10 Best Accessories for Swing Sets
Boost backyard fun with accessories that take your swing set to the next level. Here are top add-ons for hours of imaginative and safe outdoor play.
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Intro to Swing Set Accessories
A swing set is a must for encouraging your kids to head outside to play, but the standard swing-and-slide combination can quickly lose its appeal. Give your basic set a revamp by adding custom accessories that offer hours of active and creative fun for all ages.
You can opt to buy accessories ready to assemble or build customized DIY versions. But keep in mind that any add-ons should be compatible with your swing set and age-appropriate for safe play.
Kids of all ages love the challenge of scaling a climbing wall, basically an inclined panel with hand- and foot-holds attached.
Customize your climbing wall to match the skill level of your child by adjusting the incline and the spacing of the holds, or add a climbing rope to the wall so kids can pull themselves up and rappel back down. Many playset companies sell compatible plastic climbing wall add-ons that include the panel and holds. Otherwise, build the panel yourself and purchase a set of colorful plastic holds and knotted rope to attach for a DIY version.
Even the most active kids need a breather once in a while. Slow the pace with a game of tic-tac-toe built directly into their playset.
One of the most popular accessories, these game add-ons feature a panel with nine revolving tiles or cylinders set in the classic 3 x 3 grid that can be turned to mark an X or an O. Although you could build a version in your workshop, these ready-made $40 tic-tac-toe panels use UV-protected plastic to resist fading and stand up to the elements.
A backyard classic, sandboxes offer hours of imaginative fun. Let your kids build entire worlds of sand in an area that can be as simple as a wood-frame box filled with dust-free non-silica play sand, or as elaborate as a virtual beach with bench seating, a sun awning and cover to keep the sand clean.
Although there are lots of wood sandbox kits and ready-to-assemble plastic sandboxes available, you can build a DIY custom age-appropriate sandbox in just a few hours to fit your swing set and yard space.
Ahoy there, matey! Let your kids set out across the high seas by steering their playset through the waves with a ship’s wheel.
Attach the wheel to the railing on the upper platform of a tower to give your little captain a bird’s-eye-view of the horizon, or to the outside of your set’s frame on the ground level to amp up the adventure while staying safely clear of the swings. Pair a sturdy plastic ship’s wheel with a play telescope for the full pirate experience, or substitute a steering wheel accessory if you have a budding race car driver on your hands.
For four-alarm fun, there’s nothing more thrilling than sliding down a firefighter’s pole. Easy to install, a firefighter’s pole is a great way for older kids to improve their agility as they rush off to fight a pretend blaze.
Firefighter’s pole accessories are treated to be smooth and weather-resistant, offering a safer option than DIY versions made from lengths of pipe. Attach the pole to the side of a two-level playset tower. Make sure it is firmly screwed to the playset at the top and set into the base, or buried at least 10 inches into the ground at the bottom.
Rope or Strap Ladder
Like a climbing wall, a rope or strap ladder offers an exciting way for developing kids to test their physical prowess and enjoy a rush of satisfaction when they make it to the top.
This accessory can be a single hanging ladder column with evenly-spaced horizontal rungs, or a hanging cargo net design with two or three columns and staggered or even rungs that form a more versatile climbing area. Although you can make a hanging rope ladder with nylon rope and wooden rungs, you’re probably better off purchasing a cargo net ladder.
Tire Swing or Saucer
Even the most basic swing set can be amped up by simply swapping out one or more classic plank swings with more creative alternatives. An old-school tire or colorful saucer are two crowd-pleasers that are easy to install and can accommodate more than one child at a time.
Make a DIY tire swing with an old tire and braided polyester rope that you can hang vertically or horizontally, or purchase a saucer swing attachment. Keep in mind that tire and saucer swings must be hung well clear of the swing set base or other swings.
Another alternative to basic plank swings, a glider is ideal for younger children. These swings are hung from four attachment points to create a low and gentle rocking motion.
The hand- and foot-holds and steady seat make for a reassuring yet fun swing. You can opt for a double face-to-face or back-to-back glider if you have two little ones. Most modern gliders are made from preformed plastic resin to minimize skin-pinching pivot points and withstand the elements.
Let your thrill-seeking older kids swing like Olympic gymnasts by installing trapeze rings hung as a single pair or for the entire length of an obstacle course. Vigorous athletes can burn off some serious steam with classic round or triangular rings or a more elaborate set that combines rings with a trapeze swing.
Purchase rings you attach yourself with a length of rope or chain for a DIY version, or opt for a complete set with rings, chains and hooks that can be installed and ready in minutes.
Tube or Spiral Slide
No swing set is complete without a slide! As your kids get older and more adventurous, consider upgrading from their basic straight slide to a more exciting enclosed tube, chute or spiral slide that can be built taller and longer for a turbo-charged descent.
Purchase a sturdy plastic slide kit to attach to your standard five-foot or seven-foot playset tower deck. Or contact the manufacturer of your playset for custom options to fit higher or lower decks.