This is the third post in January’s series about which outdoors toys are best suited for each age and stage.
In this post we’re looking at the play equipment 5 and 6 year olds will enjoy playing on.
A Mention For Milestones
Around this age children are able to climb and use a slide comfortably, keen to play together and some may be able to use a swing without an adult’s help.
Choosing the right toys for this age is a careful balancing act. The play equipment needs to be enjoyable to play with, yet at the same time offer scope for learning and an appropriate level of challenge.
Invest In A Climbing Frame
This is a great age to invest in a climbing frame. Choose a high quality wooden climbing frame and you will get many years of use from it, and hundreds of hours of play.
Look for a frame that offers opportunities to swap accessories in and out. These small, inexpensive changes will help keep your child interested in the climbing frame, and enable you to update the features to match your child's developmental ability.
For example, for a five year old you might start out with a frame that as a simple step ladder. as your child gets older this will become easier and easier for them to use. By about the age of seven, you could swap the ladder for metal rungs or a rock wall. Then a year or two later update it again with a climbing net. If you have a climbing frame in mind and want to discuss the accessory option, please contact us and we can talk you through what’s available.
Some climbing frames with swing arms also allow you to swap the swings out for other hanging toys like a trapeze or rings. This is great for updating the climbing frame as your child gets older, but also enables you to adapt the frame if you have children of wide variety of ages.
As previously mentioned, at this age children become more interested in playing together and enjoying each other's company.
Some climbing frames can have gliders or boats attached to them so that two children can swing together. The benefit of these types of swing is that parents have the opportunity to listen in on conversation the children are having while they gently push the glider, which will no doubt include some priceless gems.
As their hand-to-eye coordination develops they may also enjoy a swingball set. Gently batting a ball back and forth provides the opportunity to play with a friend or a parent and enjoy a conversation at the same time, something that five and six years olds are very keen on.
Although they may need to duck to get through the door, at this age many children still enjoy playing in a playhouse. You can update the look as your child gets older to keep them interested. For example, the playhouse may start out as a cosy miniature home but with the addition of some camouflage netting, green paint and Nerf guns it can become an army barracks for older children.
For more outdoor toy ideas check out the rest of January's series on matching play equipment to your child's age.