Swingset Challenge

AH…I am having the worst time.  Maybe you all can help me.

With childcare I used to go to the park all the time in the summer so the kids could use the play equipment.  I had a triple stroller.  This one you see below and I loved it.  It was great for kids once they reached about a year old.

I’d load them all up and go to the park.  For the most part, it was pretty good.  I didn’t keep a swing set at my house…if we wanted play equipment, we went to the park.

Well…That got to be a challenge.  The park equipment wasn’t really the best for my kids.  There was only one baby swing and as you can see by the picture above, I likely needed three baby swings to accommodate this group.

The other problem, they use small rocks as surfacing.  Well…as you can see from the kids in the stroller, those small rocks weren’t the best for my kids as I’d always have one or two that would put the rocks in their mouth.  UGH.

Then…insurance and liability became more of a concern.  The park is next to the river that runs through town.  I changed insurance for my childcare business and it seemed a little more frowned on.

Then…my kids in the stroller starting aging.  I filled those spots with babies.  As I went along, it became harder and harder to leave the house when I had babies….So, I saw this swing set on a for sale group for $25 and talked Kramer into giving it a try.  It was been wonderful.  I can’t tell you how much I have loved having this swing set.  We have a wonderful play place now.  It’s so cute.  The kids call it my “playground”.


The glider on the right is a big favorite with the kids.

We are outside almost every morning once the weather gets nice.  We’re either playing in the big tire sandbox, swinging or playing with water once it is warm enough.

The best part of this…there is something for the babies to do.  I can push them in the swing.  I can take an exersaucer outside.  Being at my house allows so many more options so that everyone can be entertained…and a bathroom is close and safe.

Well…my wonderful $25 swing has last for four years.  It’s gotten WAY more use than any other normal swingset.  Best of all, we’ve had it long enough to know that I am happy to have one here, and having a swing set here is a good option.

Well…that $25 swing has also seen better days.  The flooring of the basket swing is no more.  Something has to be done about it…so I started swing set shopping.

Oh my.  I didn’t know how good of a swing set I had until I started shopping for a new swing set.  I had THREE places to put swings.  I had TWO slides.  I had a glider and the basket swing.  There were LOTS of places for the kiddos to play.

I went through a bit of a debate.  Do I get a wooden set?  Do I get a metal swing?   I thought and thought.  I know the guys in my life would build me a wooden set but they are so expensive.  I know I can find them on sale sites like Marketplace but I think I’ve convinced myself not to get a wooden one.  So many of them come like this…Kalissa just bought this last year on a for-sale site.  It’s great for her but I’m not sure about me.  I need more swing or movement areas.  Most of the kids playing on my set are 3 and under.  I don’t want them climbing and falling out of the open area.  Also, I’ve learned I don’t like “forts” as I can’t readily see the kids.  The “fort” also obstructs my view in the distance.  A kid could be crossing the alley behind my house because I couldn’t see them as the “fort” is in the way of me seeing.

Kalissa’s yard and circumstances make sense for this design though.

I more or less have decided that a metal swing might be best…so I started looking…  I found this that I thought was pretty good, Sportspower Super 8 Fun Metal Swing Set.

I liked it but could see I’d miss my green glider that seats two…and I have one less swing seat.

The new “thing” is a trampoline at the end…and these new Mommy and me toddler swings-  Sportspower Ridgewood Me and My Toddler Metal Swing Set

Although that looked nice for a family, the Mommy and me part, wouldn’t work.  Plus, I didn’t know if I liked the trampoline idea.  Trampolines cause so many accidents.

I like this one-Deluxe Trapeze Swing…but don’t like teeter totters. I did like a trapeze bar option though.

Deluxe Trapeze Swing Big Adventure Metal Swing Set, Steel Frame with HDPE Plastics
I like this one, Skroutz Metal Swing Set, but that’s LOTS less places to play than what I have.

I’m a little afraid I might have to somehow compromise…I liked my two slides…. often the little kids used one side and the big kids the other.

The side-by-side double glider was the best.  I liked it so much better than the back-to-back ones.
What’s a girl to do?

Kalissa suggested that I try to replace my basket swing that is broken.  I looked and can’t find a single replacement part.  To be honest, I can’t see anywhere that still makes that style of basket.  UGH.

So currently I am thinking I might buy two metal swing sets.  I was hoping to find two of the same brand that are similar in color.  One might be more of a deluxe version and one a simpler version.  I could put the baby swings on one and the bigger kids’ stuff on the other.  These three come from the same company so maybe two of them…UGH.

I just don’t know what to pick.  I’m willing to invest $1000 if necessary towards updating my outdoor equipment.  It’s a business investment so it’s okay…but if somehow if we could make what I have last another year, I’m okay with that too.  Really, I love what I have.  The three swing seats, at a minimum, are what I need.  A glider is what I need.  Two slides are what I want.

I’ve spent a couple of hours looking online and just can’t find anything that says “this is a perfect choice”.  Spring is around the corner though and I’d like to have something in mind so we can enjoy it all year.

Kalissa was looking and found this….

Now, this swing set looks really nice.  The monkey bars on the side are a little more than I need but I can see the school kids really liking them.  The construction on this looks awesome.  The metal on this has a 10-year warranty.  It does give me the more spots I wanted…the problem…  about $4000 buys this.  Hmmm.  Oh, my word.  Why are somethings so hard to make a decision about??

What do think?  Do you have any suggestions?  I really could use some help on this.

36 thoughts on “Swingset Challenge”

    1. Judith Fairchild

      I like Amy’s idea. I was thinking you could get some heavy canvass and make a basket seat but if your metal frame is wearing out too. Take the zuggestion of saving the parts off your old swing and get the new one you like. The one Kalispell found I’m like the swing sets in our park where i live. Co mercial quality. It might be worth the 4,000 grand. If it doesn’t put a big hole in your budget Q10

    2. I have the trampoline on one end. I thought my four little granddaughters would like it. Nope, mostly they sit on it and have tea parties.

  1. Hi Jo, would you be able to contact the manufacturer of your play set and ask them if they can do a replacement for the basket swing?
    Gosh, $4000! It’s a pity there aren’t any second hand play sets anywhere!

  2. You could take the glider off the current set and put it on a new one. Save the swings and anything else you can for the new set. Just a thought. Best of luck!

    1. That was my thought too… if the glider is still in good shape you can put it on a new frame. If you need, you can replace the metal (or rope?) hanging pieces.

  3. Jo, are any parts of your current set salvageable? If you could reuse one of the slides and or install that double glider with a new set might that help?

  4. I think you should do a lot more looking and make do with what you have for one more year. Pinterest should have a lot of ideas for things that would last a long time. Our neighborhood has installed some creative things that the kids. I think they could be made at a reasonable price in addition to a traditional swing set and slide.

  5. I have one of those round swings that looks like a trampoline. It is fun, but I had to teach the kids not to run under it while pushing someone on it because it would then tip out the child. Luckily I was right there and grabbed the child.
    Don’t give up, Jo. Perhaps two swingsets side by side would do. Stick to what You want, because that works best for You. Contact two or three swingset makers and talk to them about what you need (by email first, and see if they respond.) Mention that you have a blog and others are also researching and trying to help you get what you need. (Because we are!)
    I looked at Creative Playthings, but their base is a fort, so no go. Forts ALSO are full of spiderwebs and bugs, and kids do not like to play in them once they see bugs and spiders and webs. Much better to just have the equipment out in plain sight.

  6. Melissa Ruschau

    Is it possible to remove the worn out swing from the set and hang a rope with knots from the upper bar? Kids could climb and swing from that. I completely agree with your assessment of trampolines and forts.

  7. What Julie suggested is a great option. Since you have such a great rapport with the firemen, could you ask them to build you a wooden brace to house the swing that Julie suggested? It doesn’t all have to b e connected and you could do a little bit at a time. Also, contacting the manufacturer, if you could figure it out, might help. With all the blog followers you have, maybe they would give you a “deal”. Doesn’t hurt to ask. Carol

  8. Could you remove the glider on the current swingset and add another swing to take it’s place? Then add a stand alone glider that adults or children could use? A lot of options out there once you separate the glider from the swingset. https://www.hearthsong.com/p/730581?aff=10051&gclid=Cj0KCQiA-aGCBhCwARIsAHDl5x9Ye3ITQ3f6WvCffgoWiZ-4KoBUsBQTGryp8DumJ96lMg1K0Prteq8aAiJSEALw_wcB

  9. Wow, swing sets have certainly gotten more expensive than I recall. I can see where having lots of swings and the glider would be a good option for you with childcare. Happy hunting, I hope something is found to fit what you need and want.

  10. Could you call the company that makes the close-but-no-cigar swing set and inquire if other options exist but aren’t pictured?

  11. Can you have your old one repaired ? Carpenters and welders can do amazing things. When our kids were little we noticed a dismantled swing set in a heap beside the garage of a vacant rental house.

    The owner of the house was happy to have it gone (for free) when we asked about it. My husband rebuilt it & this provided many hours of fun. It had a glider too.

  12. If there is only one thing wrong with your swing set, I would try to find a replacement “piece”, be that a swing, glider, or whatever. Your current set seems to be a good one for little kids. I would keep it for the little kids You might want to get a second set for the older kids, one which would be more challenging to them. Just a thought.

  13. It seems that the double basket swing is difficult to find. Can Craig or Buck reuse the metal frame of your existing one and rebuild? Then you could attach it to a new swing set when you find one to your liking. Like Carol mentioned above, between your childcare kiddos and your grandkids, you will be using a swing set for many years. I would invest in the best you can afford! Good luck!!

  14. Best of luck Jo! Have you ever seen slack lines? I’m not sure what you have for trees (but I sure you could add some wooden or metal posts) but we have a slack line in between our set of trees and it ratchets to the trees end then we hang our spider swing and monkey type bars on it. Keep us updated with your search!

  15. With all of the skills and creativity you have in your family, I know you can repair or rebuild the basket swing. If the frame is intact you could replace the flooring with treated wood, cedar or stained boards. The frame could also be repaired if needed. If you keep this swing set going for a while it will give you time to explore your options. With your thrifting skills and all of your connections you’ll be able to find what you need at a good price! Good things come to those who wait!

  16. Do your boys weld? The swings at our park are made with pipe. The swings hang from stout chain. That would last forever. At a $4,000 price tag, keep exploring the options.
    Do you want a climbing structure? When I worked at a zoo, the fire department would donate hose, they could no longer use. The keepers wove it into a sling the apes used to climb and play on. That is just a thought that popped into my head.
    Good luck. I am sure you will find the perfect solution.

  17. Jo, I just typed “park swing sets” into google and it took me to overstock.com. They have saucer type swings, like you are needing.

  18. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Since the remainder of your swing set is fine, I would look for a replacement for the broken piece, even if it is not identical to what you have!! 4K is insane for a swing set!!!

  19. You might be able to replace the basket parts with wood slats. Have your guys take a look and see if a replacement frame could be made from pressure treated wood. Then you could reuse some of the components. Perhaps the slides could be made free standing. Or look for a used little tykes slide. Those things are indestructable. We were the 3rd family to have the use of one and I know it went through 2 more before we lost track of it.

  20. Jo, looking at these sets I’m wondering if you could get that Deluxe Trapeze Set and substitute a second slide for the teeter totter? Seems like that would cover most of your check list and still keep it to just one unit to watch. Good lock!

  21. Do you have a welding or machine shop close by? Maybe they could come up with ideas, they can build a much sturdier frame I would say. Just a thought. I don’t know if Sears still has their swing sets but they are well-made also.

  22. We bought a Step 2 adventure swingset – the big one 7 years ago for our 6 grandkids living here in Kansas with us . I didn’t want a wooden one because of the splinters and stories from friends about how quickly they weathered and then fell apart. So we SPLURGED and bought this for about 1000 but it has been worth every penny!!!!! We could hang a baby swing on the rope ladder hooks giving us three swings and the large glider with the two story playhouse and slide – the heavy plastic has held up well to hot summers and cold winters.

  23. I am guessing that Craig or one of the other farm hands knows how to weld? Maybe one of the firefighters? Have them make the support structure – the upside v’s and the top bar. Add the bolts to attach swings and you can have whatever configuration you want.

    We couldn’t find a swing set that fit us and our 4 children so we built a sturdier set with more options. It was also less expensive and twice the size of the commercial sets. We recently rehabbed it for our grandchildren to play on. The original structure was still solid. We added another ‘wing’ to accommodate more play stations.

  24. My dad made our swing set. It was wonderful. We were older and wanted to swing higher, so he made it extra tall. He used metal pipes and welded them together. he made the slide. I wish I had a picture of it. If you have someone who can make it like this, you can customize it to meet your needs. I see basket swings seats are available or you may be able to find used ones to add to your swing. the same with the glider. If your slides are still good they can be reused.

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