Two rants in a row… odd for me!
So while I was mowing, I happened to notice my daughter’s swingset. Ok, so I mow around it every time, but I mean really pay attention to it.
And I’m not happy with it.
My daughter is 6 this summer. We bought this swingset the fall that she was 2, so it’s 4 years old.
It was the top of the line for metal swingsets sold at non-toy stores at the time. We had looked several places, but ended up getting this one on half price clearance at the end of the summer for somewhere around 150 or so from what I remember.
Since then we’ve paid 35 each to replace two swings that have broken and 40 twice to replace the fabric on the top of the porch-swing style swing area.
But it’s current condition is worse.
The paint/stickers are so faded I would guess this thing was about 10 years old. Even the plastic glider thing has bleached itself almost white.
One of the hooks that holds a swing chain is messing up so it only holds two of the three swings.
Which is fine, as the baby swing we paid like 40 for has cracked around the rope area so that I wouldn’t trust it with a child in it.
The fabric on the top has ripped up, again…. but I just took the framing off this time. I’m not even gonna pay to replace it every single summer.
The little spinny thing’s plastic area broke the second summer, so it has long since been removed.
But new this summer, the slide now has a big crack in it… enough that I wonder if it will be usable by the end of summer. But it already had issues with being overly wobbly, but as it was attached in the plastic area, nothing you can tighten to fix it.
Of the ground anchors, 3 out of 8 the thin metal piece has broken. Which doesn’t really matter, as when the ground is either really wet (every spring) or really dry (every summer), you can easily pull it out of the ground just by trying to lift the leg anyway… no resistance at all.
In short, this thing is usable due to replacements…. but its in sorry shape, and almost everything that hasn’t been replaced needs to be.
Did I mention this thing is only 4 years old? And that I only have one child? And for that matter, she probably only plays on it about once a week or so.
What happened to swingsets? These things used to be like indestructable.
Ours as a kid had lived through life raising my cousins, then all of us, and then lived through at least one other family that I know of… some paint loss and rust, I think a chain snapped like once… but still highly usable. One of my uncles has one now that he got when my cousin was little, and shes now in her 30s. After all three of his kids got too old, it turned into a porch-type swing holder for adults, and now is back in use as a swingset for grandkids.
Really, I know quality of everything has gone down a ton since then…. but still…. I expect a moderately priced swingset to last longer than 4 years. I don’t think its asking too much to not have to replace a swingset for a single child or family of kids close in age during the time between when they are old enough to use on their own and the time when they are old enough to no longer have a real interest.
Apparently this isn’t realistic anymore. Because really, rather than the slide which I’m sure is at least 50, I’d be better off at this point buying a new one entirely. Which is stupid.
But the more I think about it, the more I suddenly realized…. I haven’t seen a single other swingset in this area. None of her cousins have them either. Nor my friends kids.
When in the world did swingsets disappear from the childhood landscape? Those things used to be the centers of our neighborhood world.
Probably about the way the tv and video games are now I guess. Another loss to technology… well, more like parenting probably as our parents would have never let us have the main (aka only) tv with the nintendo or atari hooked up to it for that long even if we wanted to.
This makes me sad…. but I’m not sure whether its more from the disappointment in the quality, or the changing of the world.
My daughter does love her swingset… and does play on it extendedly when she plays on it. So eventually I suppose I will give in and replace it with one that has lower expectations placed on it.
With my tomboy nature and skills at power tools, a few years ago I googled plans for building a little playhouse, and found quite a few online for free. At the time, I was looking at the ones that had attached swingset type areas and figuring I wouldn’t include that part. But now they are making a whole lot more sense. Maybe building one yourself is the smartest thing to do on a swingset right now.
Or I suppose I could buy one of the custom built wooden ones that cost more than the used car she will want when she turns 16. Sheesh, if the metal ones only last 4 years, that might even have been the cost effective option to have taken!