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My boys have bundles of energy and already have so many toys, so when i was thinking about what to get for Christmas i got it into my head to get them a climbing frame for the garden between them. They have so many toys indoors that already clutter up the house, so it seemed to make a lot of sense.
Our only dilemna was we knew we would be unable to build it up on Christmas eve as it would take too long, so we came up with some plan of putting one bit in a box along with a picture of the built up set along with a note from Santa apologising for not having time for doing it but they could build it up with Daddy. Oh isn't Daddy so lucky to have two little helpers. Mummy's role in this matter was to provide hot chocolate and cups of tea for the workers.
I knew a climbing frame would be a hit, but i wanted to get the right frame to engage my boys.
My first decision was wood or metal. Wooden ones seemed a little cheaper, but i was also thinking to myself might require more effort on our part to maintain it in terms of treating or painting to protect from the Great British weather. Metal on the other hand would be ready to use with a quick wipe off of any residual water after a downpour.
I was drawn to the tp range as they have a large variety of wooden and metal frames, and what i particularly liked with this set is that you can add extra bits to it to make it extra challenging. There is a similar set for younger toddlers which is probably what mine should have based on their age, but i know they can both climb well, and as this set can be put at two different heights by adjusting the leg poles we decided this would be the way forward.
My next dilemna was where to purchase it from. I noticed it was available online at places like John Lewis and the early learning centre, but that these sets were grossly overpriced compared to other less well known sites. I ended up using a Milton Keynes based company called Wicken Toys who were very quick to dispatch my order to me. These sets are £635, which i managed to get for £460, now £510. Our set also has a second monkey bar added to it, which we then purchased a separate scrambler net for from John lewis to complete it. If we chose to, you can also get triangular scramble nets and basketball hoops, and a twizzler rope to hang from.
The basic frame shown above without any of the platforms or the den is only £185, and i do think it is an advantage that you can customise this set by adding on extra bits that you want. I knew that to best occupy my children more is better.
My children are really liking this set, and i love the fact it is like having a park in our garden. Only here, there are no teenage yobbos who drink beer and then wreck the set making it dangerous. The age range of the set is 3-14. My children are currently a couple of months off 3, and 4. The set is perfectly manageable for them at the maximum height, although we do make sure we are with them to help talk them through how to get across if they get into difficulty. They are being physically challenged and love having their own little den away from the adults. We can peep through the little round window on the side to see what they are doing.
The slide is pretty steep and they really seem to get some speed up. We have a little extender bit at the bottom as ours is a straight slide, and not the wavy slide shown. For the straight slide i would say the extender is essential when they are little otherwise they would be hitting the grass at a speed, and it would hurt. This allows them to slow down.
It is a pretty big set so i would recommend that you make sure you have enough space for it. Our garden is huge, and it has still took up a good space in it. We have had to make sure it is not near trees as i know for a fact they would then try to climb up the tree too.
Setting up was easy enough. My husband did the work, and it probably took 3 hours altogether with the help of the kids. The set came with full instruction booklets that were ok to follow, and the parts were all there. There is a fair bit of lining bits up and then making sure all joins are tight to make it safe. My husband said he could have done it alone, but he found a little help useful, as when he was trying to line bits up at height it was helpful to have my eldest to guide the poles together. It is then staked into the ground rather than using concrete, so if we choose to we can relocate it.
I am really happy with this purchase. I am certainly glad i got it cheaper by searching around. If we do manage to use it for 10 years i will be ecstatic. I am imagining in reality their weight will stop them using it before their height as they are pretty big boys for their age at 3 stone each.
The actual frame carries a lifetime guarantee against failure due to rust. The rest of the parts carry a one year guarantee.
Highly recommended as a set for engaging children in active play. It should be quite a while before i hear again 'Mum - I'm bored.'
(All prices in this review are accurate on 21/03/11. )
Last year we were at a total loss as to what to get my daughter for her birthday, we had already brought bits and pieces but we needed to get her a expensive present too, we were fast running out of ideas as she already had everything we could think of when we spotted this climbing frame which we thought would be a great accessory to all the garden toys we already have.
I opted for this one in particular as it is the largest of the tp climbing frames and claims to challenge a 10 year old at full height and with it being my daughters 6th birthday I wanted to get a few years use out of it before she out grew it.
The climbing frame is made of traditional tubular steel and is guaranteed not to rust and I have to say ours has been out in all weathers for the last 14 months without so much as a spot of rust on it. It claims to be east to assemble by one adult which I suppose is possible but we found it was quicker and easier with two.
The reason I was attracted to this type of climbing frame rather than a different brand is the fact you buy it in individual pieces and build it to your own requirements with what you want on your play equipment ad depending on the space you have available, We began with the basic climbing frame and monkey bars then extended from there
The basic frame cost me £200, my daughters were very happy with this and it is a fun piece to play on without the added extras.
The den costs £70, this is the green piece on the above picture.
The platforms cost £65 there is a blue one visible behind the slide in the above picture, you get two of these the second forms the base of the den so there isn't much point in buying the den without these.
The slides retail from £100 to £200 depending on the size you require, I haven't brought a slide for ours as we already have a slide in the garden and I think this was quite expensive when we already have something very similar.
The monkey bars cost £85 but there is a smaller version of this for around £60 but you cant hang the cargo net onto the smaller one, the cargo net cost £50 to put onto this but is very hard wearing and has lasted very well.
This is a great fun garden toy if you have a large garden as it does become quite big when you have got all the pieces, my daughters love it and so has every other child that has ever been to our house, there are things to do on a low level for the more timid child and higher levels for the little monkeys like mine, as I have said previously we purchased the climbing frame and monkey bars initially then added onto this as I think it is rather expensive to buy in one go but we brought pieces every few months which also changed the play equipment and gave the girls a new challenge.
tp is a really trusted name in climbing frames - they have a lifetime guarantee that rust will not cause structural failure, which I found very reassuring!
We bought the Challenger 2 for our son when he was 3 and he is only really growing out of it now at nearly 10. It has lasted really well - it is still completely structurally sound and it still looks good.
The Challenger 2 is a flexible, modular system. This means that you buy the actual frame (around £200) and then add whatever accessories you choose. This is great as it means you can add to it over the years, adding extra interest and challenge. (It provides great present ideas for relatives and friends too as there are a wide range of accessories!) We added a crazywavy slide with a slide extension, a fireman's pole and a couple of platforms. You can also add a cargo net, toddler handrails, a straight slide, a twizzler, a tent, and various other things - loads of combinations possible.
It's aimed at ages 1 - 10 and you can build it at two heights which is brilliant as it makes it versatile - it can literally grow with your child. We found it really helped develop large motor skills - i.e. the kids got good at climbing, swinging etc. - and it encouraged them outdoors. We also found it helped socially, as other kids locally were always keen to come and play on it!