Food Fun and Facts Build Your Kids a Backyard Playground Without Spending a Fortune

Build Your Kids a Backyard Playground Without Spending a Fortune

The next time your kids come home from a friend’s house and beg you for a backyard playground of their own, surprise them with an answer they’re not expecting. Say yes. You’ll be doing them a big favor.

Research has found that playgrounds are essential not only to a child’s physical strength, but mental well-being. They help kids develop cognitive reasoning and problem solving skills, and encourage them to use their imaginations and creativity.

Having heard about the research, Daniel and Bethany Jacques of Hadley, Mass., recently decided to invest in a play set for their sons Joshua, Matthew and John. “We thought it would be good for the boys,” says Daniel. “It was actually more of a Mother’s Day present to my wife -- to give the kids something to do.”

They knew they wanted a wooden play set, one that would be sturdy and last a long time; but when they found out how much one would cost, the Jacques’ were shocked. Depending on the features they come with, wooden play sets typically cost between $2,000 and $3,000. “While doing our research online, we came across a company that advertised a high-quality play set for under $1,000, and that’s who we decided to go with,” says Jacques.

The company they found, Detailed Play Systems, has been around since 1998. Founder and owner, Karl Jessen, is a dad who had found himself in a similar predicament just five years ago. “When my boys were four and one-and-a-half, I started looking into getting a backyard play set for them, and the prices were so high, I decided to build one myself,” he says.

When he started shopping around for supplies, Jessen realized the task wouldn’t be as easy as he first thought. He had to go to different places to find the swings, slide, monkey bars, hardware and lumber. “No one was selling materials that met my standards as a kit, and that gave me an idea.”

Jessen decided to go into the playground building business after realizing he had stumbled onto a niche that needed to be filled. “Our business plan is designed to meet the needs of the cost-conscious consumer who wants to save approximately 50 percent off the cost of comparable prefabricated wooden forts and swing sets, without sacrificing the safety, size, quality, or features of their children’s backyard playground,” says Jessen. “The key to the savings is low overhead and the willingness of our customers to spend about 8 hours time cutting and drilling hand-selected wood prior to starting to build something special for their children."

Detailed Play Systems provides its customers with the Detailed Plans needed to build their playground, the hardware, swings and slide. The wood is not included, but each kit contains a Lumber Purchase Guide that shows exactly what wood needs to be purchased to build each configuration, giving parents the added benefits of being able to choose the type of wood, and to hand-select each piece if desired for quality control..

Kits from Detailed Play Systems range from $169 for a basic Jungle Fort Builder Kit to $900 and up for the works -- a dual fort plus swing set combination. The company’s most popular kit, the Jungle Fort Swing Set kit, sells for $499. It features a large 6 foot by 6 foot fort with sandbox beneath complete with inclined step ladder, gangplank ramp, a slide and attached 3-position swing set.

Included in the price are the Detailed Plans, all galvanized hardware, and the playground equipment components needed. For the Jungle Fort Swing Set, these include a ten-foot Wave slide, belt swings, trapeze bar, and handgrips for safety.

The kits are fully customizable, a multitude of playground configurations can be built, and the sets are modular so they can be added to over time. Accessories such as periscopes, telescopes, steering wheels, sandbox covers, and specialty swings -- full bucket or flat swings -- can be added on to kits or purchased individually and used to upgrade an existing backyard playground."

“The idea here is to help our customers provide quality playgrounds for their kids that won’t break the bank. We are able to keep costs down because our customers don’t have to pay for the labor overhead, machinery, or wood processing,” says Jessen. “Shipping the woo
d alone can easily add $500 to the cost.”

If you decide to build a playground yourself, Jessen says you can count on the project taking about a weekend to complete. He estimates about 8 hours for the wood processing, which includes cutting the wood to size and drilling the holes for the bolts, and another 8 hours for assembly.

“Depending on how large or small your chosen playground configuration is, your tool setup, and how much help you have, it may take more or less time,” he says. Only basic skills -- measuring, cutting straight lines, and drilling holes -- are required. “Many of our customers -- having had no prior wood working experience -- have built their own playground for about half the cost thanks to our Detailed Plans that make it easy.”

“It took us a couple of weekends to get it all done,” says Jacques. “And it was a family project that was rewarding for us to accomplish together. My father-in-law and brother-in-law helped.”

Once you have your completed your project, you may want to add such safety measures as mulch made from recycled rubber, landscape timbers made from recycled plastic, bumper pads, and nonskid strips for places where kids need a better grip. All of these kits and add-ons are available direct from Detailed Play Systems.

The company is based in New Jersey, but does most of its business online and through catalogs. To order a catalog, call (800) 398-7565 or log on to Shipping is available in the 48 contiguous United States.

Courtesy of ARA Content Copyright 2002 All rights reserved.

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Swing - N - Slide Pioneer Custom Ready - To - Build Swing Set Kit

The Pioneer Custom Kit is perfect for a small backyard. Purchase kit, choose from 4 swing set design options, purchase lumber and customize with accessories.

Custom kits allow for the best project flexibility and customization.

NOTE: Lumber, slide and accessories sold separately.

Kit Includes Fully Illustrated Plans, (2) Swing Seats, (1) Iron Man Rings, (3 pairs) Swing Hangers, (6) EZ Frame Brackets It's up to you - simply choose your accessories, lumber and nails/screws (sold separately)

Up to 6 children can play-Designed for the Do-It-Yourself family-For Residential Use Only
FREE 2 Day Shipping!
Please Click on the above image for more information about this neat backyard playground set kit!

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Lifetime Geometric Dome Climber Play Center

Lifetime Dome Climber Play Center provides a 10-Foot Radius climbing structure for 3 to 12 year old children.

If you're looking for big toys to keep the kids entertained in your own backyard, check out this awesome big toy from Lifetime--the geometric Dome Climber.

This is a big toy that several kids can enjoy at the same time. Big toys like our Dome Climber help your child to develop strong muscles and coordination.

Our Dome Climber is a fun, geometric design with real rock climbing hand grips.

It is constructed of powder-coated steel to prevent rusting and peeling. Like all of our big toys, the Dome Climber is made from top-quality construction, and built to last--a big toy that will be a backyard attraction for many years.

FREE Shipping with Amazon Prime!
Constructed with 1.5" diameter and 33" lengths of tubing.

Heavy duty construction; weather and rust-resistant powder-coated steel
Strong, interactive design; high-density polyethylene (HDPE) climbing grips
Suitable for children ages 3-12; 1,200 lb. total weight capacity
10 ft. Radius when Assembled; 6 ft. radius safety zone suggested
1-Year Warranty
Please click on the above image for more information about this fun Playground Climber Center!

Lifetime Ace Flyer Airplane Teeter Totter (Primary Colors

The Ace Flyer Play Gym is constructed of powder-coated steel and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic.

No rusting, cracking, or fading. And no splinters! This is a wonderful backyard attraction that will look as good as new long after your children have outgrown it.

Why settle for an ordinary see saw when you can have twice the fun with this exciting double teeter totter airplane?

The Ace Flyer Play Gym can seat up to seven kids to provide up and down, side to side see saw action. Interactive dashboard, spinning wheel, and propeller will make your aspiring young pilots feel like they're really in control.

The Ace Flyer Play Gym will set their imaginations soaring! Feature a double-seat cockpit, two teeter totters, Interactive dashboard, spinning Wheels and propeller, and adjustable heights.
Please click on the above image for more information about this fun Outdoor teeter totter!

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Give them room to roam outdoors and fun places to play and you`ll create backyard memories that will last a lifetime--with the added benefit of getting kids away from their computers and video games.

Like its successful predecessor, Kids` Places to Play, Backyards for Kids is loaded with ideas and how-to instruction for building projects like swing sets and tree houses, with innovative ideas for integrating play areas into the overall landscape design that adults will appreciate as well.

Author Ziba Kashef, who has a young son, was editor in chief of Pregnancy magazine and was also previously on the editorial staff at McCall`s and Parenting magazines.

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More landscaping advice on kid-friendly gardens and plants, as well as plants to avoid A strong focus on promoting physical activities--from basketball and baseball and soccer to skateboarding and trampolines--by creating fun and adventurous outdoor areas that kids will want to choose over electronic entertainment
Please click on the above image for more information about this Backyard Playhouse book!

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