Remember back in those days when we did not need video games, cell phones and all the many trappings kids do for entertainment and fun these days. All we needed was a backyard and a good old jungle gym.
Your friends would come over and you’d have a swell time together. Gone are those days, but no one said it should be so for your kids.
In this article, we discuss how to make a jungle gym at home. We give guiding tips that will help you design and make that jungle gym that suits your space and kids.
We also discuss the benefits of a jungle gym towards the end of the article. We know kids these days prefer to remain indoors, but these benefits should help you in convincing them to come out and play. (Yikes! That last line sounded like what Chucky would say)
What is a Jungle Gym?
A jungle gym is any playground apparatus consisting of a framework of horizontal and vertical bars on which children can climb. This structure is made of different attachments that allow your kids to perform different types of play and several kids can use it at once.
Tips for Making your Jungle Gym
There are many jungle gym designs in the market that we can’t possibly go through them all in one article. Truth be told, we’ll keep having new designs as far as the human imagination continues to exist.
This brings us to the first tip for making a jungle gym at home:
Tip 1: Have an Imaginative Mind
A jungle gym is one of those things that agree with the “If you can think it, you can build it” ideology.
The numerous models that are being sold today first existed in the minds of someone before they were made. Therefore, you can also come up with a design of your own.
Tip 2: Have your Kids in Mind
You are building the structure for your kids and not yourself. (Well, except you are building it for yourself; and that’s not weird at all).
When making a jungle gym, ask yourself these questions. How old are my kids? What materials will be safe for them? How many of their friends would they want to bring over? Do they like climbing?
To save yourself the stress, you can ask your kids what they would love to see in their jungle gym.
Tip 3: Consider your Space
How big is the area you intend to give for this project? Ultimately, the size of your space will determine the kind of design you go for.
Tip 4: Consider your Budget
The reason many go for DIY jungle gyms is because of the cost. However, if you are not careful, you could end up spending much more than if you bought an already pre-designed model.
Steps to Follow When Making your Home Gym
We must remind you that this article is not teaching you how to make a particular design. Rather we are showing you general steps that must be followed when going through the jungle gym making process.
With that said, let’s proceed…
Step 1: Measure out space
In the tips we shared above, we said the amount of space you have will determine what you put in.
With any measuring device, mark out the area where you’ll be building the jungle gym. Make sure it is adequate for what you’ll put in.
It is advisable to give at least an additional three feet on every side. This will be for playing space around the structure.
If you have a small space, rather than building across, build upwards. After all, that’s what many of our mega-cities across the globe are practicing.
Step 2: Choosing the designs and components
What design do you or your kids have in mind? If you cannot come up with one, you can also browse through the internet for designs that your kids will like and that you can comfortably make.
Below are a few guidelines that you could follow:
i. Create a shelter – This will protect them from the heat and rays of the sun while they still have fun outside. This shelter should have walls around with one or two entrances and a ladder that leads to the jungle gym shelter.
You could fix in a slide here: Everyone loves a good slide. Add a sandpit at the bottom around the jungle gym to cushion their landing.
iii. Add extra components – Examples are swings, nets, hoops, monkey bars, rope ladders, etc.
iv. Incorporate components that will stimulate the minds of the kids.
Step 3: Constructing and Materials
In most cases, you will require the following materials:
i. Metal wood brackets
ii. Swing frame brackets
iv. Wood screws
v. Deck boards
vi. Power drill
vii. Playground sand
ix. Pressure-treated lumber
Ensure the set posts are 3 feet deep in the ground. Cast the posts in concrete to ensure they can withstand the children’s activities.
It is advisable to let the cast concrete dry before you begin adding other frames of the structure. At least a day should be given to let it get dry.
The rest of the construction depends on the design you’ve chosen.
The last addition to the structure will be additional components like those we listed above.
You can also use the design in the tutorial video below.
Benefits of a Jungle Gym
The following are the benefits of a jungle gym:
i. It keeps your kids exercised while they play and out of the home for a change.
ii. It ignites your kid’s imagination. They could create stories and all sorts of games with the jungle gym and sufficient playing time.
iii. You get to save money that you’ll spend on techs and toys. Not to speak of the constant need for updating their video games. (This benefit is actually for you).
iv. Fresh air improves a child’s physical as well as mental health.
v. It helps them develop social skills and relationships as they play with other kids.
vi. It can serve all your kids as they grow up. Looking for a plaything that all your kids will use, you just found one in a jungle gym.
vii. You get to spend time with your kids as well. Yep, you can be part of the fun too.
If DIY jungle gyms seem to be daunting and you prefer ready-made home gyms, you can check online and make your pick.
Check out these other interesting articles below:
How to Make a Jungle Gym at Home – FAQs
Who invented the jungle gym?
The jungle gym was invented and patented in 1920 in Chicago by a lawyer named Sebastian Hinton. The product was first sold with the trademarked name Junglegym.
Sebastian Hinton could have drawn his inspiration from a structure constructed by his mathematician father, Charles Hinton. Charles’ purpose for his original structure was to allow children develop an instinctive understanding of three-dimensional space by playing a game.
The second jungle gym prototype designed by Sebastian Hinton could be found at the Crow Island School in Winnetka until 2010. Now the jungle gym is displayed in the Winnetka Historical Museum’s backyard.
Who invented playgrounds?
There isn’t a particular name that can be placed as the inventor of playgrounds.
Instead, the origin and the idea behind playgrounds can be traced back to Germany as they thought of a newer, safer, and more correct ways to teach how children can play.
However, the first children’s playground was purposely built in England in a Manchester park in the year 1859.
In the United States, playgrounds were officially introduced in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt even though they were in existence before the official introduction.
Do monkey bars build muscle?
Monkey bars are very good at building muscles. They work and build up different body muscles which include:
i. Shoulder or deltoid muscles – These muscles are extended during contraction as you try to balance your movements.
ii. Latissimus dorsi muscles – These “Lats” muscles are worked on as you pull yourself up on the monkey bar.
iii. Obliques and abdominal muscles – Your obliques and abdominal muscles tighten as you move your body.
iv. Biceps – Your biceps are built just like the “lats” muscles. In fact, nearly every motion on the monkey bar will work on these muscles.
v. Grip strength – As you grab on the bars, you strengthen the muscles in your hands leading to a tighter grip muscle.
What is the most popular playground equipment?
The following are the most popular playground pieces of equipment:
i. Slides – Kids can slide down from the top of this equipment. It could be a classic slide, tunnel slide, or spiral slide.
ii. Swings – Even some of us have this in our backyards. It is classic equipment that never loses its thrill.
iii. Merry-go rounds – It could be a single merry-go-round for one person or for many kids which is the best.
iv. See-Saws – Depending on how well made it is, we are sure even adults can’t resist the temptation of getting on a see-saw.
v. Playground climbers aka jungle gym – A playground isn’t complete without this equipment.
What is the best playground in the world?
The following is a list of the best playgrounds in the world with their locations:
i. Tower Playground, Denmark.
ii. Lazy Dayz Playground at Smothers Park, Owensboro, Kentucky.
iii. Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground, United Kingdom.
iv. Clemyjontri Park, McLean, Virginia.
v. Blaxland Riverside Park, Sydney, Australia.
vi. Jungle Gym, Nashville, Tennessee.
vii. Hyland Lake Park Reserve, Bloomington, Minnesota.
viii. Wallholla, Purmerend, Netherlands.
ix. Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove, Minnesota.
x. Wright Brothers Playground, New York City, New York.
Kids will always love a jungle gym once they are introduced to it. The advantages of these structures are so many that every good parent should want one. And we know you are one of the good guys…
Besides, they don’t cost as much as building a home gym does.
If you have any comments or questions, let us know in the comments section.