“ Brand: ELC / Type: Playhouse / Tents „
We now have a purple silver and lime green pyramid in the garden! It took us about 4 hours to put up on a summer afternoon. It wouldn't have taken quite so long if we hadn't muddled up the long and the short poles and had to unscrew it all and start again once we realised! The actual 'footprint' of the frame is quite small and it can be moved fairly easily (pegs into the ground) to spread wear on a lawn. It's quite a simple, stylish shape in the garden - as ours is small, this is important as we have to look at it all the time! We did investigate a wood frame but as well as being more expensive, many of them are a more solid structure. Being able to 'see-through' this frame prevents it from being too dominant. Once up, the frame is very sturdy and so far is still in excellent condition. We bought the platform that stretches across the centre but not the tent as we thought this would reduce the potential for climbing on and swinging from the higher bars of the frame. This was the right decision as my 5-year-old son does a lot of swinging around inside the frame from the upper bars. His favourite thing though is to climb right onto the very top and shout to our elderly neighbour in his greenhouse two gardens away! On hot days I have thrown an old king size duvet cover or various sheets over the top and pegged them together like a Bedouin tent which has been very popular. We bought the roller coaster slide but strangely, it doesn't get a lot of use - he prefers the straight slide of another neighbours TP frame - maybe it's faster. We have the matching swing too and although it's all very bright somehow it all blends into the garden better than the galvanised frames, which can look, rather like scaffolding when they start to age. One thing I am disappointed about is that although we have had this for less than 12 months, ELC have decided to discontinue it due to supplier pro
blems. They have written to notify us (useful), and give us a month or so to buy any additions we were planning before they stop stocking it and sell the TP frames instead. But this does mean a lot of expense now when we had planned to add to it over a couple of years. I don't think we can manage this so we will not be able to extend it as the children grow which was one of it's selling points. So it looks like the end of the line for a frame that I know has been very popular. As they are very rugged, I expect there will be a strong second-hand market for a number of years. If you're after a new one and ELC have sold out of these, TP make a similar shaped compact frame with a galvanised finish that I have seen in John Lewis. Whatever the brand, outdoor toys always seem a good investment!
Having two boys (now 11 and 8) and a rather small garden (see my opinion on decking!), I needed as few garden toys as possible. What better than a climbing frame with attached slide that can (as has!) accommodated as many as 12 children on it at one time! I bought my ELC climbing frame around 5 years ago (£140 'ish at the time). I decided not to buy the tent to go over the top because our garden is home to loads of spiders. It is the red and blue version (now purple and green I think), and I managed to put it together alone in probably about 2 hours. The slide has a "wiggle" in the middle and you can buy an extension for the end of the slide to save your grass (even though I don't have any, I did at the time). The slide goes up to age 10, but my (just) 11 year old still plays on it. It is a great watch-tower to look into neighbouring gardens. I have even been known to go down the slide sitting on a skateboard (not recommended) after a glass or two of wine - the point being the slide didn't break in two! Their favourite is to put the paddling pool at the bottom and slide Action Man down it in his boat - poor man! They also have him bunjee-jumping from the top! For safety reasons we have placed bark all round the bottom area of the climbing frame - don't forget dried out grass can be every bit as hard and damaging as concrete. Also, this frame is guaranteed for 5 years against rust - and it still doesn't have a trace on rust anywhere on it. This is a really great buy - seems expensive but not when you think of the play value and life of the product.
We bought our son this climbing frame for his 3rd birthday. He went upstairs for a nap and we thought we would have it built for him when he woke up. Well, he would have had to have been Sleeping Beauty for that to have happened. It took us 5 hours to put the main frame up with the slide, ladder and walkway. Poor boy was so desparate to play on it that he was outside in the dark with the garden lights on the first day. He has played on it loads, he has gained a lot of confidence in himself and loves showing his friends how to climb! I feel comfortable in his abilities to play without someone being less than 2 feet away, although we do insist that a grown up is in the garden with him.
When my son was 5 years old, we purchased an outdoor climbing frame from the Early Learning Centre for his birthday. It had a slide and a tent ideal for secret camps when playing. It is a pleasant red and blue in colour and has been sitting happily outside for 3 years now. It was not so much difficult to put together as time consuming. Over the years we have added to it and rearranged it as to make it more suitable to his and his sister's ages. It is still now in very good condition. The paintwork is still bright and not chipped. The children now 8 and 10 still play on it. Although it was quite expensive to buy, we have certainly had our moneys worth from it and I believe the children will still be playing on it for a while to come