If you have the time, tools and the kids’ help, you will have a playground in your own Connecticut backyard before you can say, “Put on sunscreen.” The payback will be never hearing them say they are bored and the positive results of a home playground for your child will be physical strength, mental well-being and encouragement to use their imagination.
There are three ways to approach having your own play set:
- Purchase building plans and accessory kits.
- Design your own playground.
- Buy an entire playground kit that can be built by you or assembled by the store you purchased it from.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Will it be a one size fits all or will you start small and grow it as your children grow?
- How many children will be playing on it at once?
- What do your children like to play on in a playground?
Keep kids involved in decisions. Customizing age appropriate equipment can be as simple as a swing set made from wood. Wood is sturdy and long lasting and softer than metal. Or, your set can be so large to include a full blown set with monkey and chin up bars, a slide, a sandbox, climbing structures, a rock wall and a tire swing–the possibilities are endless, but having your kids’ input will narrow your focus.
Once you know the size of the playground, pick a spot:
- Measurements of the sight will need to be taken.
- A spot that has some shade and a view from the house is a good start.
- Ground cover for the spot should include energy absorbing materials such as shredded rubber, wood chips, wood fiber, sand or a poured in place rubber floor.
If you choose to build the set on your own, get the family involved. Little ones can wax screws on a candle, which makes for easier assembly. If you are using old tires, soap and the hose to wash them clean can be fun and helpful. Older children can bang nails and sort materials.
Below are some local businesses that may be able to help you get started:
Best in Backyards
1317 South Main Street (Rt. 10)
Cheshire, CT 06410
Hours: Mon to Tues – closed, Wed to Sat – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Best in Backyards will professionally deliver and install all products they sell.
The Great Outdoor Toy Company
9 Kings Highway North
Westport, CT 06880
Hours: Fall and Winter: Mon to Sat – 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sun – closed; Spring and Summer: Daily – 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Great Outdoor Toy Company has a backyard showroom and encourages questions. They will even let you and your children test out the equipment.
1183 Oronoque Rd.
Milford, CT 06460
Hours: Mon to Fri – 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sat – 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sun – closed
Grillo Services provides Connecticut produced playground mulch and is all natural, ground wood. When applied at the recommended depth of 12 inch, it provides a cushion on the playground floor, reducing the injury risk.
For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit CBSConnecticut.com/YourHome.
Paula Moliver is a noted designer with a specialty in all things related to fiber. She spins and dyes her own yarn and is skilled in weaving and needle arts. She has been widely published in noted magazines including Arts & Crafts, Better Homes & Gardens and the Decorative Painter. Paula is a regular educator at New Pond Farm. She resides in Connecticut. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.