Climbing frame buying guide

Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

84 guides
Children's climbing frames provide a range of outdoor activities. From inflatable games to trampolines and slides, they are the ideal solution for keeping your kids in the garden! Designed to develop imagination and motor skills, and to help burn off energy, climbing frames are suitable for children of all ages.

Important features

  • Age limits
  • Placement
  • Parts
  • Materials
  • Care
  • Installation

Climbing frames for outdoor use

Whether set up in a garden
or on a large terrace, climbing frames shouldn't take up all your available space. In fact, we recommend leaving a clearance of around 1.5 to 2 metres to allow easy movement around your playhouse or other equipment.

To limit the potential for accidents, big or small, the ground surface must be level and should ideally be covered with grass or a shock-absorbent mat (impact absorbing floor covering) just like in public playgrounds.

Installed far from any corners and away from walls or ledges, the best location for a children's play area is in a well-cleared and preferably sunny spot. If it can be seen from the house, even better!

Choosing the right age range for your equipment

Children's outdoor play equipment comes in two main age categories:
  • Children aged under 3
  • Children aged from 3 to 10 (or even a little older)
Under the age of 36 months, children must be seated in safety seats equipped with a belt or strap. This means that babies can start enjoying the swing from the age of 6 months.

As soon as your children are able to sit up themselves (at around 9-10 months of age) you can also consider setting up a sandpit.

The size of parts will vary depending on age. You can opt for higher equipment (up to 2.5 metres) or more complex elements to increase the range of potential activities.

Which activities do your children or grandchildren enjoy?

Children's climbing frames can incorporate a multitude of different layouts and possibilities. The distinction is often made between
sets designed for sport activity and sets for imaginative play. If you want play equipment for younger children, consider the following apparatus:
When setting up a climbing frame in your outdoor space, you can opt for a ready-made model consisting of various pieces of play equipment or create it by purchasing items separately (e.g. a swing set, trampoline, and a sandpit).

If you have a bigger budget, choose a product with a special theme (pirate, castle, savannah, etc.) and let your little ones' imaginations run wild! Want to treat your children? Ask them what they like best!

Choosing a material for your play equipment

No matter your budget, you will probably want to know which materials
last the longest outdoors.

Most children's toys come in plastic, wood or metal. When it comes to outdoor play, most equipment is made from wood or metal, with wood most commonly used for seats, handles or playhouses. Plastic is better suited to young children (mini slidesplayhouses, sandpits).

The important thing is to check that the plastic has been given an anti-UV treatment (to guarantee colour fastness over time) and that it meets fire-resistant standards. Please note:
  • F1: flame retardant
  • F2: fire resistant
For equipment made from wood, anti-pest and mould treatments are systematically applied during production. The structure must be treated on a regular basis to ensure that the wood is in good condition and can guarantee the safety of your children. Use the right wood product based on the wood species and the treatment already applied.

Play areas and safety: standards and supervision

First of all, make sure that the equipment you choose meets the appropriate
BS safety standards. For inflatables, the BS standard must be noted on the product. This should also be the case for all other garden toys and outdoor play equipment.

When the equipment is in use, it's important to take note of the following points:
  • Children must wear the correct shoes for the equipment
  • Ensure the surfaces are not burning hot in extreme temperatures
  • Make sure clothing does not pose any risks (laces and hoods that may get stuck, etc.)
For toddlers, home climbing frames must only be used in the presence of an adult. Play must be supervised – even remotely –  to ensure you can intervene in the event of any problems.

Remember that fear does not prevent danger. To keep things safe, supervise your children during their adventures in the garden or on the patio!

No matter if they are 2, 5 or 7 years old, every child loves playing outdoors. Whether you go for a trampoline swing or playhouse, give your children a little corner of paradise all to themselves. Now it's time to find and set up an amazing outdoor playset!

More information

For more information on playsets and other outdoor play equipment, follow these related guides for helpful tips:

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Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds 84 guides écrits

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

I'm a dog trainer by profession, but every weekend I put the whistle down and pick up a tool. The trainer mindset is not so easy to set aside - whether with four-legged or two-legged friends, I love giving advice!

I've been a huge DIY enthusiast for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a house where the whir of the sander was the soundtrack to my weekends - not very relaxing, but always satisfying! DIY challenges our brains as well as our brawn. I've worked hard to teach myself the basics of DIY, decorating and customising furniture. That said, I love what I do. DIY is a way of life, and the tools you learn aren't just the ones you can hold in your hands.

I'm as passionate about animals as I am about DIY, and it's my goal to pass that passion on to others. I know that for some, understanding animal behaviour is as much of a puzzle as figuring out which tool is best for the job. That's why I offer guidance to pet owners specifically - because home is where the heart is for humans and animals alike!

So now that I've introduced myself, it's time to do some DIY - dog or cat sidekick optional!

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