Over the years we’ve testing many outdoor play systems. They have become so expensive that you really want to be sure you’re making a wise investment. This season we asked one of our testing families to try a set from Backyard Discovery — a mid-priced brand of wooden sets that is widely available. They tried the Highlander – it comes with a 10′ wave slide, a rock wall, ladder, two belt swings, a two person glider, a picnic table and a four level fort with a covered porch.
What they loved:
The three levels to climb. (This trend for super high climbers makes us a little nervous. It certainly demands constant adult supervision).
The accessories. The telescope, the steering wheel– all fun for pretend play!
Stability. This is super important when kids are swinging high and on the glider.
Rock Wall. The kids really enjoyed this aspect of the set.
Slide. The wave slide is super sleek and slippery–our testers liked that it was super high.
Swings and Glider. A big hit…how high can you go?
Swings and glider are a bit close for our parent testers’ taste. Our mom suggested that another three inches between the swings would make crashes less likely (yikes).
The rock wall is awkwardly close to one side of the picnic table underneath–making it almost inaccessible for even a small child to get into the bench on that side.
Overall–this family gave the set high marks. They noted that it took a professional installer 13 hours to put the whole thing together.
Safety First— please note that all backyard equipment needs to have safety material under and around it to help avoid serious injury if your child falls off the equipment. For a complete list of the CPSC’s playground safety recommendations, click here. Playground experts recommend that you have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel or safety tested rubber mats. While this adds to the expense of your backyard playground, remember that 200,000 kids end up in the ER due to playground injuries…so buy the wood chips!