Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A BOSS Playset? Thank You, Craigslist!

With two wily wee ones, we knew it was time to upgrade our home rope swing "playground" out here. 

So the research began, and yisssssh! Play sets sure are expensive, huh? Most of the new sets we priced ranged between $1200-$3000. Um...

Alternative ideas? Puh-leese!

After about a month of scouring Craigslist for a deal, we were just about to drop $500 on a used set when a family posted that they needed to get rid of their Woodridge Cedar Swing Set with Slide as soon as possible.

And they were giving it away FOR FREE! Patience pays, people.
Note the difference before and after I stained the wood.
My super hub offered $100 to hold the set and went to pick it up the next day. He managed to disassemble and pack the entire load into the back of a full-cab pick-up truck he'd borrowed. 

Because the set was 10-yrs-old, once it was reassembled in our yard, we decided to spiff it up. 
Using wood stain left over from when I'd re-stained our deck last year, I slapped a coat over the playset and got amazing results! Shined 'er up like new!
stain playset
Use wood stain to bring out the natural finish in your wooden playset.
After reading up on creating an ideal environment for a home playset, we ordered mulch to spread around the children's area, cushioning the ground in case of falls.
mulch for swingset
To add some charm and personality, my fella added some adorable chimes that the peanuts can use while they're playing in the lower level. 
And to encourage responsibility we added a broom so that the girls can clean house when they have need—whether to sweep sand back into the sandbox or to remove spiderwebs.
Because the open upper tunnel was a tad too sketchy for our young daredevils, we boarded off the doorway that leads down the rock-climbing wall until the girls are older. Safety is paramount.
What a wonderful asset a playset like this is for children!

I've been marveling at the learning experiences this environment fosters in our girls, from imaginative play, experimenting with physical momentum and balance, to sparking creativity and independence. 
We swapped out one of the two swings for a trapeze bar, and not only are our daughters testing their agility and balance, but ol' ma is out there using her own body weight to build upper body strength in between swing-pushing sessions. Double whammo! :::kisses biceps

A couple of last minute pointers before you start searching Craigslist for a bad boy of your own...

If your set comes with a sandbox, be sure to either purchase or fashion a cover to close off the sand when not in use. Left open, animals will pop over in the evenings to share your sweeties' space—in the grossest way. Close up shop to keep your sandbox from becoming a litter box. 
Give serious consideration to the placement of your playset before you erect it. We chose a shaded spot for the majority of the set, but arranged it so that the slide was NOT under a tree—to prevent bird droppings on that exposed section. This is working out well, but the sun makes that slide hot in the summertime. Really think about the ideal location on your property.

And, most importantly, keep a close eye on those kiddos. If very young, stand in close proximity to your children at all times. While developing their balance and dexterity, falls are bound to happen, so always be ready to play safety net when excited children are at play.

Happy hunting, friends!

There's a playset out there that needs a new home, and with a little time and patience, you can seriously score by searching the used sets in your area.

Your peanuts will thank you for it!
XOXOX From My Hearth to Yours

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