15 best garden playground equipment rated for every age

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  August 31

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Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Climbing and clambering is great, especially in your own garden! Children lose their energy and it is also SUPER healthy!

But…

How do you choose one:

  1. that is appropriate for your child's age
  2. which is safe and stable
  3. with which your child can do many different things
  4. that also fits in your garden (or maybe even a larger nursery inside)?

That's why I have the 15 best playground equipment for your home that will DEFINITELY get your child excited!

Child is a bit too enthusiastic about a playground

Okay, this might be a bit too enthusiastic ...

But a playground that can be used for various activities will certainly keep them busy for a long time. That's why this Wickey Smart Action climbing tower came out on top in the test. Kids can climb, hang, spin and even play basketball so they always have something to keep them occupied.

These are the best playground equipment that offers a perfect play experience for every situation:

PlaysetImages
Overall best playground equipment for the garden: Wickey Smart Action Climbing TowerBest playground equipment for the garden: Wickey Smart Action Climbing Tower

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Best climbing frame with slide: SwingKing play tower IrmaBest play equipment with slide - SwingKing play tower Irma

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Best wooden climbing frame: AXI Beach Tower Play TowerBest wooden climbing frame: AXI Beach Tower Play Tower

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Best playground equipment for a small garden: Wickey Tiny SpotBest playground equipment for a small garden: Wickey TinySpot

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Best playground equipment for your toddler: Little Tikes Expedition ClimberLittle Tikes Expedition Climber

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Best indoor playground equipment: Step2 Toddler Corner HouseBest indoor playground equipment: Step2 Toddler Corner House

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Best plastic climbing frame: Alice's Garden Swing setBest Plastic Playset - Alice's Garden Swing Set
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Best Play Tunnel: Little Tikes Climb&HideBest play tunnel: Little Tikes Climb & Hide

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Best play equipment swing: Wickey Smart RushBest play equipment swing: Wickey Smart Rush

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Best toy device for your baby: AXI Baby swingBest Outdoor Baby Swing: AXI

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Best Playhouse: Backyard Discovery TimberlakeBest Playhouse- Backyard Discovery Timberlake
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Best compact climbing frame: Step2 WonderballBest compact playground equipment: Step2 Wonderball(view more images)
Best playground equipment with sandbox: Jungle Gym FarmBest playground equipment with sandbox: Jungle Gym Farm

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Best playset ship: KidKraft Pirate BoatKidkraft Wooden Pirate Ship Sandbox Boat
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Best Playground Train: Jungle Gym Train ModuleBest playground train: Jungle Gym Train Module

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The playground equipment buying guide

Ok, now that you've seen all the options, it's time to see how to choose one.

The most important is: what does your child like?

You'll know that soon enough.

What is the age of your child? Do you have one or more children, how old are they?

Then you have to see how much space you have, because a good playground equipment can quickly take up quite a bit of space in your garden, and you also want to be able to have a drink in your garden chair (**and I also want to be able to have a bite to eat at the garden table actually**).

How much space does a playground equipment take up, or how much space do I have left to place the device?

Should I go for wood, plastic or metal? Wood and plastic do not rust, wood is not maintenance-free, metal could rust, plastic is often less attractive.

Playground for children of different ages

Children in that age category need more challenge, they work on their agility and are very energetic; their movements are already fluid and confident.

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Toy reviews & comparisons

They also like to have a clubhouse or a cabin where they can chill out with friends.

You can of course consider purchasing a somewhat larger playground equipment with space for activities for small and large kids.

You then place a 'baby' swing for your child and, for example, a tire swing for the older children.

You can place a slide and sandpit on one side for your little one and on the other side you can place the monkey bars and climbing walls for your older child.

You can also start with just a simple basics and add or exchange play accessories over the years.

You let the device grow with your family and expand it a bit more!

Best playground equipment rated

Overall best playground equipment for the garden: Wickey Smart Action Climbing Tower

Best playground equipment for the garden: Wickey Smart Action Climbing Tower

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Dimensions: 220 x 250 x 105 cm

Oh wow! A basketball board and a climbing frame? Which kid wouldn't want this?!?

That is why it is at the top of my list, but also because of the VERY solid construction of the Wickey playground equipment.

This WICKEY Climbing Tower is a beautiful solid wooden device from the Wickey Smart Series. The wood is impregnated and different arrangements are possible!

I would recommend making 3 by 3 meters of leeway for this climbing frame in each case, as you also want some "leeway" to jump off or run up.

Because that's what children do with playground equipment ...

Here's how to set up such a monster:

The device has, among other things, a rope ladder, climbing stones, a climbing ladder and wall and a horizontal bar.

There is also a window with a nice awning above, so that your little 'shop' can play with his or her friends.

The playground equipment must be anchored in concrete so know what you are buying, but there is an extensive installation manual in the package plus all necessary screws.

Can you already see him in your garden?

5 stars for this unit. A satisfied buyer writes 'hours of fun, just stood and they were already in it'

+Endless fun
+Nice design
+Good quality

The versatility of this playground equipment is enormous, and great for the development of gross motor skills.

However, if you are looking for something specifically for fine motor development for a younger child, you should go for something like the Step2 Wonderball (see below).

Features

Activities: about 2 per 1

View it here at bol.com

Best climbing frame with slide: SwingKing play tower Irma

Best play equipment with slide - SwingKing play tower Irma

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Dimensions: 190 x 66 x 125 cm

A lot smaller than the Wickey Smart Action climbing tower above, but with a slide, is the SwingKing Irma.

You also get a climbing wall here, but with fewer other accessories in a more compact format.

You need a little less space for this one, but still a good 2 by 1 meter to climb on and slide down again.

The SwingKing play tower is a play castle in your own garden for your child!

The play tower is made of impregnated FSC wood and can be expanded with other accessories such as a telephone or binoculars!

The use of square wood minimizes the risk of surface cracks. A beautiful castle for your little knight!

SwingKing is known for its… yes, swings – swings – but has since become a playground brand that keeps everything close to nature with beautiful and sturdy wood.

Do you want one of the safest and robust wooden sets in your garden with a slide? Then there is nothing better than the SwingKing!

Features

Activities: 2 per

Check prices and availability here

Read also: rated the best slides for your home

Best wooden climbing frame: AXI Beach Tower Play Tower

Best wooden climbing frame: AXI Beach Tower Play Tower

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Dimensions: 349 cm x 111 cm x 117 cm

AXI makes its playground equipment from great quality FSC certified wood, which is reflected in the sturdy construction…and the price tag.

It is another wooden playground with a slide, but this one is really big for your garden, with many more options, but also takes up more of your garden.

If you're going purely for a slide, I'd go for Irma, but with this sturdy wooden frame (most swings use a metal frame that bends a little more) this is the best complete device you can get.

This great climbing frame climbing frame is just like a real beach house! Climb and slide to your heart's content for your kids.

And that's exactly what they like to do! Via the stairs they can climb into the tower and then they simply slide back down.

There is a sandbox under the play tower, where your child can romp around with a bucket and shovel! Or does your child prefer to swing like a monkey on the swing?

The combination of the white with gray wood gives this play tower a 'beachy' appearance, it will definitely decorate any garden!

You could also consider expanding the tower with, for example, a rock climbing wall and climbing frame.

The sturdy FSC Hemlock wood comes from sustainably managed forests. The wood does not splinter and is perfectly resistant to all weather conditions.

The 'Prefab' panels make installation very easy! These panels have already been treated with an environmentally friendly water-based stain, which is handy!

Features

Activities: 2 per

View it here at bol.com

A satisfied 5 star customer writes 'Nice playground equipment that the children have a lot of fun with. Now that they are at home a lot, they can play and swing and even we can go on the swing'.

Best playground equipment for a small garden: Wickey TinySpot

Best playground equipment for a small garden: Wickey TinySpot

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Dimensions: 235 x 65 x 220 cm

A lot smaller than the AXI Beach Tower Play tower, yet very beautiful and compact, it TinySpot playground equipment for your garden, with blue slide!

Perfect if your garden is not that big, but you still want to place a nice device for your child.

It includes a large blue wave slide and to get there your little one climbs up the sloping ladder. There is a small but fine sandpit under the slide.

The roof of the house, made of tarpaulin, is bright blue, just like the slide! The sail has to be cut to size, so use your own imagination; You may want scalloped edges on the roof!

You can find different patterns in the extensive installation guide of the playground equipment.

Features

Activities: 2 per

Check the most current prices and availability here

Best climbing frame for your toddler: Little Tikes Expedition Climber

Photo of children in the garden on the Little Tikes Expedition Climber playset

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Dimensions: 343 x 180 x 125 cm

The Little Tikes Expedition Climber - Climbing Frame has a real drawbridge, slide and a super tunnel to crawl through. Your child will love the Expedition Climber and have a great time!

Here Wendy shows you what you can do with it:

The playground equipment is suitable for both indoors (if you have the space!) and outdoors; That means fun for your toddler or toddler all year round! The playground equipment is suitable for children from the age of two.

Features

Activities: 1 per

View it here at bol.com

Lots of 5 star customer comments including 'Easy to set up and not too big. Our daughter has been playing with it for hours, so perfect!'

and 'Very cool climbing frame. My 2 year old son loves it. It's also nicely compact.

Putting it together is quite a few screws, but fairly easy. This has to be done with 2 people.

However, a dissatisfied customer finds the device 'difficult to set up and not for 2 year olds'. She writes:

'It's a nice picture, but it's almost impossible to put together because you have to drill in plastic where it's not indicated.

Took a long time to read the manual properly. This is not suitable for 2 year olds.

They can't hold on to anything at the slide to sit down. Then they are launched once they slide. A big disappointment.'

Best indoor playground equipment: Step2 Toddler Corner House

Photo collage of children playing with the Step2 indoor playground equipment

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Dimensions: 83 x 80 x 106 cm

A nice indoor playground? That too is possible! The Step2 Toddler Corner House is an open playhouse that fits perfectly into the playroom, in every corner of the room.

Little ones can enter the playhouse through the garden gate. The cottage offers lots of fun activities; Among other things, a 'wall maze' where your child can throw large play balls, which then end up in the sink.

Here you can see a little bit how big it is:

There are three rotating gears on the gate to improve fine motor skills. This playhouse is sure to bring lots of fun for all toddlers!

This playhouse is also for the very little ones, but something completely different from the Little Tikes Expedition Climber above; The house takes up only a small space and is only aimed at fine motor development.

Features

Activities: 7 per

Check the latest prices here

This customer writes:

I recommend this product - Endless fun - Nice design - Good quality - Easy to assemble is a plus. Nice sturdy playhouse that you still have to assemble yourself. Once that's done, it's a very nice house.

Best Plastic Playset: Alice's Garden Swing Set

Best Plastic Playset - Alice's Garden Swing Set

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Dimensions: 272 x 158 x 197 cm

This brightly colored playground equipment is suitable for children from 3 years.

Unlike the other devices in my top 15, which are made of wood and/or plastic, this device has a metal frame with plastic swings.

It is made of good quality metal, highly recommended if you do not want maintenance!

With its two 'normal' swings for toddlers and older, and the seesaw swing or double swing that toddlers can use, this device is suitable for different ages.

Apparently he's a bit underwhelmed.

A customer writes:

Easy to set up, good quality, but too small. Due to its height, not a toy up to 12 years, but more up to 5 years, it is small

Features

Activities: 1 per 2

Here it is for sale at Bol.com

Best Play Tunnel: Little Tikes Climb & Hide

Best play tunnel: Little Tikes Climb & Hide

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Dimensions: 152 x 152 x 90 cm

The multicolored Little Tikes Climb & Hide is shaped like an igloo! Your child can climb on the playground equipment and hide in it.

It is of course a very different idea than it Backyard Discovery Timberlake house (see below), which may last a little longer, but hey, it's ideal to let the little ones move in a safe way!

It is a wonderful place to be alone and read a book. It has an exciting tunnel that your little one can crawl through.

Here you can see how your child can play with it:

Suitable for indoor and outdoor use and designed for smaller kids.

Features

Activities: 2 per

Check the current prices here

Best play equipment swing: Wickey Smart Rush

Best play equipment swing: Wickey Smart Rush

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Dimensions: 240 x 260 x 215 cm

Several kids can have fun at the same time on this cool nest swing, the WICKEY Swing & Playset Smart Rush!

This swing naturally grows with you, and that is with the AXI Baby swing below not really the case. The Axi is safer for the very little ones.

The swing can carry up to 100 kilos and is suitable for children from three years. This blue nest swing hangs in a solid wooden frame. A top swing for your garden!

Features

Activities: 1 per 6

View it here at bol.com

Best toy for your baby: AXI Baby Swing

Best Outdoor Baby Swing: AXI

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Dimensions: 120 x 134 x 103 cm

A lovely and solid swing, the AXI Baby Swing Brown with seat for your baby, toddler or toddler! A perfect way to introduce your little one to outdoor swinging.

Learning to swing is a great experience for your child. He or she thus develops balance, coordination and muscle strength.

The AXI Baby Swing has a comfy baby swing seat with a high back for safety and a T-bar with a safety belt. Your child can use it from nine months to about three years.

The low frame is built in strong and durable FSC 100% Hemlock wood. The kit comes with four ground anchors for extra stability and safety. A must for your baby or toddler.

Features

Activities: 1 per 1.5

Check prices and availability here

A customer from Belgium writes:

5 stars; only positive: right size, easy to set up and good quality

It is also the nicest outdoor baby swing in our full article on baby swings

Best Playhouse: Backyard Discovery Timberlake

Best Playhouse- Backyard Discovery Timberlake

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Dimensions: 117 x 107 x 140 cm

Make your own garden a cozy place for your children!

This warm, wooden playhouse has wide windows and a half front door.

The entrance is decorated with flower pot holders (pimp the house with colorful flowers) and there is a cute snack window for serving snacks and drinks.

Inside there is also a kitchen with a sink, tap and hob.

What's so nice about this basic house is that you can decorate it completely in your own style. You can stain or paint it in a beautiful color, decorate it with garlands, curtains, and flowers in pots on the porch!

You could also make it a themed cottage for your child.

The house comes as a kit and some holes are pre-drilled, others have to be drilled during assembly.

Check the latest prices here

In addition to all 5 star reviews, there is one customer who gives 4 stars:

Very nice house with large windows and built-in kitchen and telephone. The flower boxes complete it. Easy to assemble, but made of soft wood. Fits nicely in the garden and is definitely not as ugly as a plastic garden shed. The kids are very happy with it!

Features

Activities: about 3 per 1.5

View even more playhouses in our review here

Best compact playground equipment: Step2 Wonderball

Best compact playground equipment: Step2 Wonderball

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Dimensions: 84 x 91 x 107cm

This colorful house from Step2 Four 'Wonderball' is great fun for your toddler or toddler!

It is small in size and suitable for your children from 2 years, but has plenty of nice details.

Ball games all over the place! Great for developing fine motor skills and lots of fun!

Here's an unboxing of the playhouse and little Michael loving it:

The 'Wonderball' house is made of plastic and easy to clean. It can stand both outside and inside.

An enthusiastic grandfather writes:

Our grandson does not get tired of this house. He gets in and out quickly and always closes the door behind him with visible pleasure. There are plenty of ways to drop the balls or make them disappear through holes to resurface elsewhere. The mailbox is also a hit. The cover is constantly opening and closing! We put a play mat under the house so that it does not have to sit on the floor and our laminate does not get damaged. Expensive but sturdy. A good purchase.

Features

Activities: 7 per

Check the latest prices here

Best playground equipment with sandbox: Jungle Gym Farm

Best playground equipment with sandbox: Jungle Gym Farm

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Dimensions: 330 x 150 x 310 cm

Love this Jungle Farm Blue! This is a really nicely designed wooden playset, suitable for children between the ages of three and ten.

This stylish, sleek model has a climbing wall with climbing stones, a slanting ladder and a sandbox. An undulating, blue slide is also included.

A maximum of twelve children can use the playground equipment at the same time; It has two playing platforms. A challenge for all adventurous kids and above all endless fun!

Here you can see what's included:

This climbing frame is made of solid Northern European pine that comes from sustainably managed forests.

The device has been extensively tested to meet all Dutch safety standards. A winner for every garden!

Features

Activities: 1 per 1

Check the latest prices here

Best playset ship: Kidkraft Sandbox Boat

Kidkraft Wooden Pirate Ship Sandbox Boat

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Dimensions: 200 x 113 x 151 cm

Ship Ahoy! Sandbox Ship Boat (also reviewed more here) Playground in sight!

Does your child love pirates or maybe just love boats? Then this sandbox in the shape of a ship is the ultimate gift for him or her!

This boat has spacious seats and a bright red steering wheel. Also the flag and the lifebuoy are not missing.

Little ones who like sand or boats may prefer to play in this covered boat than in a 'normal' wooden playhouse!

Under the bench is a small storage space, where your child can store sand molds and toys.

The boat sandbox is easy to assemble and comes with a handy groundsheet. Just add some sand and the fun can begin.

It is covered, so if it doesn't rain too hard, your child will be dry. Truly a beautiful design, it will surely become the eye-catcher in your garden!

Features

Activities: 1 per 1

Check the latest prices here

Best playground train: Jungle Gym Train Module

Best playground train: Jungle Gym Train Module

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Dimensions: 195 x 85 x 265 cm

Unlike the complete Jungle Gym Farm this is just an add-on module.

But it is unique, this Jungle Gym Train Module! Build this cool train module on your wooden Jungle Gym playhouse!

Your child can climb up the climbing wall, crawl through the tunnel of the locomotive or relax at the bottom of the Jungle Train. There are handles on the tunnel to pull yourself up.

It's like taking your little one on a beautiful train journey! He or she can also play the role of train driver or conductor.

The train stands on six red wheels, has a steering wheel and a chalkboard on board and turns your little one's wooden playhouse into an even greater adventure!

Unfortunately, this module cannot be used alone and must be added to a basic tower of Jungle Gym.

Features

Activities: 2 per 1

View this module here

Why buy a toy device?

Do you still have doubts about the purchase of a playground equipment or a swing set?

We would like to give you a number of reasons why a playground, preferably made of solid and durable European wood, should not be missing in the garden.

Better school performance

We all know that playing, especially playing outside, is good for your child's health.

It has even been shown that children who play a lot outside have better school performance; I am talking about writing, arithmetic, critical thinking and listening.

Their ability to concentrate is also much better after playing outside.

Physical Benefits

Playing a lot makes your little one super smart and super healthy and we haven't even talked about the physical benefits:

It improves the agility, balance and muscle development of your child.

As a result of all these efforts, your little one will naturally get tired physically and mentally, it won't be difficult to get to bed on time and go to sleep right away!

The fact that kids nowadays sit still for long periods of time, such as in class at school or at home at the computer or on their PlayStation, makes playing and exercising outside even more important.

A play set stimulates the imagination

Children learn to use their imagination and creativity on a playground. They suddenly find themselves in a fairytale castle, a pirate boat or, why not, a restaurant!

They can replay all imaginable roles and fully immerse themselves in the role in question. This is very good for them, they can process important emotions in this way.

Every day they are exposed to new experiences and these must be given a place.

Children also learn to make better assessments through climbing. Their confidence will increase and they will be flexible and fit; They will of course feel good about themselves!

With a play set at your home or in the garden you can also keep a nice eye on your child! The children from the class or the neighborhood children will probably enjoy playing!

This is how the kids learn to work together, they will also compete with each other, they learn how to fall and get up again!

And isn't that what our lives are all about?

Health and playing outside

Did you know that children who get enough exercise are much less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis later on?

A recent study has shown that one in three children in the Netherlands is deficient in vitamin D, the result of this is a weak immune system and less strong bones.

It is therefore good and very important to let your child play outside in the sun a lot. That is why an outdoor playground is of course ideal!

What if it rains?

When kids are having fun playing outside they are often not bothered by the rain. It mainly depends on how we, parents, deal with it.

Are we grumbling and complaining about the wet clothes and dirty shoes? Yes, then you probably reduce your child's playing pleasure.

Do not always mention the rain, your child will also realize that it is wet outside.

Rather give your child a nice warm sweater, a rain suit and wellies; This way he or she can easily play outside for an hour, in the rain!

Did you know that your child can slide down the slide even faster with rain pants? Every disadvantage has it's advantage!

Away from the PC

The new technology has undoubtedly brought a lot of advantages. However, too much time on the computer, mobile phone, tablet of SmartWatch is not recommended by doctors.

They advise to keep a maximum of two hours for watching a screen outside school hours.

The best material to place around a playground equipment

It is recommended to use rubber mats, wood chips or sand as child-friendly surface in the garden around the playground equipment and under the swing or slide, so that a fall does not cause too much damage.

Normally, the layer of wood chips or sand should be topped up at least once a year.

If the playground equipment is used a lot, it may be necessary to replenish wood fibers every six months.

A playground equipment can also be placed on grass, only then the wood that comes into contact with the, often wet, grass must be properly treated with stain before it is placed.

Playground equipment then and now

Playground equipment used to be made only by playground equipment manufacturers. The devices were only available in wood or metal, there was no more choice.

The safety of these devices was also not immediately to write home about. If you wanted something original, you had to design and build it yourself.

In the last twenty years, however, the playground equipment and the market have undergone enormous changes.

Many devices are still supplied by manufacturers, but many are also made by gardeners and green companies.

They are placed by them or delivered as a do-it-yourself kit. The range of playground equipment has grown strongly and there are now equipment in wood, metal, aluminum and plastic.

The number of experts involved in the design and production of the playground equipment has increased significantly.

In the past, the experts could be counted on one hand, but now there is a large group of professionals who work daily with the design, materials and safety of the devices.

Jungle Gym Farm vs Wickey Smart Action Climbing Tower

These two devices are both suitable for children in the same age category. They can last a long time, certainly from 3 to 10 years.

The price difference between the Jungle Gym Farm and the Wickey Smart Action Climbing Tower is quite large. But is the much more expensive Jungle Gym worth the money? The points of attention:

Conclusion

You have seen that there is a lot of choice in playground equipment. Some brands even offer you the choice to assemble your device from scratch.

The possibilities are endless; There are small and large playground equipment, with or without swings or slide, with a shop, house or a climbing wall.

You can also sometimes opt for an extension module. You can then gradually expand the device and thus spread the expenses.

A solid device lasts a very long time and most devices are suitable for children in different age categories.

Your children will love a playground and will spend many hours in it. That means that you have your hands more free, which is also very nice!

Our playground equipment is in front of the kitchen window (in the backyard). I can cook quietly and keep an overview at the same time.

Last but not least; playground equipment always retains a good resale value!

Good luck making your choice!

Read also: this is the best outdoor toy for the garden

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child, he came into contact with everything around games when his mother started the Tin Soldier in Ede. Since 2016, he and his team have been creating helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.