The Family Fun Pack: Our Picks for the Top Backyard Playgrounds

Kids playing in the backyard of The Family Fun Pack: Our Picks for the Top Backyard Playgrounds

A backyard playground is one of the most efficient ways to turn the empty space behind your home into a space where your kids can explore, exercise, and have fun. If your family has already settled into its “forever home”, then the next task will be to ensure your family is loving your home rather than just living in it. Learn more about the family fun pack: our picks for the top backyard playgrounds.

In this sense, gifting your kids with their own outdoor headquarters will probably have a huge impact for years to come.

What Are Backyard Playgrounds?

Like the name indicates, these are pre-built playgrounds that you can assemble on your own backyard. They are generally smaller than the “commercial” playgrounds that you usually see on public parks.

However, many tend to include witty design solutions meant to help you fit as many different activities in a relatively compact package – after all, even the calmest toddler will eventually get bored of the same swing every day. But swings, a climbing wall, a trapeze and a tree house? That’s years of fun in the making.

Up until a few years ago, most backyard playgrounds were made of wood. Nowadays, vinyl and metal accents are also used, since they last longer and offer more resistance for less weight.

But how can you tell which one is good before it gets to your house? If you are having trouble picturing how the boxed pieces behave in real life, check out the top choices we have selected below. Learn more about the family fun pack: our picks for the top backyard playgrounds.

The Best Backyard Playgrounds

ORANGUTAN 2 Pack Heavy Duty Swing Seat 66″ Chain Plastic Coated, Playground Backyard Kids Swing Set

The ORANGUTAN Swing set is a remarkable option for anyone with a relatively small backyard and a set of relatively rowdy children. At first glance, this ORANGUTAN set offers just a pair of simple swings. However, they hide a few clever features that are meant to help then withstand the destructive curiosity of a gang of 8-year-olds.

This set consists of two identical swings, complete with seats and plastic-covered steel chains for them to hang from. In addition, they come with a spare set of locking carabiners, in case any of them were to break.

The swings are made from high quality EVA plastic and steel chains. EVA plastic is a crack-resistant material that offers good temperature control and will keep its colors for years. The seats are simple and don’t have a lot of décor, but can resist trampling and banging without leaving a dent behind.

The links in the steel chains fit inside the carabiners easily, which will allow you to adjust their length easily. Simply twist the chain from the top before clipping the carabiners from the hanging pole or tree you will be using.

Although the steel chains are sturdy enough to withstand up to 660 pounds, they could pose a hazard on very hot or sunny days. This is countered by the plastisol covering on top of them: it will make them hard to clean, but preventing blisters is more important. Fortunately, the stainless steel used seems to be of good quality, and the insides won’t rust easily.

On the downside, this swing set doesn’t include any extra bars or gadgets that expand their functionality.

ProsCons
Very resilient.They only come with swings.
Designed to be safe.You will need to find an appropriate rod or tree to hang the swings from.
Chain length is adjustable.
Backyard Playgrounds Reviews

KidKraft Andorra Cedar Wood Swing Set / Playset F24140

If you have a larger patch of grass to work with (of at least 95 x 123 inches), and the type of kids that easily get distracted, then this set offers a better-rounded playground option.

The Andorra Playset combines a smaller swing set with a canopied play deck, a small Rockwall, a slide, and a vinyl chalkboard. It is designed to be completely self-supporting, so you won’t need to hang anything from nearby elements – just assemble all the pieces included in the package.

On the other hand, the assembly process can be messy if you are not very handy with tools. You may even need to borrow a hand drill, as the overall construction goes beyond what a simple hammer can offer.

This complexity pays off, however: the canopy, which would otherwise be too high for a toddler, comes with a set of safety rails. Plus, a strategically-located sandbox right below the canopy will provide a soft landing spot – although the sand is not included.

The belt swings are sturdy and resilient, covered in heat-resistant plastic. However, the overall construction can’t be adjusted. So in order to get a stable construction, you will need to install this playset on perfectly level ground.

The vinyl used on the slide can get pretty warm during the summer. It won’t burn anyone just by touching it, but once you add some friction, you may get enough heat to insist on your kids wearing long pants when they want to play.

ProsCons
It combines 5 different activities.Can take up to 8 hours to assemble.
It’s made from quality wood and vinyl.It requires advanced tools.
Doesn’t actually need a big backyard.Won’t resist the weight of children above the age of 8.
Backyard Playgrounds Reviews

Gentle Booms Sports Ninja Warrior Line Obstacle Course Kit

The “Ninja Warrior” set by Gentle Booms is an agility-oriented obstacle course for budding athletes, gymnasts, and members of legendary assassin orders. Easy to fit between two poles, it steers clears from any swing sets, tree houses, or any other playground classics.

So how does this obstacle course work? To put it simply, it offers two extra-thick slacklines, from which you can hang a combination of hoops, rings, buckles and ladders. The elastics will need to be extended between two nearby trees or poles. The top elastic comes with a set of movable hooks, from which you will be able to connect the different parts of the obstacle course.

For all its simplicity, this offers many customization options. Depending on the size of your yard (and the distance between the trees you will be using), you can adjust the distance between the different obstacle sets and their order. You can add a small incline, either by adjusting the elastic themselves or by hanging each add-on at a slightly different kit.

The result will be a near-infinite array of possible obstacle courses and new challenges for every weekend. However, this is not the kind of playground set where you can leave children to entertain themselves. While you can place some safety mattresses underneath the line, or hang it a little bit lower, the possibility of a bad fall will persist.

If you really want to reap every ounce of fun from this set, be prepared to spend a lot of time climbing alongside your kids: after all, it is designed to resist up to 440 pounds.

ProsCons
Provides an intense workout.Children will need tons of supervision.
Offers creative and unorthodox activities.Needs trees or sturdy flagpoles for installation.
Easy to assemble.
Backyard Playgrounds Reviews

GIGGLE N GO Flarts Outdoor Games for Family – Yard Games

Although not quite a playground, the GIGGLE N GO Flarts set is still a great option to put play and competitiveness at the center of your family space.

So what is a “Flarts set”? Despite the potentially rude mental associations, the term “flart” really means floor darts. In a nutshell, this playset adapts classic wall darts into the outdoors, while also making them safe for children to play with.

The rules are very similar to the throwing darts that you would usually play at a bar. However, instead of pointy darts, you will get a magnetized set of plastic “arrows” that should be thrown into the plastic playing mat.

One of the main advantages of this set is that set up is nearly instantaneous: instead of hanging the mat on the floor, you can just roll out the mat on top of your lawn. The plastic pieces are also very light, so you can carry this along to the park, or on camping and beach trips.

On the manufacture side, this is a quality, well-built game. The playing mat is designed to be easy to wash, so don’t cancel the playdate just because the morning was rainy. It comes with 4 corner pegs that will help you secure it on the ground or sand. However, if you are on a cement or tiled surface, you can also use small pebbles to secure it (although it would’ve been nice if they had included them).

Meanwhile, the arrows are inflatable, and come with a set of plastic handles that will adapt them to a child’s smaller hands easily. If you want to adapt the game to adults, just ignore the handles and stand at a longer distance – this will radically increase the challenge, and even allow your kids to keep playing after they grow.

ProsCons
Needs no installation.It’s a very simple game, and kids will get bored after about an hour..
Can be played by toddlers, older kids, and adults.Darts need constant reflating.
Develops hand eye coordination.
Backyard Playgrounds Reviews

How to Choose the Right Backyard Playground or Fun PACK

If there is one thing we can gather from the products showcased above, it’s that adding a new playset or playground to your home entertainment arsenal doesn’t need to be expensive. That being said, even $5 dollars spent on something that’s not right for your family will be $7 too expensive (once you account for shipping and handling). Learn more about the family fun pack: our picks for the top backyard playgrounds.

So how to make sure you are getting the right play pack? Here are four things to consider before hitting “buy”

Measure your space

Most playgrounds require a flat, wide space in order to be installed properly. Here, the golden rule is to measure twice and order once. Learn more about the family fun pack: our picks for the top backyard playgrounds.

Make sure to read the product specs carefully to see if the set you are buying needs anything in particular – such as nearby trees or grass patches.

It also helps if you take a picture of your backyard, upload it to your computer, and try blocking the space where your new playground, swing set or tree house will go. You won’t need to precise photo editing skills for this: just grab the marker tool and cover the part that your new playground will occupy.

Why? Because it’s not just about making sure it fits, but also about making sure you have enough space to enjoy it. Can you place it somewhere it doesn’t block your emergency exits? Is the slide going to be right beneath a low-hanging tree? Are there any clotheslines or electrical branches around? Destroying your view of the nearby flower beds?

Investigate the materials

It would be impossible to provide a comprehensive list of every possible material, next to all the possible dangers that it could pose to kids. However, we can give you a few key points to consider:

Wood is more durable than plastic, and it won’t get scalding hot if left out in the sun. You will still need to watch out for splinters. After you finish assembling the new playground, inspect it closely and look for any corners or angles that may not be sanded off properly.

Look for paints and dyes that are lead-free

If you are buying anything made from plastic or vinyl, think about the texture too: anything that your kids will climb onto or grab should be textured. This will make it harder for them to fall. However, slides and landings pads should be as smooth as possible.

Look at your children…

…And most importantly, at their ages and sizes.

This will be key if you are buying a larger, more expensive playground in the hopes of it lasting for several years. When shopping for any free-standing structures, look at the overall height and compare it to your kid’s size.

Swings and rockers usually come with straightforward weight limits: once your kids are under that weight, the set will be safe to use. For tree houses, canopies or tower decks, you will need to account for the amount of children that will be using them simultaneously, plus the force of any jumping, pulling or climbing.

As a general rule, any playset that stands above 5 feet, or that includes monkey bars, rock walls, and cargo nets, will be meant for children above the age of 6.

Talk to your family

Finally, you will need to consider what your children actually like to do, and what is their idea of fun. If you have quieter or more thoughtful kids, find something that offers a small playhouse or that favors pretend-play. If you have a boisterous future soldier at hand, they may prefer slides, ladders, and climbing walls.

It also helps to look at your child’s social habits, especially if he or she is an only child, or if the siblings are more than three years apart in age. Do they get frequent playdates? Are there other kids around the neighborhood who will be coming often? If not, try to find something that will allow for solo play, rather than competitive games.

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Final Thoughts

Installing a new playground or backyard game station can turn your home into a magnet for the local kids. In turn, this will help your children develop their social skills, and enrich their afternoons without having to stray far from home.

Adding other activities such as competitive skill games and swing sets will allow you to join in the fun too. Little by little, any of the playsets featured here will help build the memories that your kids will look on fondly later on. Learn more about the family fun pack: our picks for the top backyard playgrounds.

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