What are the Best Accessories for My Metal Swingset?
With the right accessories, swing sets present many playtime opportunities for adults and children.
The thing is that you cannot just strap on a bunch of random accessories. So creating the right swing set for the intended crowd will take a little more work than that. The good news is that there is a combination of swing set accessories for every age group, and we are going to cover the most popular and fun ones in this blog.
Consider Your Swing Set Needs and Audience
You probably have an intended audience in mind if you are building a swing set. That is, you know who will most likely play on the swing set and what they like to play with.
You might build or buy a swing set for your children. Maybe that swing set is for a neighborhood of children with different interests and playtime preferences.
Brainstorm who is most likely to play on your swing set. What can you see those people enjoying most?
Also, consider your swing set's location. Different terrains might call for various accessories as well as different accessory amounts. For example, you might have more accessories if you anticipate a larger group of people using them since the pool of interests will also be larger.
Types of Swing Set Accessories
This is both the fun and tricky part of planning a swing set. Almost every accessory available today is tons of fun, and you probably already have a few favorites. So, again, decide what your intended group will like best and go with that.
Except, what exactly can you use each accessory for? That is what we will detail below.
Belt swings are among the classic pieces of swing set equipment. If you go to your local park, the odds are that the swings there are of the swing belt variety.
Belt swings usually hang from colorful chains with matching plastic or rubber seats. You can either have the chain and seat be the same color or use different colors for either part.
This type of swing is also popular for their comfort. The chains usually have a strong rubber covering them, and the seats are flexible and wide enough to keep children from slipping backward.
Most often, public playgrounds have belt swings with plain metal chains. On occasion, you might see colored belt swings but not as often as metal ones.
Most swing sets have at least one swing bucket so that younger children can swing alongside older children.
The "bucket" part of the swing helps keep a smaller child, between 2 and 4 years old, in place while they gently swing back and forth. Most often, the bucket comes in one piece, so you can simply place the child inside the swing. Other models allow you to sit the child in the swing before pulling down a front part that you secure in place.
Most bucket swings have a higher back to ensure the child's comfort. They will also usually have plastic or rubber coating to prevent pinching and create a cooler surface for hotter days. Some bucket swings get made with a special UV protective surface to prevent them from getting hot and losing their color as fast.
If you have ever been to a park where the swings are giant plastic chairs hanging from chains, odds are you have seen ADA swings.
These swings help physically disabled children to enjoy playgrounds alongside other children. They allow a child to sit back in the chair and then strap themselves in with a sliding yolk or fabric straps. Luckily, you can still enjoy these swings even if you are not physically disabled, though it is encouraged that they are left free for children with disabilities.
Probably the most common ADA swing is the JennSwing, which looks almost like a reclining chair.
There are even ADA swings that can accommodate entire wheelchairs. These look like giant metal platforms with top rails to keep a wheelchair in place. If you choose to install this type of ADA swing, you will need to install a tarmac or rubber path leading to the swing.
ADA swings are among the most expensive swings available, but they still allow all children to enjoy a playground.
Gliders are one of the most versatile playground swings in terms of how many riders they accommodate and how they swing.
Rider-wise, they can accommodate one or two riders at a time. The swing consists of a two-seat bench that stays parallel to the ground while swinging back and forth on a pole. Or, it can swing in an arc like a regular swing and attach to a chain. The glider bench model usually has riders facing each other, but the most common models have the riders riding back-to-back.
Riders stay secure in the swing by holding onto bars or handles at the top and pressing their feet against bars or handles at the bottom.
A glider seat does not have to be just a bench, though. It can look like a horse, a rocket, anything that a child can ride and swing on. Regular swings can create a sense of imagination by themselves, but gliders can help children pretend to fly or ride a horse.
Similar to all the other swings we have covered so far, you can find glider swings in your favorite colors with plastic or rubber-covered chains for extra comfort.
Trapeze Bar Swings
A quiet trapeze bar swing can come in handy for the gymnasts on your playground. They attach to your swing sets by two chains and usually have two loops that help a child hoist onto the bar.
A child can use a trapeze bar swing to hang upside down from their knees, or they can hoist themselves onto the bar and sit on their bottom.
While you should supervise your children while they swing, be especially careful while your child uses a trapeze bar. They can slip while hanging upside down and suffer head injuries. Placing a playground mat beneath it may provide some peace of mind, but this swing requires care while in use.
Steering Wheels and Telescopes
If your swing set has a series of platforms, or is attached to a treehouse, adding a steering wheel and telescope can encourage their imaginations.
The steering wheel can help turn a playset into a ship or a car, while the telescope can help them look out for other cars and boats in their play world.
Both items come in different colors to match your swing set, or you can mix and match.
Sometimes, kids need a little help hoisting themselves up onto a swing set. Installing handlebars of all colors makes the swing set more attractive and colorful and makes it more accessible.
Rope swings are much freer than gliders or belt swings in that they can swing in any direction as hard as the child swings them.
They often come with a curved plastic disc that a child can sit on while they swing. The disc stays in place with knots secured above and below it, allowing the child to bend the disc as far as they like. Sometimes the rope has colorful attached balls that a child can grip instead of the rope, and they might use the balls to help climb the rope.
Several rope swing models are like extra-large jump ropes, so they are comfortable and sturdy. However, these swings certainly have a weight limit, so continually check your rope swing for wear and tear.
Rope ladders come in varying sizes for any adventurers on your swing set. You can use a single rope ladder that only goes up or down, or you can use a net-like ladder that a child can climb all over.
Like rope swings, rope ladders sometimes have colorful bars or balls that help a child grip the rope better.
It almost does not get any more classic than the tire swing. If you do not want to swing straight back and forth, like a belt swing, you can hold onto the chain of a tire swing and go any way you like.
Most commercial tire swings attach to your swing set by chains that clip to hoops on the tire. You could go the old school route of looping rope around the tire and clipping to a carabiner, but we recommend using industrial-grade items for safety purposes.
Like glider swings, you can ride a tire swing by yourself or ride it with one other person. The tire itself can either sit parallel or perpendicular to the ground, and either position allows you a good range of motion.
While certainly not as common as the other swings on this list, it is a great place to relax.
Saucer swings take up a lot of space on a swing set, so they are probably better suited for a gentle swing or just to sit. They come in different shapes and net densities, so you can pick one for swinging or sitting.
Not every swing set accessory has to literally be a swing. Sometimes installing a simple tic-tac-toe game is the best way to have fun between swings.
Sandboxes are an especially fun thing to add if you have a treehouse in your swing set. The sandbox can go below it to save space, and your kids can play make believe with whatever they create in the sand.
The ground beneath playground swings can see a lot of wear and tear. When kids slow down, they drag their feet through the mulch, grass, or gravel, leaving deep ruts that do not always look attractive. Sometimes those ruts can gather mud or water, and that creates a mess for swinging kids.
Playground mats add an element of protection to your playground. You can place them beneath each swing to prevent ruts from forming and keep water and mud from making the playground look messy and unattractive. They also work great to prevent any serious injury beneath rope swings or trapeze bars.
These mats also make it easier and safer for children to stop the swing. It may sometimes take effort to reach the ground when a rut is too deep. Mats allow children of all sizes to safely put their feet out and stop swinging.
Swing sets make a great foundation for play and make believe, and every accessory we listed here can help with that. You can choose from a plethora of accessory combinations and have as few or as many as you like (as long as it does not overwhelm the swing set foundation).
We hope you have fun planning your swing set and that everyone who tries it out enjoys it a lot.