With the growing trend for kids to spend too much time plugged in to their various electronic devices and the growth of childhood obesity, any ways we can encourage children to exercise and play outdoors are useful.

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Scientists advise that physical play, especially imaginative play, helps with childhood brain development and is the natural primary way that children learn. This Telegraph article talks about how much more time UK kids spend indoors or on devices compared to other countries.

Play equipment and children’s climbing frames can be a great way to encourage kids to spend more time playing outdoors and on physical play.

There are plenty of options available when it comes to play equipment to suit every budget, so you can shop around to find exactly what you need, for example via a site such as http://www.niclimbingframes.com/climbing-frames.

When choosing your climbing frame, you have three basic materials to choose from.

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Whilst often the cheapest equipment, most plastic play frames are meant for toddlers and younger children – for larger frames such as swings and larger slides you need metal or wood.

Plastic is hard wearing, but can fade with weather exposure. Damage is pretty difficult to repair and as such, any plastic frames should be regularly inspected for any broken parts that could cause injury to a child.


As long as you ensure you buy a galvanised steel frame, metal is hardwearing and long-lasting. The downsides are that unlike wood, damage is harder to repair and during colder weather the frame will be very cold, so limiting play to warmer days.

Metal is also not as aesthetically pleasing as wood, although it is often cheaper. Again, regular checks to ensure no sharp parts or damage can lead to injuries are required, and you should check screws and bolts at least once a year to ensure the frame and accessories and base are securely held together.


A traditional natural product, wooden equipment is warmer than metal and so can be used all year around. Usually a more expensive product compared to the others, it is hardwearing and long lasting.

It is also easier to repair as wood can be sanded, smoothed and resealed. Like other types, regular checks of the frame, base and fittings should be made, and any repairs completed.