Outdoor playsets are a great way to encourage kids to play while getting some fresh air. A playset will give our children the chance to be active and creative.
They can have tons of adventures and play along with their siblings or friends in their own backyard.
Moreover, we won’t have to spend hours searching for a good park or finding a playdate for our kids. They can enjoy themselves while we keep an eye out for them from the comfort of our own home.
But there are so many jungle gyms on the market right now! How can you possibly pick just one?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve gathered a list of the 10 best jungle gyms and playsets of 2020.
Best Jungle Gyms and Playsets
Now let’s dive into the 10 best jungle gyms and playsets of 2020. We’ll describe each product and tell you what age it’s intended for, then present its pros and cons.
This playset may not be big, but it’s full of play options, and toddlers can enjoy it in many ways.
First of all, it has a climbing ladder with textured steps for easier climbing. Also, on the opposite side, it has a slide, two soccer goals, and a retractable basketball hoop.
Basically, it’s everything your child might need in order to play outside, and more.
The Step 2 Game Sports Climber comes in pieces and requires assembly. However, it’s very easy to do so, as there are only a few large pieces, and they’re all made from plastic. They all clip-in together perfectly; there’s no need to get your power tools out.
As we said, this playset is made from plastic, but that doesn’t make it any less sturdy. As long as it’s under 60 lbs, this sports climber can withstand anything.
Besides, the plastic structure makes it very lightweight, so it can be moved around even if it’s already assembled.
This jungle gym is suitable for 2–6-year-olds, and since it’s 47 inches tall, it meets the universal height requirement.
This playset from Step 2 works amazingly well for toddlers. It can keep them entertained for hours! Still, older kids will have to skip out on this one, unfortunately.
What We Like:
The Step 2 Sports-Tastic Activity Center provides lots of different forms of entertainment for your toddler. It best suits children above 1 year of age.
For starters, it has colorful steps and a mini-slide, a staple of kids’ jungle gyms around the world. Not to worry, the steps and slide are slip-resistant and do not pose any danger to your child.
Additionally, there are multiple games your child can play. Firstly, there’s an included soccer ball and goal, as well as a basketball with a hoop. It’s a great way to introduce your kid to sports.
However, if your toddler grows bored with playing soccer and basketball, it will love the additional baseball kit.
Inside the Activity Center, you will find a tethered baseball and an oversized baseball bat. Your kid won’t grow bored of them anytime soon. In addition, there’s enough storage space for all the toys inside the Activity Center itself, which is great for saving space.
The Step 2 Sports-Tastic Activity Center is great for introducing your kid to jungle gyms. However, your own child will quickly outgrow it.
On the other hand, the included balls and toys make for great fun while improving your kid’s coordination.
What We Like:
The excellent Little Tikes Tree House Swing Set is an outdoor jungle gym recommended for children from 3, all the way up to 8 years old. And honestly, even adults find it cool.
The jungle gym is shaped like a tree with a climbable canopy, with hand- and footholds molded into the polycarbonate shell. This playset is extremely durable and can withstand quite a bit of abuse.
Additionally, there are two swings, as well as a set of stairs leading to a slide. Older kids will probably want to skip using the stairs and opt for the climbing nubs that have been thoughtfully molded into the “Tree Trunk”.
It can easily withstand at least three or four kids at a time. On the other hand, it provides enough fun for a kid to play around all by itself.
By now, you’re probably thinking that the gym costs an arm and a leg, so to speak. Fortunately for you, it doesn’t. The Little Tikes Tree House Swing Set costs way less than some of the premium models, and it easily outshines other jungle gyms in its price range.
In general, the Little Tikes Tree House Swing Set is one of the most versatile and cost-effective jungle gyms currently available. It offers a lot of fun new play options, it’s easy to construct, and it’s also quite sturdy.
One thing to take into consideration is that, because the playset is so tall, and includes swings – you will need to spend some time anchoring it securely to the ground for your kid’s safety. This also means that the Tree House Swing Set CAN NOT be easily moved like some of the other playsets on the list.
What We Like:
The Clubhouse Climber is a great addition to any backyard. It is easy to assemble, and there are many features our little ones can take advantage of.
The playset has windows, a bridge, a tunnel, and a rotating steering wheel. They can use the Clubhouse Climber to crawl, slide, climb, play hide and seek, and so much more.
The Clubhouse Climber has non-slip steps and sturdy handrails for a happy, bruise-free experience. It is made entirely out of thick plastic which is kid-friendly, and it can stand the weight of up to 240 lbs. The entire playset weighs only 100 lbs. Furthermore, it’s only 70 inches tall, which means we can also put it indoors.
However, keep in mind that the playset is a bit difficult to assemble. The instructions are a bit unclear, and it might take a few hours to put it together.
However, even with the poor instructions, the Clubhouse Climber is one of the best outdoor playsets for kids— it will give them countless hours of fun.
We would recommend this amazing playset to all the parents who have kids between the ages of one and four.
What We Like:
There’s nothing like having a nice barbecue in the backyard on a hot summer day. With the Canopy Playground, the kiddos will be able to throw their own grill parties in the backyard.
The Canopy Playground features a patio grill set and a snack table. Perfect for all of the chefs in the making.
The playset also includes a sand and water play area. With this feature, we can bring the beach to our own backyard. Moreover, it has a water tower and a water wheel, making it the perfect addition for all of those long summer days.
Another amazing feature of the Canopy Playground is that the patio is accessible from both sides. Having this kind of accessibility means our kids could invite their friends or play with their siblings. The playset only weighs 40 lbs, which means we can easily move or store it anywhere.
We believe the Canopy Playground is one of the best outdoor playsets for kids from the ages of two to eight. It’s easy to assemble and provides an endless source of fun.
What We Like:
We can’t talk about the best outdoor playsets for kids and not mention the Step2 Skyward Summit climber. It is the perfect playset for all kids who love climbing and playing games like capture the flag.
The Skyward Summit Playground features two cargo nets and junior hand grips. The cargo nets help our adventurers start climbing, and the handgrips will help them reach the top.
Additionally, the Skyward Summit Playground has a climber platform and an open-air climber peak. Your kids can soak up the amazing views from the platform or race to the top to see who’s the ultimate climber.
I love the stock gray color as it looks more like a magical mountain, but if your kids are color crazy Step 2 also makes s bright fun multi-colored model that costs a bit more.
This awesome playset has four unique climbing surfaces, which are great features for kids to play with their siblings or friends.
The playset weighs 140 lbs, and it is made out of a sturdy plastic material. It can stand weight up to 320 lbs and takes a few hours to assemble.
The Skyward Summit is great for all children from the ages of two to eight. Although, it is a bit high so young kids should definitely be supervised while scaling this one.
We would definitely recommend it as one of the best outdoor playsets for kids that will last a long time and provide countless hours of fun.
What We Like:
Get ready to set sail on a new adventure with the Pirate Play Boat. This playset will provide an immersive experience for all scallywags and rapscallions. It has a deck, a cabin, and a helm.
Furthermore, it has a ton of additional nautical details, such as a pirate flag, a moveable ship’s wheel, and a parrot that will be the perfect matey.
The Pirate Play Boat has bright colors, and the design is fade and weather-resistant. It’s the perfect addition to any backyard, playground, or childcare center.
It can be assembled in 30 minutes, and since it weighs only 37 lbs, it is easy to move and store almost anywhere.
Now, let’s talk about safety. The Pirate Play Boat playset is made out of plastic and has round edges so you won’t have to worry about cuts and bruises.
Moreover, this playset has a Gold Greenguard certificate. The certification means the playset was made from non-toxic chemical ingredients, and it doesn’t emit any chemicals into the air.
The Pirate Boat is spacious and offers enough room for multiple kids to play. We would recommend it for kids from the ages of two to six.
What We Like:
The Step2 climber is an incredible backyard playset, It’s an excellent choice for toddlers that love to climb and play.
With a maximum weight limit of 240 lbs. (108.9 kg), this awesome playset is strong enough to safely support 3-4 kids at a time.
There are so many things I love about the Woodland Climber, for starters, the set has two climbing walls, as well as a ladder, and a wall slide. With the slide, the little ones can easily get down and there’s almost no chance of them getting hurt.
This climber also has two wheels on the deck that kids can use if they want to pretend they’re astronauts or pirates.
Another fun thing about this playset is that there’s an optional sandbox area underneath it. Once you assemble it, just pour a bit of sand in the space below the platform and create yet another play space for your toddlers.
If you’re looking for something that’s easy to set up, the Step2 is definitely the set for you. When you take it out of the box, you’ll only need around 20 to 30 minutes to put it together.
With that said, you’re best off keeping kids that are less than two years old away from it, as it might not be the safest playset for them.
What We Like:
If you’re looking for something a bit less elaborate than the Woodland Climber, we recommend the Step2 Panda Climber.
Just like the previous version, this one has a deck where one or two kiddos can stand and play and a slide designed with your kids’ safety in mind.
Keep in mind, however, that this backyard playset does have a weight limit of 60 lbs (27.21 kg), so if you frequently host large gaggles of screaming kids in your backyard, you may need to go with one of the bigger models.
If you have older kids (3-4 years) you may want to pass on this model as well. Although Step2’s official website says the set is good for kids up to 5 years old – in my opinion, it is best suited for 18 months to 3 years.
The Panda climber is a great choice if you have young Toddlers and you want to buy a playset they won’t outgrow in 6 months.
Keeping your kids’ safety in mind, Step2 has added a safe rail over the slide to ensure there are no accidents.
Your kids can climb onto the deck with the two-step ladder and go back down in the fun slide. Also, the Panda model has an archway and a crawl-through tunnel that kids can use to play a ton of different games.
Another thing the Panda Climber shares with the Woodland model is the easy assembly. Once you take it out of the box, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to set up.
The outdoor playset is made of durable poly-plastic that’s easy to wipe down and clean. With proper use, the Panda Climber can last you years.
What We Like:
The last playset from Step2 that we wanted to show you is a two-tiered climber with two slides. On the platform, there are multiple play areas and your kids can also use the steering wheel to pretend it’s their own personal car or ship.
The backyard playset also has a ladder, a climbing wall, and is the perfect choice for preschoolers and toddlers.
Compared to the Panda Climber, the Play Up playset can hold up to 180 lbs, which is around three kids at the same time. The construction is pretty durable and, with proper use, this playset can last you years.
It’s also important to mention that you can put the Double Slide climber both indoors and outdoors. If you’re installing it inside, just remember to lay down a mat or carpet, to avoid it scratching up your floors.
What We Like:
If you are looking for a truly epic active playset for your kids you really can’t do much better than the 8-in-1 Adjustable Playground from Little Tikes.
This amazing playset comes in a couple of different colors and features a 2-foot long crawl-through tunnel that connects two open-topped towers, that are 4.5 ft and 5.5 ft tall.
It also has an easy-opening door, slides, ladders, and all sorts of nooks and crannies for your little ones to explore.
The outdoor playset is the ideal choice for kids between the ages of two and eight, and up to 6 kids can play on it at the same time.
According to Little Tikes, the per kid weight limit is a whopping 100 lbs so even older kids can join in the fun.
If you are looking for a playset that will keep your kids interested for many years then this set is a great choice.
Little Tikes says you can set up their backyard playset eight different ways, and it’s made of durable and weatherproof plastic.
Of course, just like most sets on this list, you can also install the Little Tikes adjustable playground indoors. Just be sure to leave enough room for it, since it’s a pretty big playset that’s 175 inches long.
What We Like:
Simplay3’s climber was the winner of the Parent’s Choice Award for the best toy for kids that are up to two years old. The colorful playset features an extra-wide slide and easy-grip side rails, perfect for any toddler.
Using a ladder, your little ones can climb onto a two-tiered platform where they can play with the Jeep-style doors. What’s more, this backyard playset features crawl-through portals, wheels, and a dashboard.
Simplay3 made sure that its outdoor playset would stand the test of the time, which is why it’s weather and UV-proof. It’s also extremely durable and fairly easy to assemble.
The company made its playset with your kids’ safety in mind and it has the third-party confirmation to prove it. The set is compliant with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), as well as with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
One thing to know about Simplay3’s Adventure Climber is that it’s a bit small. Even though the company advertises the product for kids that are up to 6 years old, we think it would be a better fit for toddlers and preschoolers.
What We Like:
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Playset
Our number one priority is keeping our kids safe. Whether it’s paying attention to what kind of toys they’re playing with or the different playsets they’re using — there are many things to consider.
We want to know what the playsets are made of and what the safest way of using them is. Let’s take a look at these three main factors that will help us decide what the best outdoor playsets for kids are.
When buying any toy, especially something like a playset, we should pay attention to what the manufacturer specified as the recommended age. There’s usually a good reason why they put an age limit.
Some playsets can contain pieces that are choking hazards, or the playsets could be potential fall-risks.
Additionally, we need to think about if our child will outgrow the toy.
Not every playset is suitable for your child and their age group. You see, you can’t expect your child to grow into it quickly.
Even though the kid will grow up eventually and be able to play on it, they can get seriously injured if you let them play on a more advanced jungle gym.
Luckily, there are playsets for every age group, from toddlers to teenagers. So, make sure you get the right one.
Here are some of the most important safety considerations when it comes to playsets:
- 2–5-year-olds should not play on jungle gyms that are over 60 inches tall or balance beams with over 12-inch gaps.
- 5–12-year-olds should not play on jungle gyms that are over 84 inches tall, or balance beams with over 16-inch gaps.
- Children over 12 are pretty much safe playing on anything, but you should keep an eye on them just in case.
All in all, we recommend you buy a playset that’s suitable for your child’s age. It’s better to buy a new set later on when they grow up than buy the bigger one and risk the safety of your child.
The two most common materials used for playsets are wood and plastic. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. While wood is more sturdy and will probably last a long time, it is also usually much harder to assemble.
Moreover, wooden playsets need to be treated with different chemicals in order to stay fade and water-resistant. Treating playsets with chemicals can be potentially dangerous.
Next, we have plastic playsets. While they are usually cheaper and easier to assemble, we always wonder about their durability. Additionally, some types of plastic are treated with different chemicals which can be considered toxic.
We recommend always doing some research before buying a playset. Moreover, we should check the list of materials used on the manufacturer’s website.
When looking at the best outdoor playsets for kids, the most important thing to consider is their safety. We want to let our kids enjoy themselves while they’re playing and not worry about anything bad happening.
However, if we want to stay on top of things, we should go through a three-point checklist.
- First, does the playset have non-slip handles and an easy grip?
- Next, if we are looking at a wooden playset, does it have any exposed pieces where the kids might get splinters?
- Finally, we need to make sure all the tunnels and crawl spaces are wide enough for them to fit.
With all that being said, while checking all these things is important, accidents can still sometimes happen.
The final piece of advice we can give is to simply supervise your kids while they are playing. While it is hard not to let them out of our sight, watching them while they play is the only way of making sure they don’t get hurt.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the perfect jungle gym for your kid presents a challenge for many parents. The most important things to take into consideration are your kid(s) age(s), their interests, as well as your budget.
Honestly, the younger your kids are, the less you’ll pay for a good jungle gym. On the other hand, your kids will grow out of them very quickly. So, you’re better off going with something that will last at least a few years but is still safe to use for toddlers.
Another important factor is the construction material of a jungle gym. Even though wooden gyms look much better and feel like they’re of better quality, that isn’t always the case.
High-quality metal and polycarbonate constructions can last much longer than wood, especially in wet conditions. Just make sure the metal is rust-resistant.
All in all, you can find a lot of great options at a reasonable price, if you’re willing to browse around to find your perfect match.
Don’t skimp on safety, but you shouldn’t overpay for looks either.