Ok… so this technically breaks the rules of the site since it wouldn’t really fit into a toybox. But since we make the rules, we’re allowed to break them. We were watching these throughout the summer, waiting for them to go on sale, and when it finally hit 25% off, we had to bite.We knew we wanted to get a wood swingset (as the kids had both started to really grow out of the old metal one (bought at KMart a few years ago). We chose to go with the Ridgeview Clubhouse Deluxe Wood Gym, found at Toys R Us. Our primary reason for choosing this one is that it isn’t too big (as we’re working with limited backyard space).
We read reviews online first and found a majority (if not all) of the complaints were around how difficult it was to build. A lot of poeple complained that parts were not labelled, making the build difficult; however, all of the parts in ours were labelled (though the stamped labels on the sides of the parts was often difficult to read). It took a solid hour just to open the boxes and separate the parts.
I would give the following advice to anyone considering buying and building this (or any other) playset:
- Separate and organize all parts (wood + plastic + hardware) in alpha-numeric order. It can be VERY difficult to find parts if they’re just scattered around (like in the image above).
- Borrow a second ladder… one for each side of the playhouse (so that you don’t have to keep picking it up and moving it around to work on each side).
- Borrow a second drill… one for the drill bit and one for the screw-driver bit. The plans often require frequent switching back-and-forth between the two.
After the first day, we had a few recognizable pieces assembled:
It was encouraging to see the pieces come together… but a few pieces like this is all that we had left after 9 hours. The next day, it rained, so we were on hold, but got back into the swing of things a couple days later (pun intended) and building (while time consuming) was pretty simple.
This past Saturday, it all came to an end… the swingset was finally done. Just shy of 20 hours of building…. and this is the final product:
PROS: The kids are in for a good time! This thing fits comfortably in a smaller yard, but doesn’t lack play area. This slide is more than twice as big as the one on our old swing set. The swings are much more comfortable than the old plastic ones. And the double-layer fort area (platform on top and playhouse on the bottom) is something the kids LOVE! Plus, I was able to build the whole thing myself (with the occasional helping hand from a 5-year-old).
CONS: The build was simple enough if you can follow instructions and are moderately handy. Despite the label on the box that declares that it is “pre-drilled”, there are still a lot of times where the holes need to be drilled by you. Also, the durability and strength of this doesn’t seem quite up to par with the Rainbow swingsets (though the Rainbow sets are A LOT more expensive… and this one seems strong enough).
In the days since this was completed, Dawson and his sister are constantly asking to play with it and have a BLAST when they get a chance. It’s all they want to do. And I’ll admit, after the first day of building, I was in some serious pain (my hips, my legs, my back… I complained A LOT!)…. but seeing this face when it was built was worth all the pain:
Want to see the build (and playing) in action? Check out Dawson’s latest YouTube video here: