Your Ultimate Guide To Buying A Swing Set For Your Child
It is said, “happiness is a swing,” If you ask any child on a playground, they’ll be quick to agree with you.
Humans have been swinging for thousands of years: ancient Greek sculptures and art from as early as 1400 B.C. depict images of people on swings.
American pioneers used to fasten swings using sticks, rope, and a tree. These makeshift swings were used for breaks as they traveled west in covered wagons.
But what is it about a wooden playset swing that captures our imagination for hours at a time? Some may argue it’s the opportunity for social interaction; others may say it’s the long list of physical and developmental benefits swinging offers. Whatever you decide, we at Avenlur are here to help you learn about the magic of swinging and what to look for when selecting one.
Why do kids like to swing?
To completely understand why children like to swing, we need to break down what happens when they move back and forth. There are a wide variety of sensations that a child feels when swinging. From the calming to-and-fro rhythm to the exhilaration felt from the rapid travel through time and space. These experiences can be traced directly back to a baby in its mother’s womb and the child’s initial sensations of gravitational pull.
Simply put, swinging stimulates our sensory systems, both the proprioception ( the awareness of the position and movement of the body in space and time) and the vestibular (pertaining to our sense of balance) systems.
When we swing, the three semicircular canals in the inner ear are stimulated and respond to the acceleration and movement of our body on the diagonal, horizontal, and vertical planes. This stimulation is directly related to our sense of balance or vestibular system.
The physical activity of swinging, a three-dimensional movement through space, stimulates a child’s cerebral cortex. Whether on a bucket swing, wooden swing, or belt swing, this movement activates that portion of the brain, providing a rushing sensation. This further develops a child's planning, language, and balance systems.
The movement involved in swinging helps children develop and maintain their proprioception system, which gathers information from our body’s joints and muscles. This information sends signals to our central nervous system, forcing us to react to moving stimuli.
What are the benefits of swing sets?
1. Swinging is excellent physical exercise.
When it all comes down to it, swinging is exercise. It’s a superb exercise form that can burn over 200 calories an hour. Not only does it help develop tendons, joints, and ligaments. But it also builds fine motor skills such as muscle strength and control. Balancing on a wooden swing can strengthen a child’s core muscles. Developing the power needed to hold on to the chain or rope of a swing improves a young person’s finger coordination and grip strength.
Not to mention developing the gross motor skills of running, jumping, and pumping your legs to gain height and momentum. Plus, swinging is the perfect low-impact exercise ideal for the growing bodies of children.
2. Swinging can help a child’s brain development.
For young or developmentally challenged children, swinging can tremendously help build sensory integration. Sensory integration combines inner ear balance and spatial awareness. By stimulating these senses, the child’s brain has the necessary practice to decipher and organize spatial information. From there, they can build a foundation for behavior and complex learning as they grow.
3. Swinging inspires imagination and creativity.
Playing outside on a swing allows children to grow and expand their imaginations. They can invent stories of the pirate shipwreck they’re swinging to or where they’re coming from, such as an island that’s just been invaded by giant ants! The opportunities for creative play on a swing are endless. The sky is the limit!
4. Swinging improves a child’s social development.
Any time spent in unstructured settings, such as public playgrounds or on an outdoor playset with swings, allows children to improve their social skills. While out there, they learn patience, for example, while waiting for a swing to become available.
Or they invent games to play with other swing set users to make the activity more fun. Swinging is an excellent opportunity for children to develop their social interaction skills as they create and live out all of what their imagination can produce.
5. Swings are relaxing
With the demands of school, extracurricular activities, and electronic devices' impact on children, is it a wonder they need to relax? A wooden swing's peaceful, simple back-and-forth motions allow kids to unwind and relax. There is no correct or incorrect way to swing; simply pumping the legs will enable children to move back and forth in the air gently.
6. Swinging improves a child’s sleep.
Numerous research studies have highlighted how much better children sleep when exercising. Swing sets can offer not only a great form of exercise, but swinging is also highly relaxing. After an hour on the swing, the children are physically tired and ready for bed.
7. Swinging can increase a child’s attention span.
Disengaging from a formal structure (i.e., class) and participating in unstructured play helps children regain their focus and prepare to re-engage in learning as the school day progresses. Part of this disengagement and unstructured play includes swinging.
The swinging motion helps children refocus their brains to engage in more structured activities. It is an excellent way for children to lengthen their attention spans. It is recommended, in particular, for children diagnosed with ADHD.
Are swing sets safe?
The simple answer is yes!
Yet before you make that online purchase, there are a couple of tips you need to follow to ensure swing set safety.
It comes as no surprise, but it bears repeating, make sure children using a swing seat of any kind are supervised by a responsible adult. Not only is it a fantastic way to spend time with your kids, but it will also ensure they are using the outdoor swings properly.
2. One person per chair
Part of a supervising role is to make sure that no more than one child sits on the swing seat at a time. This is easy when your child is using a baby swing. But with a bucket swing or a belt swing, you’ll find your child might want to sit on the lap of another. This can be incredibly dangerous and could result in the swing breaking.
3. Establish a swing set fall zone
Various safety experts agree that setting up an area about six feet in front of and behind the swing will ensure everyone’s safety. Keeping this area free and clear of hazards (i.e., other kids, trees, fences, and other play equipment) will ensure that children can use the swings safely without fear of banging into a nearby object or person.
4. Do not twist chains or knot ropes.
Make sure all your children know the danger of twisting chains or playing with the ropes connecting the swing seat to the apparatus. Doing this could result in the chains or ropes becoming weak and breaking mid-flight. It could also result in kids getting choked or caught up in the chains.
5. No jumping while the swing is in motion
It might often look like fun as your child sees others jumping off their swing seat in midair. However, this can be incredibly dangerous. Ejecting themselves from a swing in midflight could result in twisting an ankle or wrist.
6. Observe weight limits
As with all play equipment, each item is designed for a specific weight and age range. For instance, Avenlur’s Forrest Swing Set is built for children ages 3-11. It can also hold a maximum of seven kids. These weight limits and the number of children allowed on the swing set were created for a reason; to ensure your child’s safety and security. It’s essential to keep this in mind before you let your kids play.
How to choose the right swing set for your family?
It can be challenging to get your kids outdoors, even on the sunniest days. An easy way to entice them outside is by purchasing a swing set. The following is a quick list of tips to consider before purchasing.
1. Safety and Space
When selecting the most suitable swing set, the primary goal is to ensure your kids have enough room to play and play safely. Suppose you're considering purchasing a large multi-purpose indoor-outdoor playset. In that case, we suggest an area of six feet surrounding the swing set to remain clear of obstacles such as fences, shrubs, driveways, dog runs, and other things you might find in a yard. You also need to be on the lookout for tree limbs, low-hanging power lines, or any other obstacles that affect the height dimensions of your swing set.
2. Consider your children’s interests.
If your children enjoy swinging, climbing, and sliding, then make sure you purchase a playset that includes all of these items instead of a single swing. Avenlur’s Magnolia Real Wood 6-in-1 playset combines a swing with a rope ladder, slide, climbing wall, and monkey bars, just to name a few. It is the perfect multi-functional playset for a child with various interests. Remember, the correct swing set will provide a safe space for your kid to explore, play and learn.
3. Consider your children’s age & weight.
Selecting the correct swing set for your child’s age and weight will ensure their enjoyment and provide them with a safe place to play.
For infants and toddlers (6 months-2 years old)
Most swing sets are designed to be used by kids of various ages. However, the youngest of the group has specific needs. An infant can’t yet sit on a swing that doesn’t have some sort of back support. That’s why a baby seat is a great accessory to add to an existing playset.
For preschool (3-4 years old)
Even though they are relatively small, they are considerably more mobile than their toddler cousins. That’s why a full playset with a swing, would be ideal. This type of swing set is constructed using durable New Zealand pine. They test a young child’s abilities minus the more demanding complex features that might exhaust their little legs and arms at this stage.
For school-age children (5-12 years old)
At this age and stage, you’re looking for a swing set designed to hold this age child’s weight and body height. There isn’t a massive range of styles for this age group; you’ll notice several variations on similar themes. These types of swing sets are full-size and designed to last long term.
Get your kids swinging!
Remember the wind blowing through your hair, the adrenaline rush as you pumped your legs back and forth? The sun's rays shining in your face as you could almost touch the sky? Those are the feelings and sensations that a swing can evoke. Indeed “happiness is a swing.” So what are you waiting for? Let Avenlur help you select the most suitable swing set and unleash those feelings in your children.