Gone are the days of spending my days running errands or getting “my” stuff done while simultaneously hanging out with Owen. Sure, sometimes I still have to make a quick Target run or hit up the grocery store, but in general, Owen and I are BOTH much, much happier if the day can be structured around Owen’s favorite activities. I imagine once he gets older his portability will increase again, but I think right now we’re in the midst of the “we have an active toddler so YES we go to the playground every day and NO I can’t do things that require him to sit quietly in a chair.” It’s just not fair to him. The kid’s body needs activity and his neurons are firing a mile a minute. I want to encourage him to learn and grow and sharpen those motor skills and learn how to climb and jump and explore without fear. So to the playground we go.
We have a relatively small backyard and we are lucky to live very close to some awesome playgrounds, so generally every afternoon is spent at the playground. Our favorite one (intended for kids aged 8-12, of course, my little daredevil child only likes the “big kid” playplaces with huge slides and dangerous open spaces) is about 1 mile away, so at least once a day, unless it’s pouring, we walk the dog over there and he waits under a tree while Owen climbs and swings and chatters away to new friends and explores the trees and rolls down the hill and climbs and swings some more.
It’s a great way to spend the day. Fresh air, exercise, the whole nine yards.
But sometimes I would LOVE to be able to just skip the walking a mile. Or skip the whole “getting ready for the playground, make sure we have enough time before dinner, plan it all out” rigamaroll. I would love to be able to just open up our back door and play for 15 minutes. Or, even better, when Owen gets a little older, tell him to “go play outside” and not have to accompany him.
Right now we have a smattering of toys in the backyard. Trucks, a chalkboard easel, a tiny baby slide, a little tricycle I found on the side of the road with a “Free” sign on it. Between those things and a few dog toys, we’re usually good to go. But I can sense Owen getting a little bored with that selection, and I can’t blame him. Our playtimes out there don’t last for more than 10 minutes, usually. The kid needs to MOVE HIS BODY, and the baby slide isn’t cutting it.
So we’re getting him a BIIIIIIIG present for his upcoming 2nd birthday. A swingset.
Yes, I see plenty of skinned knees and boo boos in our future. But hey, we get them anyway; at least now we can be closer to home sometimes when they happen. I figure the earlier we buy this piece of equipment, the longer we can get use out of it. So, now seems like as good a time as ever!
After frequenting so many different playgrounds, I feel like I know exactly what he would like in one of his very own. But I also need to think about how this investment will grow with our family. And, you know, we have to be able to afford it.
I started Googling last night and found myself overwhelmed by:
So I need your help.
Does anyone have experience with buying swingsets? Where did you start? What did you get? Did you put it together yourself or have someone do it for you? Was it the company or a third party builder?
What parts of your swingset did/do your kids love? Which ones could they do without?