Getting your kids outside and into the fresh air is a whole lot easier if you have a garden filled with fun toys and activities! A garden slide is a simple toy to assemble and store, and they offer great value, keeping kids of all ages entertained hour after hour.
Slides have been a popular playground attraction for years, but smaller garden-friendly versions are easy to come by. They’re a great choice because you can keep an eye on your kids from the comfort of your favourite deckchair(!).
There are a range of slides on the market to suit a variety of budgets and a range of ages. If you’re toying with the idea of getting one for your children to enjoy, the following tips should help you in your search:
The Benefits of Having a Slide at Home
Large slides at the park are often too high for the little ones, plus they can get crowded with older and bigger children meaning you need to constantly be on hand to help your child get a turn.
Having a slide at home means you can bring all the fun of the playground into your own garden (or even your own living room!). With a slide at home, your child will be able to play safely in a space where you can easily keep a close eye on them (plus it’s a great activity for when their friends come over too!).
When the weather is warm, a slide provides hours of entertainment and exercise for children outside in the fresh air. If you buy a slide that’s small enough, you can also use it as an indoor slide when the weather isn’t so great.
The best kids slides will help improve your child’s motor skills, balance, and coordination. Plus, even climbing the ladder can help build stronger leg muscles.
Kids slides are available to suit children of any age – you just need to check the manufacturer’s specifications. Smaller plastic models can be used both indoors and out. They are generally made from durable plastic without sharp edges, and they can be passed down through the family as your child grows, develops and moves onto bigger things.
When choosing a garden slide, it’s important to think about the safety of your child, not just the fun they’ll have.
- Buy a safety mat to ensure that children will have a comfortable landing coming off the slide. It’s not only the landing area that’s important, but the space around the whole slide – if children accidentally fall off elsewhere, they should fall onto a padded surface.
- Make sure to leave a clear radius around the slide, and space at the bottom of the slide too. This is just as relevant with an outdoor slide as with an indoor. The size of the slide will dictate how much space you need to leave – if children are likely to be propelled from the end of the slide by momentum, you need to leave at least 4 – 6 ft clear.
- Choosing a slide with relatively high ‘gutters’ can help avoid accidents where children fall off the side of the slide.
- Always supervise kids playing on slides, even if they seem confident.
- Make sure that children are aware of certain safety rules when using slides.
Teach children to climb the ladder safely – holding on with both hands and climbing up with one foot at a time.
Make sure children know not to slide down until the base of the slide is clear of other children.
Don’t let children slide down head first – they should slide in a sitting position, with their feet out front.
Choosing the Right Size and Design
The shape and height of your slide should be chosen according to your child’s age. Each slide is designed for a specific age range, and it’s important that you don’t exceed the maximum weight capacity.
If your child is nearing the upper-end of the age range of the slide you’re looking at, you might want to consider a different one. When slides say they are suitable for a certain range, for example, 18 months – 5 years, they will likely be a bit small for a 5-year-old. In this instance, you’d be better off finding a slide that is suitable for 4 – 8 year olds, for example.
Slides for younger children are usually made from brightly coloured plastic and they can be used both indoors and out. Slides for older kids may have metal components and generally have a longer and steeper slide.
If you’re looking for a slide for younger children, many plastic slides can be folded or dismantled to make them easier to store.
There are also slides available that have other features built in – for example: basketball hoops or water slide attachments.
If you think your children will get a lot of use out of a water slide in the summer, look for a slide that has an option to attach a hose. These slides can be used as normal the majority of the time, turning into waterslides when a hose is connected.
You can also look out for slides with waves or twists which may be more exciting for some kids. You may have to pay more for these models, but they can add a bit more fun.
If you plan on leaving your slide outside, it’s essential that it’s weatherproof. Kids slides are usually made from weather-resistant plastic, and some may come with a protective cover.
Slides for older children are generally made from powder-coated steel, and they can usually be left outside overnight.
Even if the slide you buy is weather resistant, you should try to pack it away when not in use. This is easier to do with smaller plastic slides. A small plastic slide will also be quite lightweight and therefore more likely to blow around if it gets windy, which is another reason for storing it away.
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