the dump and hosed off) from a chain.  It was a pretty awesome swing actually, I loved that as a kid and used it all the time.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 09:39:04 AM »
Whats your budget?  The best new are probably the ones sold through Costco when they put the $999 swingset on sale for $799.

The second best option is to buy the same thing used through Craigslist.  Those things last for years and most people sell them after 7-10 years.


  • Guest
Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2013, 10:12:31 AM »
I'm going to throw in a perspective on this that is not really money related.

How close do you live to a public playground?  We are very near two.  One is 1/2 mile away.  The other is less than 1/4 mile.  And you know what?  ALL of our neighbors with kids have playsets in their own backyards.  I understand the convenience of having them.  But I think that they have a damaging effect on communities.  This is what our playground visits are like: 1/3 of the time we are the only family there, 1/3 of the time there is one other family, 1/3 of the time there are more than 2 families.  Neighborhood playgrounds are a great way for kids and adults to interact with their neighbors.  Do you think that if you had your own playset, it would limit your interaction with those around you?  If so, maybe it's not worth it.

If you live pretty far from a park or are in a rural area, then I think it makes more sense to have a family playset.

nico demouse

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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2013, 02:48:53 PM »
I would second what Avonlea said. All of our neighbors have those big wooden $$$$ playsets. But, there are so many parks nearby we decided we didn't need one. It's more fun for us to choose a park and bike or walk over. Gives us more variety in our play. Wooden playsets do seem to be very available free on Craigslist if you are willing to disassemble, transport, and reassemble.

We did still want *something* to keep kiddo busy in the backyard while we got yard work and veggie gardening done, so we bought the absolute cheapest retro style metal swingset we could find. It's literally three plastic/chain swings and a tiny plastic slide. We bought it when my son was 2 or so and he still loves it at 5 1/2. IIRC, it was under $200 new. So...averaged over time the cost is now only about $50/year. Well worth it, I'd say. When he finally outgrows it it will probably be reused as a bean trellis in my garden. :)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2013, 03:10:21 PM »
See if you have a facebook page for your neighborhood/community page.  Do you have neighbors with a playscape with older kids?  Mention to them you are looking for one they may give it to you or sell for cheap.  We had a wooden playscape for 8 years and it started to get wobbly and the kids are older.  I don't own a truck tearing it down to get rid of it would have been a pain plus cost be money to take it to the dump.  I had to have my fence replaced and gave it to the fence guy.  He planned to add extra screws and use it for his kids.  If a neighbor had said they were looking I would have given it to them.   Let the word out you are looking for one.


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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 03:05:05 PM »
Cheap/free from craigslist is best option. We got ours free from a neighbor who had older kids - win for us and win for them.

Anything too complicated and fancy is overkill and will not be worth the money.  A simple swing frame, tent/fort like platform, slide and maybe a rope ladder is all that is needed to ensure ample fun.  All of this can be easily built with minimal skills and basic lumber. All you need to buy is the swings/slide which they sell at HD.  Heck, you can even make the swings, or better yet a tire swing (old tire, three chains, done).


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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2013, 03:52:34 PM »
In keeping with the Mustachian spirit, I gotta go with those that say you should look to the community parks first.  Then, if there's just no way to make that work look for used ones.  When kids grow up, people will give them away as they switch from being "treasured toys" to "backyard eyesores".  :-)


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2013, 07:59:58 PM »
Having some play equipment in your own back yard is a great thing.  When your kids are small and need your supervision while they're outside, you may think it's just as easy to walk them to a nearby park, but as they get older and can play outside without you, they will get LOTS of playtime from their own backyard items.

Don't limit yourself to a traditional playset.  Consider a really great sandbox (very cheap to build), a playhouse, a tent, a tire swing.  Our girls' trampoline got more hours of playtime than any other single item they had in their upper-elementary years.  Sometimes they'd just go outside and lie on it to read.  They camped out on it a couple times. 

Outdoor play items don't have to be purchased new (in fact, it's wise to purchase them used), but this isn't an area in which to skimp.  These things will be enjoyed for years to come and will last for future children. 


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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2013, 05:33:40 AM »
I didn't mean to sound like a Scrooge and say that it would be best to keep the backyard completely toy-free.   When our kids were younger, we had a baby swing hanging from a tree.  Now we have a trampoline.  (They love jumping on it, and there isn't a public alternative for this.) 

If your neighborhood is safe, when the kids are older, they can walk to the nearby park on their own.  My kids do that sometimes when I am cooking dinner.  I do like for them to go together, though.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 05:36:55 AM by avonlea »


  • Bristles
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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2013, 01:45:55 PM »
We got the old style steel kind for free off Craigslist.  It looks awesome and the best part is that it is easy to set up and easy to move.  We purchased or were given new swings for it because it was about 30 years old. 

Also, I hate wood.  Wood = Maintenance.  Who wants to worry about that?  My husband painted ours with a few cans of spray paint and it looks brand new.  You can still buy those steel swingsets new for significantly less than the elaborate wooden kind.  From my observation, the kids like the swings and slide.  Why pay for the whole big fort thing?   

I agree with Mrs. Pete that it's nice for the kids to go out back and play while you get something done.  At least in theory I agree.  We have mountain lions, so that will never happen at my house!   

If you have craigslist, start there, but consider something simple.

I would caution you against sets that are too small/short.  We were at a friends the other day with one like that.  They didn't have it secured down and two kids swinging on it almost made it fall over.  Also, they can't go very high on those.  Ours is about 7 or 8 ft high.  That seems right.  And obviously, secure it unlike my friends! LOL


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Playground/Swingset suggestions
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2015, 01:40:51 AM »
We've had 3.

First house: Costco set. 1000$, sold for 800 when we unexpectedly moved two years later.

Second: cheapo one, paid ~300 from neighbor. Somewhat wobbly compared to Costco but not dangerous. The curly slide was a huge pain, had to be mounted in concrete. Took it nearly all the way apart to move, huge pain.

Third: free from friend. Rented uhaul trailer and moved in large chunks with 4 adults. Easy to reassemble. Added monkey bars.

By set 3, we weren't willing to spend much. If we hadn't been offered the free set we were going to build just a monkey bar swingset. As mentioned the sand is hugely popular too, but I've had enough sand in my house, tyvm.