It’s been a difficult year for our kids. Virtual learning is the new norm, and many playgrounds are closed because of COVID. Our kids are spending more time than ever on their screens. But all kids need to let their energy out. Studies show that playing outside improves children’s focus, sleep, and overall physical and mental health.

Luckily, at-home playsets are here to stay. Forget the park — you can build your very own playset in the backyard. Backyard playsets often come with cool features like slides, climbing attachments, lookouts, swings, and picnic benches. There are varieties for toddlers and older children and sets for a range of budgets. From extensive backyard playsets to simple climbing gyms, we’ve rounded up our favorite home playgrounds.

Make sure you have a gameplan for assembly before purchasing a playset. The playsets below may take anywhere from thirty minutes to twenty hours to install. Some families prefer to round up a few friends and dive right in. Most of these playsets can be installed in a weekend!

If you’re assembling it yourself, we recommend laying out and labeling all the parts beforehand. We promise, it will save you time. Other families may choose to purchase installation from the manufacturer or hire a local handyman.

Before we dive into the best backyard playsets, we’re going to answer a few vital questions.

Can You Put a Playset on Grass?

Can you put a playset on grass?

Kids fall – it’s part of playing, and every child will take a tumble now and then. If no harm is done, that tumble can actually be a learning experience.

Because of this, it’s important that your child has somewhere soft to land. Never, never place a playset on concrete or asphalt. Both are incredibly dangerous.

It’s totally okay to place your playset on grass, since grass is preferable to concrete or asphalt. Nevertheless, constant use can harden the ground under a playset, and hard ground can increase the chances of an injury.

For a softer surface, consider purchasing sand, pea gravel, mulch, or chips. These are all relatively inexpensive. Rubber mats are effective too. The gold standard for playground surfaces, however, is pour-in-place rubber. Although it’s costly, it’s the safest landing place and the easiest to maintain. 

Do You Need to Anchor a Playset?

Do you need to anchor a playset?

Anchoring refers to the process of securing a playset to the ground to prevent tipping. It’s almost always necessary to anchor your playset; if your backyard playset tips over, an injury is likely to happen.

That said, anchoring a playset isn’t difficult. Many playsets include the necessary materials. Anchoring kits are also readily available from manufacturers and at home improvement stores.

Some playsets are even built to be anchor-free. Keep an eye out for these playsets if your yard does not support anchoring.

How Much Space Do You Need Around a Playset?

How much space do you need around a playset?

Generally, it’s advised to create 6 feet of space between the end of the playset and the end of the play area. If you have swings, you want an even greater clearance. To determine the clearance for a swingset, measure from the ground up to the horizontal swing beam, then double that measurement. That should be your clearance for the swingset.

Keep this area clear of obstructions, and make sure the ground is as soft as possible. Mostly importantly, the ground beneath the playset must be level.

Ready to choose your child’s favorite playset? Here are a few of the best backyard playsets for all budgets!

The Best Backyard Playsets for Kids in 2021

Cedar Playground Set with Swings by Backyard Discovery

Cedar wood outdoor playset with swings by Backyard Discovery.

A swingset, a rock climbing wall, a slide, and a climbing net…. What more could adventurous kids need? This playset is made of cedar and measures 11ft high. The chemical-free stain is safe for animals and children. The swingset includes two traditional seats plus a handlebar swing, and the rope above the climbing wall is extra tall for easy climbing.

According to reviewers, this playset is ideal for children between 3 and 6 years old and may be too small for older kids.

Reviewers recommend having a helper for setup. Make sure you inventory all parts before assembly, and be prepared for a 9-14 hour project. One reviewer suggested adding a stain for longevity. Once you’ve installed this playset, however, reviewers report it lasts for years.

Check out the reviews here.

Wooden Roof Playset with Trapeze Handlebars by Gorilla Playsets

Wood outdoor playset for kids by Gorilla Playsets.

Looking for a playset with variations? This set comes in multiple setups. Choose from a two-slide playset, a canopied landing, a wooden roof, or a tube slide. All variations come with a swingset, an alpine wave slide, and a rock climbing wall.

The covered playdeck stands 4ft high, making this set ideal for children between three and eleven years old. Consider coating it with a playground sealant within 90 days of setup for longevity.

“A worthwhile investment!” Parents raved about this playset. They said assembly took anywhere from 6 hours with several helpers to 12 hours with fewer people. Overall, reviewers (and more importantly, their kids) loved this playset. 

To learn more, click here.

Outdoor Climbing Playset for Toddlers by Step2

Outdoor climbing playset for toddlers by Step2.

Not feeling like a 12-hour assembly time? Consider something simpler like this compact set from Step2. With a drill, reviewers reported this took just half an hour to setup.

The playset is compact, with a small slide and a climbing wall. Reviewers said their toddlers loved hiding under the deck (you could also use the same area for storage). Sturdy and easy-to-assemble, this playset is perfect for your toddler.

Love it? Click here to buy now. 

Three-Station Playset with Picnic Table by Gorilla Sets

Wood outdoor playset for kids with deck by GorillaSets.

Bring the entire park to your backyard! Your kids can have a picnic at the table, climb the rock wall, or hide on the play deck.

This 5-star playground offers many options for your kids, and reviewers said that with a little help, it was possible to assemble it yourself. With a 5ft play deck, it’s ideal for kids as old as twelve. 

To see pricing, click here.

Cedar Playset with Double-Glider Swing and Slide

Cedar wood outdoor playset with swings and slide.

Whether you’re buying for your kids or your grandkids, this simple playset will delight them. With a slide, a swingset, and a simple rockwall, it has something for every child.

The swing set includes a unique double-glider swing. Don’t forget to stain the cedar, and have a helper close by ― this playset takes up to 12 hours to assemble.

To learn more, click here.

Lifetime Adventure Tower with Spider Swing

Lifetime Adventure Tower with spider swing outdoor playset for kids.

This playset is playground quality. If you’re concerned about the durability of wooden playsets, opt for this high-quality adventure set. One reviewer said she’d never go back to the cedar sets after installing Lifetime’s products.

The set includes swings, a slide, a rock wall, a trapeze swing and a spider swing. Reviewers note that there’s an app with demonstrations of each assembly step. One customer said it all: “The best child playground ever. I love it, but my kids love it even more!”

Ready to buy? Click here.

Backyard Discovery Steel Swingset with Spider Swing

Basic steel swing set for kids with spider swing.

If you’re looking for a basic starter swing set that holds up well, this is it. It includes two traditional seats and a rope spiderweb swing. Chains are pinch-free and snag-free to keep little fingers safe. Reviewers felt it’s perfect for children up to 7 years old.

If you’re not feeling handy, this set is for you: it’s much easier to assemble than more extensive sets. It includes anchors, so no additional concrete is needed. Nevertheless, reviewers still recommend having a helper around for setup. Customers rave about its durability and sturdiness, so this one’s definitely worth checking out.

Check out this backyard set here.

Playtimes Backyard Playset with Swings and Deck

Made in USA backyard playset with swings by Playtimes.

This made-in-the-USA playset will provide hours of fun. The manufacturer is so confident in the quality that they include a ten-year warranty on all wooden parts (plastic parts include a one-year warranty). In contrast to many cedar playsets, this playground is crafted from American Southern Yellow Pine, which is heavier and sturdier.

Reviewers did note that assembly was extensive, and not all the parts are labeled, so you need to measure each one. Set aside extra assembly time, or take a note of the extra time if you’re hiring a handyman. Nevertheless, the durability and the premium materials are worth the extra assembly time. Your kids will enjoy this set for years.

Join other happy parents by purchasing this set here.

To Sum It Up…

Spring is right around the corner; once the weather turns warm, your kids will want to be outside. Outdoor play reduces stress, improves sleep, and even improves academic performance. If you’re ready to install a backyard playset, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites.

Before purchasing, make sure you have a game plan: are you going to assemble it yourself? Purchase installation? Hire a handyman? Make sure you have enough space, level ground, and a soft surface for the inevitable tumbles.

A playset is an investment, but one that pays off. With a backyard playset, your children will have a safe, healthy outdoor activity for years to come.

Psssst…..Check out Fun Winter Activities to Keep your Kids Busy next!