Today's swing sets seem to emphasize size and features, supporting the American consumer's assumption that more and bigger equals better. People are beginning to realize smaller homes that are more functional can lead to a better lifestyle, one where you spend more time enjoying life than taking care of your possessions.
If we step back and recognize that children learn best through free play and discovery, it's easy to see that swing set size and features aren't terribly important to our children. Just like having their own bedroom, having private play space outdoors is important to children. Children want space where they can play without lots of rules, where they can make lots of noise and run around to their heart's content using their unbounded energy. They want to interact with friends without the prying eyes of adults.
Many families live in detached, single family homes with small or spacious backyards, while others live on farms with 100s of acres. Some families live in condominiums or town houses where they share their outdoor space. What's important is that each family has lots of choices. The same choices exist when picking the ideal outdoor play space for your children. Choices include tree houses, child size structures on the ground, a private garden that might have a fence for privacy or a swing set.
When you decide on a swing set, don't look at just the physical structure. You'll want to consider where you'll place the swing set to keep your children safe while allowing them the freedom they want. Most swing sets require a large, flat surface so there maybe costs associated with building a retaining wall and creating the right space for the swing set. Once you've got a space in mind, make sure to consider what other activities might be taking place elsewhere in the yard. It's always easier to sketch out your ideas on paper and make changes there before you make any purchases. You need to get the best hot tub cover reviews you can to ensure your purchase is right for you.
As you consider a swing set, include your children in planning their own space. You'll be surprised at how simple their requirements might be unless they want something like a fishing pond. Start the discussion by focusing on things that are natural from water to vegetation, animals, sand, nooks and crannies that offer privacy and structures that can be changed to suit their imagination. You'll likely find they don't need a big swing set and maybe they'd prefer a tree house.
There are many books and websites available to help plan your outdoor children's space and activities. Here are just a few that I've found which give you lots of choices.
Children's Play Area's by Sunset Books, offers ideas on laying out play spaces, along with landscaping, fencing, play structures, fitness ideas, tree forts and so much more.
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder is a wonderful book by Richard Louv, that explains the relationship between children and nature, and how nature nurtures creativity..
There's a wonderful report by Tracy Grace Freuder, Designing for the Future: Promoting Ecoliteracy in Children's Outdoor Play Environments that offers a wealth of information about how children learn and how you can enhance their love of nature.
Try to remember your special places when you were a child. Some of them still exist but many are no longer available as our communities have changed. The empty lots we played in have been developed, the park paths are no longer safe for our children to wander alone. With some planning, you can create some of your favorite places in your own back yard.