Kids aren’t always the easiest to entertain, and as parents, we can really struggle with figuring out the best choices when purchasing entertainment options. We all know how much most kids love to play outside, especially at the park! That’s exactly why getting your kids an awesome new play gym is such a fantastic idea! It’s guaranteed to keep your kiddos happy and entertained for hours at a time. Plus, you can sit back, relax and enjoy watching them have a blast! The best part is we took all of the hard work of researching and comparing out of it for you! We have compiled this list of the best play gyms for kids just for you. We took into consideration everything from the materials used to the cost and took care to pay special attention to user reviews!
Our Top 3 Picks
- Gorilla Playsets Chateau
- Smaller Footprint
- Backyard Discovery Saratoga
- Great Features
- Backyard Discovery Sky Fort
- Popular Item
Play Gym Safety
One of the most important things you want to consider when choosing a play gym for your children is safety! Nothing could be more important than protecting our children from harm. There are some universal things to keep in mind no matter which play gym you pick though.
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for age. Each product is designed with a different age and maturity level in mind and not following those guidelines can cause dangerous accidents.
You should always buy your play gym new so that you know that it meets the current safety regulations and can register it in case of recalls.
Follow Assembly Instructions
In order to ensure that your play gym is properly installed, follow the instructions very carefully and don’t skip over anything. The last thing you want is an accident to be caused by the unsafe or improper assembly.
Consider Spatial Restrictions
One thing that a lot of people tend to forget about is how much space around the play gym will be needed to keep everyone safe. The play gym doesn’t just need to fit into space it’s going in, but it needs to have an adequate amount of room around it as well. Most play gyms will come with recommendations for placement in the instructions.
Something else you should consider is what your play gym is on top of. Ideally, you want something under the play gym that will protect your child and minimize the impact. There are several options of what you can use for this. Sand or pea gravel will work and are relatively inexpensive, but there are safer options. Mulch and wood chips are fairly good options that should last a little longer and won’t blow away in the wind. An added benefit is that they won’t invite in unwanted cats and therefore are more sanitary. The safest option though would probably be some form of rubber. From shredded rubber to rubber mats or poured rubber, you have plenty of options that can aid in keeping your precious little ones from harm. If you choose a loose fill material, you’ll want to make sure that it is a minimum of 6” deep, but depending on the material and height of equipment, you may want it deeper than that.
Enforce Safety Rules
Make sure your kids know how to be safe. Don’t allow them to push or grab and make sure they are old enough and mature enough to use the equipment safely. If your play gym includes swings, make sure your children know that they should never kneel or stand on swings and that they should be holding on with both hands while swinging. They should also get off of swings only once the swing is no longer moving. Children should also maintain a safe distance from the swings when other children are using them. It would be very unfortunate to have a child hit by another child swinging and could cause serious injury to both children.
One of the most obvious things you can do to ensure the safe use of your play gym is to supervise its use. You should always be close by and watching to make sure that no injuries occur. It is especially important to supervise very young children. Often times, younger children will need your assistance to even use the play gym, so keep that in mind as well.
Check for Hazards
You should always check your child’s play space for potential hazards. This could be anything from fallen sticks to insects. Common things to look out for are wasp nests and ant hills. You’ll also want to look over the play gym for any loose pieces or rust. Just keep your eyes out for anything that could pose a potential risk for your children.
As long as you follow these simple guidelines, you should have no issues in keeping your little ones safe while they use their awesome new play gym!
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Play Gyms
What a play gym is made out of makes a huge difference in attractiveness, durability, and longevity. We made sure to include this in our evaluation criteria when putting this list together. Steel and wood are what most play gyms are made out of and you want to make sure to consider which one is better for your family when choosing which set to purchase. Steel has the advantage of no chance of peeling or rotting as some wood products will. However, high-quality wood products like the ones on our list will stand up against these risks as well, especially if properly maintained. One of the cool things about the wooden play gyms is that they often are able to be customized and they always have a stunning appearance adding a nice effect in any backyard.
Something that you should definitely consider is the number of features that you want, and which specific features are important to you and your kids. We thought about this and included play gyms with all sorts of different features and activities on the list. You may want something space saving and simple that might have fewer features. However, if you have the money for it, and a lot of kids to entertain, you may want to consider one of the play gyms on the list that’s packed with all sorts of different options. There is everything from slides and monkey bars to play forts and flying saucers. Think about what your child’s favorite activity at the park is and make sure to snag a play gym that has that option for them!
Nobody knows better than the consumers about which products are best. We search through hundreds of reviews for every product before deciding if it makes the list or not. We took into consideration the bad and the good and chose products that were well loved by the adults who make the purchases and the children who use the play gyms. This gives us the most confidence that we can provide a list of play gyms that is guaranteed to be loved by all.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are play gyms safe for toddlers?
A: Whether or not a play gym is safe for a younger child such as a toddler depends on the play gym. There are many play gyms that are perfectly safe for even very small children. Just make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as well as the safety guidelines listed above. You know your child better than anyone, so if anything makes you feel uneasy or unsafe, listen to your gut.
Q: How long will assembly take?
A: The amount of time that assembly takes will greatly vary from play gym to play gym. The smaller, simpler play gyms may only take a few hours. However, the bigger, more complex play gyms will certainly take longer. Some play gyms may even take many hours split up over several days to complete. Think about this ahead of time when purchasing play gyms for special occasions such as birthdays or holidays. You don’t want to give a 4-year-old a play gym on their birthday that won’t be ready for another week. That could be very disappointing for children, so it’s a good idea to purchase the play gym well in advance if giving it as a gift.
Q: Can I assemble the play gym on my own?
A: Sure! You can certainly put most play gyms together on your own without any help. However, that is going to be highly dependent on you. If you are not in good shape or have anything that limits your physical ability, you will definitely want to get some help. You may want to consider getting some help anyways, as assembling alone will definitely increase the time the project takes. Doing this alone can be very time-consuming and tedious. You also have the option of hiring a professional to assemble your play gym. This should cut down on time and stress. It will, of course, be more expensive to have a professional do it. However, many people agree that it is well worth the extra cost to have peace of mind that the play gym is built properly and efficiently. Some of the play gyms on our list offer the option to pay for professional assembly at purchase.
Q: Will I need tools to put my play gym together?
A: It will, again, depend on which play gym you purchase. Most play gyms will require you to have at least some basic tools, with some requiring you to even have a drill. Take that into consideration when you choose your play gym and make sure you are prepared when it arrives. Another benefit to having a professional assemble your play gym would be that they would have their own tools giving you one less thing to worry about.
Q: Can I customize my play gym?
A: Depending on which play gym you choose, you will likely be able to customize it to some extent. Often times, you can switch out the placement of certain features or leave a feature off if you don’t like it or don’t have space for it. For example, some of the play gyms come with a swing set extension located at the end of the set that you have the option of leaving off. Wooden playsets could be stained or painted the color of your choice as well. Just make sure that if you decide to deviate from the original design that you know what you are doing and don’t take any unnecessary risks. Safety is the most important thing to consider.
Q: What kind of care does it require?
A: Check with your play gym manufacturer to determine what kind of care is needed for your particular play gym. Some play gyms take practically no maintenance at all, while others will require special care. Some wooden play gyms will need to be stained and/or coated every so often. It’s a good idea to do that once a year. You should always regularly look over your play gym for signs of damage or wear. Sand down any rough or sharp edges on wooden pieces, and consider tightening bolts every so often to prevent them from loosening after lots of use. If you do not care for your play gym properly, it can increase the risk of accidents and injuries as well as shorten the amount of time you are able to use your play gym.
Q: Do I have to anchor it to the ground?
A: This is something you will need to check with your specific play gym manufacturer. Most of these play gyms do not require anchoring them to the ground. However, many of them may benefit from it. Anchoring can increase safety, stability, and durability. Some play gyms come with anchors, while some do not. If your play gym does not come with anchors, you can purchase them separately if you want to or need to anchor your play gym.
Q: What if I need replacement parts?
A: Almost all play gym manufacturers sell individual replacement parts for their play gyms. If you should need something, just call the manufacturer and let them know.
Q: Is it worth the investment if my children are already older?
A: Absolutely! There are all sorts of play gyms to meet all sorts of needs. We have several play gyms on the list that can appropriately accommodate older children and even adults. It’s never too late to invest in a great play gym.
Q: Can it be moved to a new location after installation?
A: This will really depend on the size and construction of your play gym. Most of the large play gyms would be very difficult, almost impossible, to deconstruct, move and reconstruct. You’ll want to think about how long you plan to be at your current residence when deciding which set may be best for you and your family. However, there are some play gyms that it would be completely reasonable and doable to deconstruct and then reconstruct in a new location.
Q: What is the best age to buy my child their first play gym?
A: Really, any age is a great age to buy a play gym. Even if you only have an infant, they will grow into the play gym and any of its features. If your play gym has swings included, you could even replace one with an infant/toddler swing temporarily. The younger your children are when you first buy, the longer they will be able to use and enjoy your purchase.
Q: Can I use the play gym with my children?
A: To find the answer to this question, please refer to your particular play gym’s recommendations. Many play gyms can safely accommodate most adults. However, there are also lots of play gyms made for only children to use safely. Be smart and safe and if you aren’t sure, you can always call and ask the play gym’s manufacturer.
Q: Do I have to use something such as sand underneath my play gym?
A: Well, no, technically it is not a requirement. However, it is best practice and much safer to put something underneath the play gym to help minimize fall impacts. Your child is much less likely to be seriously injured if they have something to land on that will help absorb their fall.