Your Complete Guide To Jungle Gyms & Playgrounds For Your Kids

School playgrounds, public playgrounds, indoor playgrounds, or backyard playgrounds, no matter where they are, attract children of all ages.

Whether swinging from ropes, ascending ladders, or traversing the monkey bars, this 100-year-old invention offers a list of benefits for children regarding their physical and mental development.

But questions such as, “are playgrounds safe?” and “what should I know before buying a jungle gym” are still frequently asked. That’s where Avenlur can help. Join us as we slide, swing, and climb through the world of jungle gyms!

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What are jungle gyms?

A jungle gym is a piece of equipment made of many different types of material, including ropes, plastic, wood, and metal, on which children can swing, jump, rock, climb and slide. It is designed to be played on safely by children.

The jungle gym was a specific piece of equipment designed by lawyer Sebastian Hinton in 1920s Chicago. It consisted of sturdily connected bars and was sold under the trademark “jungle gym.” Yet it wasn’t until the 1930s that the first set of monkey bars was added to the design, and Hinton patented it.

The main goal of Hinton’s invention was to allow kids, regardless of age, to reach an intuitive understanding of three-dimensional space through a game. This was accomplished by encouraging kids to maximize their movements in all directions using a series of uniquely designed cubes. Children could move sideways, zigzag, straight up, or down when seated in one of these cubes.

Since then, the jungle gym has undergone several adjustments and modifications to arrive at what it looks like today.

As such, the terms jungle gym and playground structure are used interchangeably, as reflected throughout this guide. Child on Gymnastic Rings on The Grove Jungle Gym - Avenlur's Premium 8 in 1 Wooden Playset for Older Kids

What are the benefits of jungle gyms?

Outdoor playgrounds in parks or schoolyards have traditionally been safe environments for children. They provide an oasis for unstructured play, where children can explore their physical, social, and emotional limits. There are hundreds of benefits of backyard playgrounds. The following is a brief list of some of the most significant advantages of playgrounds for children.

1. Physical Exercise

A healthy child is an active one! A playground structure is designed to do just that-keep your child active and engaged in constant physical activity. From the climbing wall to flying around on a tire swing, playground equipment has many different accessories to keep your child burning calories and improving their athletic skills. The physical benefits of a jungle gym are endless.

What may simply look like a mindless game is an intense cardio workout. A playset is an essential aspect of healthy physical development. They provide a safe and reliable place for children to build muscle in their arms, legs, and torso, to name a few areas. Their cardiovascular and circulatory systems are strengthened through this type of intense activity. Other physical benefits include the following:

  • Lower risk of diabetes and obesity
  • Better instincts
  • Improved balance and flexibility
  • Better motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and agility
  • More robust functioning of the immune system

2. Social Benefits

Whether they’re indoor or outdoor playgrounds are public or private, playing on them is seldom a solitary activity. Usually, whenever you visit a playset, other children are already present or join soon after. Exposing your children to playground equipment increases their opportunities for social interaction and the chance to develop new friendships while enhancing their imagination and creativity. It will give them a sense of community, making your child’s life more enjoyable.

Additionally, it will help them hone their problem-solving skills and a variety of social skills, including the following:

  • Understanding how to take turns
  • Learning to resolve conflict
  • Comprehending the meaning of sharing
  • Learning to compromise and how to cooperate

3. Helps Develop a Child’s Sense of Imagination

With an unending array of uncreative scenarios and situations being fed to our children nowadays via social media, video games, and television, developing their imagination has never been more critical. That’s where playing, for example, on playgrounds with swing sets can inspire kids with a sense of creativity. You often see kids pretending their piece of playground equipment is a spaceship or race car. There are limitless possibilities when exploring a backyard playground.

4. Mental Health Benefits

There are subtle mental health benefits of playing in a commercial playground that can significantly contribute to your child’s well-being. They may not be as recognizable, yet they are vital. Unstructured playtime helps children regulate their emotions and, in turn, reduces their stress and anxiety levels.

School playgrounds often distract students from their problems. The result of outdoor activities of any sort is usually happiness for children, young or old. Other mental health benefits of a playground include the following:

  • Shows them how to deal with challenges in a healthy way
  • It provides them with a sense of control
  • Increases self-esteem and self-confidence the more they can master challenging playground equipment.
  • Encourages them to overcome their fears and anxieties

5. Improves Academic Performance

Simply put, the more time a child spends outdoors participating in unstructured play, the greater their results are in school. A backyard playground helps children develop the creative and problem-solving skills necessary for academic success. So, if you want your children to do better in school, send them outside to play!

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Are jungle gyms safe?

The simple answer is yes, with some preemptive playground safety.

With millions of children out every day on playground equipment, parents often forget that thousands of these kids end up in emergency rooms with cuts, broken bones, or worse. That’s why playground safety is so crucial.

Avoid pushing or playing roughhouse on a jungle gym. Being proactive and implementing safety precautions is a fantastic way to lower the risk of injury. The following is a brief list of essential playground structure safety tips designed to minimize playground injuries:

  • Always check to ensure no other kids are in the way if you’re child is going to jump off a piece of equipment such as a ladder or climbing wall.
  • Stay away from poles, bars, or other broken equipment that protrude or hang in the way.
  • Make sure there is some shock-absorbing material underneath the swing set or playground structure in case of falls.
  • Always watch where your child is headed. Make sure they’re aware of their surroundings as much as possible. 
  • Wear appropriate “playground” safe clothing. That means nothing that has to lose strings, buttons, and zippers, which could catch on commercial playground equipment.
  • If the playground structure runs the risk of getting hot, ensure your child wears clothing covering both legs and arms to avoid burns.
  • Make sure there are guardrails on tall playground equipment.

What to consider when selecting playground equipment?

According to the CDC, hospitals treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 or younger for playground injuries annually. For this reason, you must be prepared before making any playground purchase.

Three Kids Playing On Avenlur’s Modern Swing Set & Playground Outside

1. Evaluate your needs

  • Consider the size of your proposed outdoor or indoor playground space. Are any obstacles (i.e., bushes, fences, tree roots) that need to be considered or removed? 
  • How many children do you expect will play on your playground structure?
  • What are the ages and weight limits of the kids playing on the equipment? For example, do you need to anticipate heavy kids using your rope swings? 
  • Will you have children with disabilities, either physical or mental? If so, what provisions will you need to make for them?

2. Compare your wants with what is available on the market.

3. What is the playground equipment made of?

  • Are you looking for playground equipment made of natural wood, such as New Zealand pine?
  • Or do you want something that is entirely made of metal?
  • Do you need a playground structure that is safe and free of DCA, a compound that can negatively impact the function of a child’s kidneys and liver?

It’s a jungle (gym) out there; Avenlur can help!

Whether it’s an indoor and outdoor playground, or one with a climbing wall and double swing sets, there are many different playground structures from which to choose. At Avenlur, we have a range of products and the experience to help you sift through our selection and pick suitable playground equipment for your needs. So stop waiting for your turn and swing, slide, climb or jump over to Avenlur’s website. Your future jungle gym awaits.