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climbing frames

  • How To Give A Climbing Frame As A Gift This Christmas....

    …...because you know you can’t just wrap it up right?

    The Ideal Christmas Gift for Grown Ups

    A climbing frame makes a wonderful Christmas present.

    For starters you don’t actually have to bring it inside your house ever. This means that when all your friends are bravely attempting to exile old, damaged toys to make room for the new consignment of plastic arriving on Christmas Day, you can kick back, relax, sip some mulled wine, safe in the knowledge that the biggest Christmas gift received this year, will not be obscuring your carpet or invading your living room.

    Secondly, your school holidays have just become a whole lot easier. No more frantically planning play dates, trips to the park, or expensive excursions. Just open the back door and fling the children outside. This climbing frame will keep them occupied for hours. And they’ll be active, and using their imagination, so you can feel a little bit smug that they are spending their time doing something wholesome.

    So now you’re fully convinced to buy one, head over to see our range of metal and wooden climbing frames, buy one, then come right back to find out how you go about giving this jumbo gift.

    Flat Packed Or Fully Assembled The first decision you need to make is whether you are giving this gift in its raw, flat packed form, or unveiling it in the garden in its fully assembled state.

    Take it from someone who has spent Christmas Eve assembling a climbing frame, leaving it in the box is the easiest option. It is also far easier to invent a plausible story about how Santa managed to transport it to your house (more on that later).

    But the chances are a cardboard box with a photo of a climbing frame on it does not deliver quite the same ‘wow factor’ as a garden full of play equipment ready to be enjoyed.

    The Art Of Disguise While it’s in the box, the climbing frame can be stowed away in your garage. But if you decide to assemble it, it’s going to be much harder to hide. Waiting until the children have gone to bed on Christmas Eve is a no-no. Erecting a climbing frame in the dark is no fun at all. Ideally you should ask a friend or family member to take your children out for the afternoon, put the frame together in their absence, then when the kids return, whisk them straight upstairs to bed. Direct any Santa searches and scattering of reindeer food outside the front of the house. Repeat over and over that Santa lands out the front - that way it’s easier for him to reach the neighbours. This should discourage any peeking into the back garden.

    A Plausible Story Finally, you need to agree a plausible story about how the climbing frame made it to your garden, then attach ribbons, wrapping or transport hooks as appropriate.

    Your backstory will depend on the location of your property, difficulty gaining access, and whether you’ve put the climbing frame together or not.

    Options include: Santa has a harness that swings under the sleigh - he attached the climbing frame, then gently lowered it into the garden. A separate North Pole elf-staffed delivery service handle the transportation of large goods. Santa oversees their installation while he is delivering the smaller parcels. Santa delivered the box, then a small army of elves arrived and worked all night to put the climbing frame together.

    Whichever story you go with, make sure all significant adults are in on the plan, and deliver it with absolute authority.

    For more Christmas related posts, follow the Wicken Toys blog.

  • Turn Your Climbing Frame Into A Pirate Ship

    Ah hoy there me matey's a welcome to this pirate-inspired post for land-lovers everywhere.

    Today we are looking at how we can combine your child's love of pirates with outdoor fun and exercise.

    Pirate Inspired Climbing Frames

    If you don't yet have a climbing frame and you would like play equipment with a pirate theme, take a look at these options.

    TP Forest Pirate Galleon

    Suitable for children from three years and up, this play frame provides the ideal location for imaginative games. It features a captain's cabin, deck with ships wheel and ladder, a deck area to sit in, pirate sails and a gang plank.

    Plum Endeavour Playcentre

    This play centre offers the best features of a climbing frame, combines with a pirate ship. This play equipment features a boat''s bow, climbing wall and net, swings and slide. The boat can be whatever maritime vessel your child's imagination can conjure - a cruise liner, a lifeboat or of course, a pirate's ship.

    All Out Play Galleon

    This large playhouse features plenty of space to hold captives and store treasure. There's also the option of adding a slide and a fireman's pole.

    Pirating Your Climbing Frame

    If you don't want a pirate ship permanently in your back garden, you could buy a regular climbing frame and use some creative techniques to give it a piratical makeover.

    Add A Stern To add a stern to one side of your climbing frame all you need is a large, high-sided cardboard box. Two sides coming together at an angle of between 40 and 30 degrees will look very similar to the front of a boat, and create a temporary ground level play area.

    Accessorize Telescopes, periscopes and ship's wheels are easy and inexpensive add-ons for climbing frames that help add a new dimension to the way children play with the equipment.

    If we don't have an accessory for your brand of frame, get in touch to discuss your options as some of our stock may fit your equipment.

    Raise The Flag You could make just about anything look like a pirate ship by simply adding a jolly roger flag. Have fun making one together with an old bed sheet. The easiest way to paint the skull and cross bones is to cut out a paper template, attach to the fabric, then paint black around it.

    Add Hazards Another way to stimulate pirate-related games is to decorate the surrounding areas. Make the space underneath the swings shark-infested, either with soft toys or by cutting out sharks from cardboard. You can also use cardboard (magic things cardboard boxes) to create a gangplank to attach to the top of the climbing frame or slide, and gently push soft it.

    Dress-Up Finally, you can really set the mood with a stripey t-shirt, eye patch and a cutlass. If you have a stuffed parrot, even better.

    All it takes is a little imagination, some planning and plenty of cardboard and you can transform your back garden into a pirate-themed play space.

  • Winter Climbing Frame Inspection

    As the weather gets colder, you're climbing frame is going to be exposed to low temperatures, wet weather and high winds.

    If there are any maintenance issues with the frame, winter weather can magnify them, causing significant damage.

    Find the problems now, and fix them while they are small, and when the Spring arrives the climbing frame will be in top condition and ready to use.

    Here's how to carry out a thorough play equipment inspection. 1. Ensure you carry out the inspection in good weather and bright sunlight. If it's pouring with rain, or getting dark, poor visibility may cause you to overlook something. Similarly if you are rushing because you are uncomfortably cold or wet, you will not give the frame the level of attention it needs.

    2. Check every nut and bolt for looseness. Changes in the weather can cause the wood to expand and contract, loosening fixings. Your climbing frame might not get played with often over Christmas, but when it does, you want it to be safe.

    3. If you can, remove plastic swing seats and accessories. Only do this if the process of removing them, then reattaching at a later date will not damage the parts. Plastic can become brittle in very cold weather, so storing pieces indoors, or in a sheltered storage area can preserve their useful life.

    4. Inspect the wood for cracking or lifting. In dry weather, the wood may lift causing splinters. You can simply sand the surface down to make it safe again.

    5. Inspect the area surrounding the play frame. Over time rocks may work their way up through the ground, or sharp objects could be discarded. Check to make sure the area is safe to play in, and there's no risk of falling onto something dangerous.

    6. Check any safety mats are still fit for purpose. Have they perished in the poor weather? Do they need replacing? Also check that they haven't shifted from their original locations.

    7. Oil any metallic moving parts to keep them moving freely.

    8. Check the climbing frame's stability. It may have been a flat, level patch of ground when you first erected the climbing frame, but over time rain water, and wear and tear may have caused the ground to shift, creating an uneven surface, and potentially destabilizing the climbing frame.

    9. Check ground anchors haven't worked their way lose. A protruding ground anchor poses a trip and fall risk, and will not be adequately securing the climbing frame to the ground.

    10. Now is a good time to consider whether your climbing frame is fulfilling its potential. Does it offer your children enough of a challenge, and does it inspire their play ideas. Look at the options for the model frame you have. Could you swap a ladder for a climbing net, or change the swing arm for some monkey bars. If you aren't sure of the options available to you, please feel free to give us a call and discuss what accessories and attachments are available for the climbing frame you own.

    With careful maintenance, and the occasional update, you climbing frame can provide many hours of outdoor fun for your children.

  • More Than Monkeying Around | Developmental Benefits Of Monkey Bars

    If you're choosing a new climbing frame for your back garden, you're probably wondering which features you want your play equipment to have. Monkey bars are a relatively inexpensive option available on most climbing frame systems, that can add hours of entertainment and educational value to your new frame.

    Physical Benefits

    Exercising on the monkey bars provides a number of benefits for your child's body: * Gripping the bars develops hand strength which is useful for fine motor activities such as using a pen and manipulating LEGO pieces. * Exercising the muscles in the arms builds strength and tone. * Raising the heart rate improves overall fitness levels. * Gentle exercise helps relieve stress and tension. * Tucking legs up, and swinging the body to build momentum helps strengthen core abdominal muscles, essential for good posture, and protecting the spine.

    Encouraging A Positive Mental Attitude

    The monkey bars offer a different type of challenge to your child. Sure they needed to climb a ladder for the first time, or be brave enough to whizz down the slide. But these accomplishments were pretty much inevitable from the day you erected a play frame in your back garden. The monkey bars are not like learning to walk, a milestone of childhood development that every child passes through. Mastering the monkey bars is more like learning to ride a bike, or climb a rock wall: lots of children do achieve it, it's great fun, but not everyone can do it. The monkey bars offer a high degree of challenge for children of all ages, and if you've ever seen adults swinging off a climbing frame in the park, you'll know its a challenge they never grow out of. While learning to swing from rung to rung is difficult and can be a source of frustration, it also provides the opportunity to develop perseverance and feel a great sense of accomplishment once your child has made it from one side to the other.

    When you're child is learning to swing across the monkey bars, here's a few tips to help keep them motivated: * Make it clear that completing a monkey bars ladder is not something that everyone can do. Feel free to demonstrate this by struggling across as far as you can. * Break the overall goal down into smaller, more manageable targets, so your child doesn't get disheartened. Aim to make it across two rungs, then three, and so on. * Show your child how alternating between pieces of play equipment gives their arm muscles an opportunity to rest, and try again later.

    Science Lesson Opportunities

    There are also a number of science lessons offered by the humble monkey bars.

    Encourage your child to look at the tension in their muscles while they are gripping onto the bars. Later you could use the Internet or a biology book to look at the muscles present in the arm and talk about how they work to grip and swing.

    You can also talk about momentum, and how swinging their body makes it easier to move from one rung to the other than if they were hanging in a static position.

    You child may also notice heat developing in the palm of their hands. This is generated by the friction between their skin and the metal on the bars, and provides a good opportunity to learn about energy transfer.

    Browse our collection of metal and wooden climbing frames, available to buy online for delivery to your home.

  • Wicken Toys for the imagination: climbing frames and playhouses


    Children have very active imaginations throughout their childhood. You will often hear them playing role-play games and escape to exciting worlds with the help of just one simple toy.

    Imaginary play is a brilliant tool for brain development as well as social skills and creativity. Moreover, this type of very creative play is favourably very physical as they can spend hours running around the garden; however, with the continuous introduction of exciting, smart, new technologies, imaginary play is becoming a decreasing occurrence among westernised households where we are lucky to have televisions, laptops, game consoles, mobiles, and iPods. These mostly demand all of our attention for their screens which makes them a lazy, passive learning process, and a form of entertainment that lacks in physical movement.

    Here at Wicken Toys, all of our products showcase the vast possibilities for imaginative play, especially for the outdoors. We believe that it is very important to stimulate young imaginations and get them into the fresh air outside more often.

    In this blog post we’re going to take a look at some of our most imaginative and exciting toys that will help to draw your children away from the television screen and into the garden.

    Our All Out Play climbing frames and playhouses (in some cases, these combine to create one magnificent piece of outdoor play equipment) have some very interesting designs. Pictured below are the All Out Play Fort and All Out Play Climbing Den and Playhouse. The fort (below) is a smaller playhouse compared to its much larger relative, but it is still an excellent fort all the same. It has arched doorways, flagpole, arrow slit windows, and even crenellations to hide behind.

    All Out Play Fort playhouse

    It won’t be long before you have dragons flying around your home and medieval armies marching straight for your house, so hide behind the battlements and get your arrows ready!

    All Out Play climbing den and gatehouse set

    The All Out Play Climbing Den and Playhouse Set could turn into anything; a jungle hut, swamp hut, castle fort, or a tree house. Playhouses like these allow children to do many fun, physical activities like crawling, climbing, sliding, swinging, and hiding. As you can see there are three main components: connecting bridge, gatehouse, and den. There is a place for everyone: the knights, the guards, and even the damsels in distress.

    Another one of our favourite themed pieces of outdoor play equipment is the TP Forest Pirate Galleon.

    All Out Play Pirate Galleon

    It has all of the important features that you would expect from a Disney pirate ship: pirate sails, deck seating area, ladder, captain’s cabin, ships wheel, and gang plank. Many fantastic characteristics to keep even a large group of birthday party guests entertained whilst they journey around the oceans of the world.

    Click one of the following links to browse through the rest of our outdoor play equipment ranges.

    Climbing frames, playhouses, swings, slides, trampolines, wheeled toys.

  • Climbing frames for real climbing

    From a young age, children have an urge to climb no matter what environment they are in: trees, fences, walls, the back of the sofa, and all sorts of other things that they shouldn’t climb in and out of the house. Why not present your kids with a brand new climbing challenge?

    There are many climbing frames in the Wicken Toys outdoor play equipment and garden toys selection.

    The physicality of climbing makes it a very beneficial exercise for children. This is why we make sure that our climbing frames provide an exciting challenge that is waiting for them when they arrive home from school.

    There are many benefits of outdoor play equipment with climbing walls; even if it is only a very small one.

    Body strength and core muscle strength will soon increase after a few months of climbing. Your child will gradually develop a lean muscle build and tone. Ultimately it is a physical workout for the whole body whereas a lot of other sports just concentrate on certain areas.

    Additionally climbing walls also improve balance, flexibility, and coordination. Although it may only seem physical there is a lot of thought required for climbing as you have to look ahead and plan your route up the wall; much of which depends on your strength, balance, and reach. It is a great achievement for your child to experience when they finally reach the top of the wall.

    Climbing may seem like a daunting sport to introduce your kids to, but they don’t have to climb actual rock faces or conquer mountains straight away. You don’t even have to get them involved in an indoor climbing club either. Start off with one of our frames with a small ‘rock’ wall.

    Playtime Easton Tower

    Our Playtime Easton Tower has a large rock wall leading up to a large 1.5m high play platform. As you can see, the green holds are accompanied with a rope to help children reach the platform. The wall isn’t on a vertical angle so this would be a great choice for introducing your children to how exciting climbing can be.

    We also have this wonderful All Out Play Climbing Centre which looks like a castle. The large rock wall on several sides means that your kids have the option to traverse around the fort as well as heading upwards.

    All Out Play Climbing CentreTP Kingswood Top Deck Climbing Frame Set 2

    Similarly, this TP Kingswood Top Deck frame presents more of a challenge with its tall, vertical rock wall.

    Take a look at the rest of our climbing frames. There is bound to be at least one which will be a suitable size for your garden and keep your children away from the television for hours.

    Feel free to contact us for more information about our products.

  • Start planning your next Easter egg hunt now

    We’re certain that there were many outstanding Easter egg hunts last Easter weekend. Although Easter is now finished for another year, why not start planning 2014’s early and make sure it is going to be the best ever eggs-travaganza?

    To begin planning an Easter egg hunt that the Easter bunny would be proud of, you will need to consider certain features that will ensure optimum egg-hiding and maximum fun. Our outdoor play equipment range boasts all of the characteristics which will help you to construct an entertaining Easter egg trail.

    In this blog we’re going to talk through several garden toys and pieces of play equipment that would be suitable for a family pub’s outdoor play area/garden for kids.

    On your marks, get set, go!

    Our Plum My First Wooden Play Centre is an exciting way to get the Easter egg hunt started. It has many places to hide tiny Easter eggs which are always a good way to begin a trail towards a big surprise. You could slot clues into the rock wall, climbing net, and inside of the play den.

    The next part of the hunt could be the TP Explorer 2 Climbing Frame with Den and Jungle Run. This challenging climbing frame with its high up den and monkey bars presents lots of possibilities for an Easter egg hunt. You could try hanging pieces of string with clues on the ends or eggs from the rungs of the monkey bars and the kids will have to jump to get them.

    The halfway mark of the trail can be the TP Castlewood Tower. Complete with a fireman’s pole, this climbing frame tower will be lots of fun and the platform is certainly big enough for some larger surprises and bigger eggs.

    Hide the next clue buried underneath the sand in this TP Sherwood Sand-pit.

    tp sherwood sandpit all out play climbing den and gatehouse set

    Our All Out Play Climbing Den and Gatehouse Set (above) will make a very interesting obstacle with all of its exciting features and slide. The possibilities for Easter egg hiding are endless. For something a little bit smaller, take a look at our All Out Play Jungle Hut.

    Next it is time to take the Easter egg hunt out onto the seven seas with this TP Forest Pirate Galleon.

    Finally step into the land of knights and dragons with the All Out Play Fort. This will make a great finishing line to hide the biggest and best Easter egg. Maybe the Easter bunny will be waiting in there too.

    We also have many other garden toys and outdoor play equipment which can all be used for commercial events or home celebrations like this. Contact us for more advice on which products would suit your event and space best.


  • What's the Easter Bunny got in store for your garden?

    Well who can believe we're already in to March almost and that Easter is but a few weeks away!

    If you're thinking of ways to inspire the children over the holidays then Wicken Toys can help! We all know the British weather can be challenging but Easter (even if the sun isn't quite shining) is  a fantastic time to get outside and enjoy the Spring!

    Whether it's having a game of footie in the garden or if you want something a little more grand, then we've got some inspiring ideas to get you thinking!

    Now, if you remember back when you were young, how much fun was the humble slide?  As a great activity and for some mini thrills, a slide is a wonderful way to encourage your children to be outside enjoying the fresh air. With a hint of trepidation at the steps, the ultimate result is always laughter or an exciting scream as the little ones make their way down to the bottom.

    Continue reading

  • Outdoor toys leads to more creative play...

    The toys your children play and interact with can really impact on their maturity, development and even growth. In fact, the right kind of outdoor toys can really help to inspire them and teach them so many of life’s great lessons early on.

    That’s why here at Wicken Toys we are so passionate about all of the outdoor toys (and some indoor) that we offer. We know the true benefit to them for children and what they can bring to a child’s life.

    There is something very important in outdoor play too – as even pretending can help to inspire a child’s ability to imagine things, which in adulthood could impact on their potential to gain the top jobs and perhaps even help them achieve a first class degree. After all, only the top 5% of the UK who attend university get a top level degree. What this can mean is that these people represent the most individual thinkers – or to put it another way, these are the people that actually shape the world that we live in with new ideas and ways of thinking.

    Continue reading
  • Playtime paradise - create a play park in your back garden

    Sometimes you drag the kids to the local play park and other times, they drag you! How about you make it easier on everyone... bring the play park to your home! It’s not that big a proposition or even that expensive a venture.

    What constitutes a basic children’s playground or park?

    Continue reading

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