Description: Again there are a range of products available to suit every garden and every pocket, but what you want for your money is some kind of climbing apparatus, maybe a tunnel or two, a slide and sometimes a swing or a fire-fighter’s pole. In a nutshell, your very own activity park – with the added benefit of not having to share the features with that horrible snotty-nosed six-year old who terrorises your little boy at the public park. Outdoor Play sets are generally made from chunky plastic sections that all fit together very easily. There are still metal and wooden sets available, but they tend to be at the top end of the price bracket.
Pros: If you have got the space, and the cash, your garden gives you another option during the day to stimulate your child and keep their activity levels up as long as the weather is amenable. It’s a given that on the days when children play outside they seem to sleep and sometimes even eat better than when they are cooped up inside. Fresh air simply knackers them out – and that’s a good thing when it comes to bedtime. We’re not all fortunate enough to have a fantastic play park at the end of the road, and if there is a park at all it can sometimes be closed due to vandalism or other nefarious goings-on from the night before. Sometimes it can be a real effort to get to the local swings, especially if they’re not that local, and having an outside play option in your own garden or yard is a blessing both for Dad and for Baby.
Cons: There’s investing in your child and then there’s spoiling him rotten. You can spend hundreds or even thousands on an all-singing, all-dancing model. Just because you would have really liked to have had one when you were a little boy doesn’t necessarily mean that you should throw caution to the wind and laugh in the face of rising credit card debt.
Encouraging your child to climb – maybe before they are ready – can lead to nasty falls and your toddler getting scared, but equally we can’t coddle them stupid. I remember playing for hours on climbing frames and I lived to tell the tale, so it can’t be all that bad.
What’s it all about? Let your child taste the great outdoors as much as possible. Unfortunately they’re not old enough to appreciate the clean air and the birdsong quite yet, but they will enjoy climbing over something that’s bright purple and made of plastic.
Bloke’s Rating: Far better than watching telly.