If you’ve got kids there’s a good chance you have a play set in the backyard. Whether it’s a huge, elaborate one or just a basic swing and slide one, it’s probably one of your kid’s favorite things. And it’s likely one of yours, as well – few things are able to stimulate a child’s mind and body quite like a play set, so it’s always good to see them up and moving. But you can’t just buy a play set and then ignore it. From the play set canopy to the slide, the anchors to the monkey bars, you have to perform a little routine maintenance to keep it in top shape.
There are a few basic things that go into the maintenance of a play set, and understanding each of them is important. Some things are very obvious while others – like the play set canopy tarp – are easy to overlook. Maintaining your child’s play set will not only help extend its overall longevity, but it will also reduce the chances of your kids being injured on the play set. Just a little bit of effort goes a long way towards improving any canopy, so be sure that you add play set work to your annual maintenance schedule. It’s just as important as lawn work, and usually a lot easier.
To begin with, you’ll just want to do a visual spot check. Examine each aspect of the play set visually before you even touch it. Is the paint or stain cracked, chipping, or fading? Is the play set canopy damaged? Do you see large splinters, missing bolts, or any other potential hazards? Make a note of anything you spot as you’re examining the play set. Now do a hands-on exam. Check each bolt to make sure they’re tight. Run your hand along the surface of the slide to make sure no slivers exist. Tug-test swings, canopies, monkey bars, and other components for durability. And be sure to make sure the ground anchors are holding to prevent a tip-over situation.
Once you’ve examined the play set you should have a good idea of just what needs to be done. Every so often you’ll probably have to sand the surface and re-stain it for protection. You may need to tighten or replace bolts, add new screws to some areas, and more. Be sure to remove any wood splinters or metal slivers as well. If anchors are loosening, it may be time to replace them. You could have to replace the sand in the sandbox if it’s become soiled. All in all, you’ll just run back through your checklist and correct any problems that may exist one by one.
It’s important that you don’t ignore any of the play set’s needs. One area that really gets neglected is the play set canopy over the clubhouse side of the play set. But just because it’s damaged doesn’t mean you should just remove it and ignore it. It’s easy and inexpensive to order a new play set canopy, and really is a good idea. Canopies help protect the wood underneath and will shield your kids from the sun during play. They also add a little bit of fun to a kid’s time on the playground since they can add a tent or roof like feel to their games.
All in all, play set maintenance isn’t usually something that takes an extremely long amount of time to perform. But it’s one of the most important things you can do since it can reduce the risk of injury and extend the lifespan of your play set. Take a couple of hours once or twice per year to give your play set a once-over. You and your children will be glad that you did.