- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Best Slides For Young Children
Thinking of buying a slide for a young child?
A slide has always been one of the most popular attractions at the playground. My own two children have always loved the slide over the swings, especially when young. I'm not sure why, but on reflection I think maybe it is because they can do it all themselves, whilst on the swing they always needed someone to push them. They tired of the swing after a short time, but would go on the slide over and over.
If you are looking for some toys or equipment to make your backyard a fun place for the summer months, then a slide would make an excellent choice. Slides for young children are reasonably priced, and are usually appropriate for little ones from the age of around two up to either four or six, depending on the size of the slide. Below are some popular choices, from Step2 and Little Tikes. Both of these companies have a long-standing reputation for producing high quality, outdoors toys and play equipment. Another commendable point is that Step2 and Little Tikes produce the majority of their toys in the USA, unlike so many companies these days who have moved all of their manufacturing to China and other countries. Safety playmats are also available at the foot of the article.
Step2 Naturally Playful Big Folding Slide
This is a very simply designed slide, and it has a lot going for it. One of the most useful features it that it can be folded away for easy storage, which is great if you want to protect it from the elements during winter, or simply need to move it when you require more space. It is also very simple to set up. Not only is the slide very parent-friendly, it is extremely child-friendly too. The slide has high slide rails for the child to hold onto, and it is also very solid and sturdy making it a reassuringly safe outdoors toy. The plastic used for the manufacture is polyethylene, the safest plastic on the market - it is actually considered 'food grade'.
The Naturally Playful Big Folding Slide is suitable for children aged 2 - approximately 5 years. It can accommodate weights of up to 50lbs. The length of the slide is 57 inches, making it a longer slide than many of those designed for young children - it just means that the slide will remain fun for longer! This slide really is an excellent choice for the backyard - it has received some fantastic reviews from past purchasers. Currently there are 72 reviews on Amazon.com, awarding it a rating of 4.9 stars out of a possible 5.
Step2 All Stars Sports Climber
The Step2 All Stars Sports Climber is another slide with great reviews - customers on Amazon have awarded this product 4.5 stars out of 5.
This is a multi-purpose toy, which combines a slide with other sporty activities, such as a basketball hoop, soccer goal, football toss and a climbing ladder designed like a rock wall. It comes with an inflatable basketball, football and soccer ball (the balls are made in China, whereas the Climber itself is produced in the USA). There are two score-keeping dials on the side of the climber. All in all, this is a durable and good quality activity center, with a maximum weight of 60lbs. The slide length itself is shorter than the Naturally Playful Big Slide - 35.5 inches. The manufacturer's minimum age is stated as two years, although many reviewers have commented on using this slide for much younger children - from around 15 months. The All Stars Sports Climber is a great choice if you are looking for something which is more than just a slide.
Step2 Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse Slide
The Step2 Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse and Slide is another wonderful outdoors toy that is perfect for younger toddlers. It is designed to resemble a treehouse with a slide descend. This is a very safe piece of equipment for the younger ones, hence the manufacturer's minimum age of 18 months. The platform at the top of the steps is very large, with high sides, meaning that it is easier for small children to manoeuvre themselves onto the slide (something which little ones can struggle with when there is not enough space for them to get into position). The steps are easy to climb, and there is the added bonus of a working periscope on top.
This slide and treehouse can evolve with your child - as they grow they can use the treehouse / fort as a focal point for imaginative games with siblings or friends. The maximum weight limit is 75lbs. This would make a wonderful purchase for children who have not long learned to walk, and yet are moving on to more exciting things!
Step2 Play Up Double Slide Climber
The Play Up Double Slide Climber by Step2 is a great choice if you have multiple children. It can accommodate weights of up to 180lbs, and is designed for children between the ages of 2-6 years. The unique selling point of this item is the two slides, in differing lengths. The longer slide (blue) is 45.5" in length, and the shorter slide (green) is 36" in length. This toy has a two tiered platform, with the green slide coming off the lowest platform. The highest platform is fitted with a steering wheel, for extra fun, and there is a play space under the structure, for 'secret' play. The ladder has integrated handle holds to assist small toddlers.
This is a very durable product, and a wonderful choice for the backyard.
Step2 Naturally Playful Woodland Climber
Another great product from Step2, this is a fantastic, mutli-faceted play area for kids. The Woodland Climber is a solid, sturdy outdoors toy with a maximum weight capacity of 240lbs. The slide itself is 43" in length, and the product is suitable for children aged two plus.
Aside from the slide, there is a lot to do on the Woodland Climber. Each side features a 'rock' wall for climbing (one higher than the other), and a steering wheel is attached to the wall of the top platform. There is even a playspace underneath the Climber - this is great for imaginative play as the children get a little older. Is it a playhouse? Is it a hideout? Is it a cave? It could be anything your children want it to be - or you could fill it with sand and give them a sandpit. The kids will love it!
Little Tikes Climb and Slide Castle - for ages 12 months +
Wonderful for the very youngest children, this 'castle' design slide is suitable for little ones from 12 months, up to 4 years maximum. It has a short, gentle slide with a soft landing and 'rock' wall steps. There is also a crawl-through tunnel/hideout, and a steering wheel for added fun.
This product has an assembly time of ten minutes.
Little Tikes Seek and Explore Expedition Climber
The Little Tikes Seek and Explore Expedition Climber is designed in the form of an old castle and boasts plenty of extra activities. There are various ways to climb up onto the platform, including a plank with ropes to pull up on. Aside from the slide, there is a fabric tunnel, walkway and two platforms. The product is suitable for children between the ages of 2 and 6, and is large enough to accommodate several children at once. The Seek and Explore Climber is quick and easy to assemble, and will last for many years.
These playmats (pictured right) are great for cushioning the impact of a young child at the foot of the slide. Each pack covers an area of 16 square feet.