Sunday, June 28

Phenomenom? Or Strange Coincidence?

There were many things we were looking for when we were searching for a house, and really high up on that list was a decent-sized backyard. In a perfect world, we would have found a mansion on three acres within our budget, but in reality we found a McMansion on an OK-sized lot. It's not a huge yard, but it'll do for the purposes I had in mind. I have big plans for a vegetable garden, a whole area reserved just for a perennial garden, and that should leave a bit for what I like to call Get Out of My Hair Land. Alexis is very nearly old enough for me to evict her from the house with the infamous words, "Just go play outside, will ya'?"

Truthfully, I can't wait. It's going to be BEAUTIFUL to just kick her out of my hair.

With Get Out of My Hair Land in mind, I recently started paying attention to swing sets and play sets and the like everywhere I go. I've been known to slam on my brakes in traffic to scope out the size of a slide. I've gone around the block like a stalker a few times just so I could catch a glimpse of a particularly cool looking tower. I've scoured every store both in person and online to start figuring out who has the best prices.

Yesterday we made a quick run over to the (New) House to take care of a few minor inspection issues. As we rolled through the neighborhood, once again I paid close attention to the play sets in several yards. I even found two that I was all sorts of excited about as I imagined the fun I Alexis would have hanging out in the tower. Then it dawned on me.

I have spent weeks scoping out the play sets in people's backyards, and I have yet to see a single kid playing on one of those play sets.

Now, I could blame this strange phenomenon on time of day. I could consider it just odd luck. I might even be able to hold the weather responsible. However, I suspect that maybe, just maybe, those play sets represent the ultimate in toys that the kid thought was cool for ten minutes, but then decided the box was cooler. I mean, every Christmas we go through the fun game where Alexis is all sorts of excited about a particular toy, but weeks later she no longer cares if it's still in the house. I know she's not alone in this whole It's Fun While It's Shiny and New thing. In fact, I suffer from the same disease.

So, dish people. If you have a play set or swing set or whatever you call it, do your kids actually play with it?

Cause momma could find somebody who could make hair look fabulous even with a kid in it for that kind of money. For sure.

33 comments:

  1. No kids for me yet, but Maddox, the little boy across the street, got a playset when he got potty trained. That was about 2 or so years ago. He still plays on it quite a bit (I can see it from my front yard) and now that he has a little brother, I suspect it will continue to get used.
    2 houses up from me there is also a playset that the grandparents bought for their grandkids. That one also gets used all the time.

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  2. So. I was the same way when we built our house a few years ago. We needed a playset. Emphasis on the need. My next door neighbor and her three kids needed one too. Problem solved. I didn't have to buy one since there is one sitting right on my property line. It may even be on my property. SCORE! All six of our kids use it on a daily basis. the babies (they are three, but I still call them babies. Hi Denial!) swing all day long, the middle kids and big kids play, slide and do whatever. It is great.

    I wish we would buy or build a fort or something fun. I am thinking fort, but then realize it is all fun and games until one of our kids fall out and break a bone.

    Playsets are fun!

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  3. I like the plain old swing set with a slide, the kind that runs for around 250 for a good one, we go to the park for the more exciting stuff, the best thing about that is that there are no towers for him to try to skydive off of here at home! I did find a set I thought of buying at poshtots.com but when I saw the price I quickly changed my mind. (starting price 25K)You might enjoy a look at it, just to see how little you get for your money if you were to buy it. (you could also get her, her very own house just a mini of yours with plumbing and elec, for the starting price of 45K) if I had that kind of money I would just hire a live in nanny for the next year;)

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  4. The best money we ever spent!

    We splurged and got a very sturdy one. Our friends, purchased one at Costco saw ours and trashed their old set to buy the same one we have.

    We are constantly on ours. Kids flock to our set when they came over. If you are outdoor people then you will use it. Like I said.... the best money I spent. Ours is SO sturdy that adults use it.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaspa/3654984043/

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  5. We have a rainbow system playset that we got second hand, and our four kids love it. We got it about 2 yrs ago I guess, and they still enjoying playing on it.

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  6. We got one for the boy when he was about 3 and he played with it all the time. It was disassembled when we did the addition and we recently put it back up and the girl now loves it too. For both kids, i made my own "roof" instead of using the cheap tarp that came with it, and we personalized it with paint pens, etc. We have definitely gotten our money's worth.

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  7. We wanted a play set for the boys, but balked at the $2.5k pricetag. A couple of months after we moved in to our new house, the neighbor behind us (who's kids are now 16 and 12) asked if we'd like their 2 level, hand-built play set; for free! Hell yes! All we had to do was move it. Fortunately (or unfortunately) we had to have our retaining wall rebuilt and five of the guy working on the wall picked it up and carried it about 20 yards to it's new home. A new swing chain and a gallon of Sikkens later, we have a great play set the play on all the time for under $50 (not counting the $13k for the wall; big damn wall).

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  8. Kids hated the swing stuff.
    They spent most of their time in the sand box and in those plastic little tikes houses and cars. (do they still make those?)

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  9. Boo has the ultimate playset. HUGE two story playhouse with a slide, massive trampoline and an enormous platform swing.

    He prefers the wii.

    Save your money, buy a sandbox and a couple of cool bikes.

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  10. I'm completely convinced that those awesome swing sets are a waste of money. The park's playground is ALWAYS going to be cooler. Instead, I plan on getting a treehouse or similar fort structure one of these days and a ton of backyard toys.

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  11. We got a simple rainbow play set just over two years ago. My kids love it and play on it daily. Most importantly, we had Liam's birthday party outside the other day and ALL 10 of my nieces and nephews kept themselves busy with that thing (mostly, they played in the sandbox part because it was kind of hot).

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  12. It's nice, our yard and area are safe enough that I can kick Amy outside alone already just so long as I can see her out the windows.

    Best thing ever? Trampoline. She can go and bounce all day long if she wants to. We also have a plastic fort thing we were given and a metal slide, but both of those get ignored lots.

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  13. We've been wondering that same thing...we keep going back and forth on that decision. Don't want to pay a bunch of money and have this big thing in our yard only to not have him play with it!

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  14. Ack! My post died!

    Anyway, we wanted one but didn't want the pricetag so we went with the simple wooden swingset. The kids played with it some, but not a whole lot. We didn't even buy it until after our neighbor, who had a larger metal one, moved away. The kids played on that some, so we thought we'd get one.

    Our neighbor here has a big one...fort, slide(s), climbing wall, sandbox...the whole nine yards. She has been out of town the whole time we've been back, so I don't know if her boys (5 & 3) play on it or not, but I'm guessing not so much.

    Good luck!

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  15. we built one last spring -not a huge one but has slide, 3 swing slots and treehouse (around $750) and our 3.5 yr old loves it. Gets lots of use when cousins or neighbors are over but this summer is first time she can swing herself and will play on it when I am inside. I think they get even more use out of it when they are 4-6.

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  16. I am in love with our playset. In. Love. While the kids aren't there all day every day (that would be the trampoline) it's the major go-to place when company is over. Weirdly, all our friends have 4 kids as well so 8, 12 or 16 kids outside is so much better than 8, 12, or 16 kids inside. Our kids do play there for days on end even without friends though. The key may be multiple kids though. We've got brothers to play with around here.

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  17. Get the playset. We built one when my daughter was 2, and she and her brothers played on it every single day until we moved... for 5 years. They had a fort, a slide, a rock climbing feature, and 3 swings. It was perfect, and a great opportunity to keep friends kids entertained when they come over to visit.
    We will be getting another one in a few years. :)

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  18. My nephew had one - he and the neighbor boys used it for about 20 minutes.

    In my neighborhood now, most houses have one and only at 1 house do I see it ever used. But that might be more of a comment on the fact that we live on the surface of the sun than on the play sets. (It has been in the mid 90's every day for 2.5 weeks IN JUNE! It is only going to be 88 today and we are all talking about how great it is that it has cooled down.)

    The thing the my nephew and the kids in my current neighborhood use a lot? The trampolines. They seem to love them.

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  19. I have friends who spent two grand on a play set for their backyard & their girls would rather sit inside & play with their computers & DSs. I would love to get one/build one for Deacon, because I can already tell he's going to be an outside monster [he would stop crying immediately when we took him outside after he was first born], but I don't know that I want to spill that kind of money.

    Luck!

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  20. That seems odd.
    In our neighborhood, kids are climbing everything at all hours of the day. You have to drive very carefully because you can take a turn and be met with a bunch of kids sitting in the middle of the street playing matchbox cars.
    In fact, we've had comments that they think it's weird Sasha (who's only just turned 2) hasn't been set loose to play all day outside, unsupervised.
    So when we see a playset, there's always about 10-15 kids clamoring over it.

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  21. My son plays with his, but quite honestly, he'd rather run around the yard with hubby and I playing Spiderman, Transformers, or recently, Night At The Museum. I'm still glad we have it. :-)

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  22. The house my brother bought had one from the previous owners and the girls love it.
    You can put the older one in front of the sandbox and she will play for hours, while the younger will wear herself out with the slide. It's made me realize Im def. buying one when I have kids of my own!

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  23. We have one and both of my boys love to play on it, but the 4yo refuses to learn how to pump his legs on the swing and therefore will not play on it by himself. I long for the "get out of my hair" phenomenom, but my kid, at least, simply doesn't like to play outside by himself. When the baby gets older and they can both go out, I'm hoping that will change because I see the boys next door playing on theirs a lot.

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  24. I need to get a post up about our play structure! We just inherited a structure from friends - swings, slide, rope swing, and (thanks to hubby's modifications) a rock wall. Cooper has not stopped announcing loudly and at random times of the day, "I love my new slide!" That being said, he sometimes needs encouragement to play on it versus digging in my flowers or playing in the woodpile. Maren, on the other hand, cannot get enough of the swings! It was nice to have the guesswork taken out of the equation by having it handed-down to us!

    (And it is AWESOME to be able to send the kids outdoors and say "Get out of my hair!" . . . even if it is for only 5 or 10 minutes - one more reason them getting older isn't such a bad thing!)

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  25. We don't have one right now but I know we certainly play on the ones at our friends' houses when we go there! : )

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  26. My mother used to send us outside all the time to make us go away. Fortunately for her she had a future structural engineer daughter and a jack-of-all trades contractor husband. My dad and I built my 16 foot tall slide when I was 7. We had a swing set that he salvaged from condemned school. I designed and we built the tree house when I was 10, complete with gymnastics bars and a pulley ride for quick get-aways!

    Peanut's playset has been under design in my head since before he was born. Now that he is active, I am taking more detailed mental notes. You know he loves slides. Not as big on swings. Construction should begin next spring.

    Alexis loves playgrounds. You have plenty of photographic evidence of that! :)

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  27. We lucked out because a neighbor getting rid of theirs gave it to us. All we had to do is move it, which my husband did with some help of his father and some of the other neighbors. We bought new swings since the ones it came with were cracking, and I am telling you the girls LIVE On that thing when we are outside. They absolutely love it. They swing and then play in their "clubhouse" constantly when we are outside. They much prefer that over riding bikes. Truthfully, you just don't see kids outside as much these days, so I think that is why you see so many empty swingsets.

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  28. My guess is, it depends on the kid. Some kids just aren't into the swings and stuff- Maggie likes them, so I think we'll probably end up getting a big set next spring at our new house. It's funny becuase I was wodnering the same thing recently about how I rarely see any kids playing on any of the sets I see! Must just be a coincidence? Like, I'm driving around during naptime or dinnertime or something?

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  29. I agree with Jennifer - it depends on the kid. Also, if your kid is like mine, and always wants to play with other kids, they'll prefer the playground. I always thought a treehouse would be much cooler, but that's just me. I don't know if you can just buy a treehouse!

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  30. When my children were little, we had the old metal frame with two swings, a teeter-totter, a glider, and a slide. They used the heck out of it when they were home. I think the reason you don't see kids out playing on those swingsets is because Mom and Dad both work, and they are at the daycare center during the day.

    Even though you are a stay at home mom, most mothers work these days.

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  31. Master J loved his, especially once he taught the dog to climb the ladder and go down the slide. Good times. But, then we moved and had to leave it. At the new place, Mister C built him a big (8x8) sandbox with a bench on one side and a roof to block the sun and he played in that thing for hours. No lie, 2-3 hours was normal. Unfortunately, at the new, new place we have neither. And he's driving us nuts with "nothing to do". We gotta quit moving. As a side note, Alexis might be just as happy with her own corner of a garden to dig, plant, water, etc.

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  32. Bee and Gracie LOVE their swingset - and it's just a $100 dollar cheapy set that I bought from Toys-R-Us. Have you scoured Craigslist? Maybe you could find something super-cool for super-cheap. Or - if you're really brave - maybe find out if these houses with missing children maybe have older children who have outgrown the swingsets and maybe the owners would be willing to give you a good deal on their old-but-still-there set. Just a thought!

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  33. Hi, just came back to apologize--I truly did not realize you worked in an office. Sorry for the goof.

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