Children’s Outdoor Play Equipment
Garden Play Equipment That Children Will Love
Think back to your earliest memories of play…
Who were you with?
Where were you playing?
Very often, our early memories of play involve being outdoors.
Splashing in rivers, rolling down grassy banks, hanging upside down in trees and building dens from branches and ferns.
We may have been alone, with siblings or friends, but adults don’t tend to feature that often in our memories of play, even though they may have been present, keeping an eye on us from afar.
Play is so important for children and I think outdoor play, even more so.
I was fortunate to grow up on a smallholding in West Wales. We had trees to climb, woods to explore, a stream to float our fairy boats down and loads of yummy blackberries to mash up and feed to our dolls!
I have so many happy memories of playing outdoors and it is definitely played a big part in why I care so much about protecting our environment.
When we had children, we wanted them to love spending time outdoors as much as we do. I don’t want them to be like the average man who spends 87% of their life indoors (if you’re trying to work out what that actually means, it’s half a day per week spend outside).
Children naturally love the outdoors but it can become challenging to get them outside as they become more interested in screens and indoor toys.
We’ve worked hard to provide our boys with an amazing outdoor space to enjoy. We carefully selected the best children’s outdoor play equipment that we knew they would enjoy.
I can’t stand spending time and money on garden play equipment that just isn’t built to withstand children.
The items I’ve listed below are quality pieces of garden play equipment that kids will love. They are well designed and built to last.
We either own it, have tried it or have researched it thoroughly (usually because it’s on our wish list…I research a LOT before buying anything…I’m kind of obsessive about it!)
How to Choose The Best Garden Play Equipment
Not too prescriptive. Good garden play equipment allows children to use their imagination. Buy a pirate ship climbing frame and it’s…well, forever a pirate ship. Buy, a blank canvas and it will be whatever your children’s imaginations can conjure up!
Build Core Muscles. Choose garden play equipment that will help your kids to build core muscles. Look for something to climb up and/or swing on. A ladder, a rope, hand and foot holds, a slide. Believe it or not this will help to improve their fine motor skills like writing.
Material. Plastic deteriorates in sunshine and is difficult to repair if anything breaks. After a few years it’s often sent off to landfill or sold second hand to someone gullible like myself that truely wants to believe that it’s in “as new” condition!🤣 Following that learning curve, most of our garden play equipment is either wood or metal so we know it can either be recycled, composted or sold when we’re finished with it.
Appearance. Bear in mind that this children’s outdoor play equipment is going to be in your garden for a while so it’s worth considering whether you’re going to be happy staring at it from the kitchen window.
Weather. Choose children’s outdoor play equipment that suits your climate. Kids will often play out in all weathers but there are still a few things parents should consider. Sunshine…it doesn’t take much sunshine for metal to heat up fast. Don’t invest in something that will be unusable over the Summer. If it’s often wet then you could consider a sheltered area and a non-slip surface.
Choose the right garden play equipment and it will give your children hours of fun (and you hours of peace!)
So, this is what we have in our garden…
Garden Play Equipment – Climbing, Swinging and Jumping
We spent many hours hunting for the best climbing frame for our family. We researched the market, scrutinised customer reviews and had our little adventurers try them out!
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Lifetime Geometric Dome Review
We are so pleased with The Lifetime Dome Climber. Our boys and their cousins use it all the time!
What we love about The Lifetime Dome Climber:
It’s built to last!
It’s steel geometric frame is coated with a weather and rust resistant powder-coating. We’ve owned ours 2 years and it looks like it did the day it was put up.
It is ridiculously strong.
When I first climbed this structure I kinda expected it to tip or wobble…but it doesn’t budge. It’s built to hold up to 600lbs so you can play on it as a family if you like!
We enjoy traveling and airbnb our house while away so we were slightly concerned about it getting damaged. Thankfully it is really hard-wearing and guests have raved about it.
It suits all ages.
This structure is effectively a 10ft wide x 5ft high dome. Young kids can swing on the bars while older siblings can do sit ups hanging upside down if they like. It doesn’t look like garden play equipment for little kids and that’s a major plus if you have older children to please too!
It is versatile.
It can be climbed, swung from, hung upside down from. It’s a spiders web, a cave, a castle, a mountain.
The Lifetime Dome Climber is perfect for all weathers as it doesn’t get hot in the sun or slippery when it rains.
Slacklines are brilliant if you have a few strong trees or posts in your garden. I love the fact that you can pack them away so easily too. Take them camping or to the woods and have lots of fun.
If you have younger children too then it’s handy to have a tightrope style slackline lower down to help them reach.
Climbing Wall Holds
Our boys love climbing and we really want to encourage this. It’s great for core strength, problem solving and gets them out in the fresh air.
Adding some climbing holds to our outdoor space is definitely on my to do list when we return home from our year in France.
These holds from Amazon are made from recycled materials.
Birds Nest Swing
This type of swing is great if you have more than one child as they can use it at the same time.
We got a trampoline when Leo was about two years old. It has been so good for his balance. It also made a really handy outdoor play pen 😁
Garden Play Equipment – Encourage Creativity and Relaxation
There is something really relaxing about being outdoors. It’s a great idea to help our children to find various ways of relaxing and chilling out when they need to.
Getting creative is a great way to calm and focus the mind.
These outdoor easels are such a great idea. We love to paint with mud!
Who doesn’t love a den?! It’s great for children to have a place that is theirs. This is a lovely idea for a den that would last a few seasons.
If you’re looking for something more permanent then this is a lovely idea that’s been on our wish list for a while!
Garden Play Equipment – Sand Play Ideas
I find it is so much easier to amuse my children outdoors. It’s much easier to relax about noise, mess and boysterous play when out in the fresh air (although I do try to be pretty relaxed indoors too).
My boys also seem to play more happily together with a little more space to move around too.
They absolutely love digging in the sand at thr beach. We’ve replicated this in our garde without the need for bags of plau sand. We use small gravel instead or simply the dirt. It’s actually far less messy than sand and We had enough space to dig a small snadpit but you could just use a tub or tray if you’d prefer.
Here are a few ideas that amuse my boys for ages:
Trucks and diggers:
If we’re going outside, we’ll often bring some trucks, diggers and tractors.
They’re great for popping in your pocket if you’re going out too. Add a few stones or some sand and kids will play for ages digging and loading.
I love small toys as they are great for co-ordination and so easy to fit into a backpack if we’re spending the day at the beach of in the woods.
My little one had this digger set on his second birthday cake! They have been popular ever since.