Make a play gym for your kids

By Drum Digital
07 April 2014

A play gym at your home can create hours of fun for your kids. Not only does it supply them with a great way to keep active, but it encourages an active imagination too. We tell you exactly how to build your own gym and show you our other internet favourites.

You’ll need:

  • Cedar/pine or redwood
  • Nuts, bolts and washers
  • Pre-mix
  • Monkey-bar rails
  • A rope ladder
  • Plastic-coated aluminium grips

Tools for the job:

  • A tape measure
  • A post-hole digger
  • A sawhorse
  • A circular saw
  • A hammer
  • A ladder
  • A spirit level
  • An electric or cordless drill
  • A drill bit

Do this:

  1. Measure the area where your play gym will be located to ensure there’s enough space to fit the gym. Use a measuring tape to determine exact height, width and length.
  2. Level and smooth the ground where the  jungle gym will be installed.
  3. Mark two parallel straight lines on the ground about 4 m long and 3 m apart.
  4. Drive two construction stakes along one line at a 41-cm interval. Measure 2 m from the second stake and drive another stake. Measure 14 cm and drive a fourth stake. These stakes will be used to indicate the position of the monkey-bar rails.
  5. Dig a 2-foot deep post hole in these four spots sufficient for a 10-cm-by-10-cm piece of wood set in concrete.
  6. Repeat Steps 2 to 4 on the other line.
  7. Set a 2 m long, 10-cm-by-10-cm post in each hole.
  8. Mix and pour one bag of "pre-mix" with water as directed on the bag for each hole. Adjust each post by using the level to make it vertically straight and adjust to maintain 41-cm and 2-m intervals. Allow concrete to set according to package instructions. These posts must be solid and sturdy to make this jungle gym safe.
  9. Mount two 3-m-by-10-cm-by-10 cm boards flush on the inside top of two of the 41-cm spaced posts and their mates in the other row. These will be monkey-bar rails 41 cm apart. These mountings will use the 1,5-cm bolts, nuts and washers.
  10. Space and mount 7 monkey bars between these crosspieces.
  11. Measure and cut pieces from a 2-m-by-10-cm-by-10-cm board to span the 41-cm gaps at the other sets of posts. These mountings will use the 1,5-cm carriage bolts, nuts and washers so they’re flush on the inside of each set of posts. This measurement should be 41 cm if the posts are vertical and parallel.
  12. Mount the remaining 3-m-by-10-cm-by-10-cm lumber at the centre of the crossbars. The mounting holes and bolts will run vertically through each location.
  13. Space and hang 6 wide plastic-coated aluminium grips on this crosspiece.
  14. Measure, space and mount 13 2-m-by-5-cm-by-15-cm pieces between one set of posts to create a wooden wall. The mounting holes will be 1 cm. Mount with one half-inch carriage bolt, washer and nut. The bolt head will be to the outside.
  15. Cut footholds at various intervals on the wall with the plunge saw.
  16. Hang a rope ladder and a trapeze bar securely between the remaining set of posts using  1 cm carriage bolts, nuts and washers. These items will receive a lot of use and must be hung safely.

Tips for accessorising the jungle gym:

  • Attach larger structural accessories such as swings, a slide or sandbox.
  • You can add any optional, smaller accessories such as handles to assist in climbing. Paint or stain the wood elements if they didn’t come pre-treated. Paint the structure when it's done. If you paint during the process, nicks or scratches are bound to happen.
  • If you want, you can spread sand or wood chips under the gym. Make one final check to make sure all parts are secured and the paint or stain is dry before letting children play.

Other gym ideas we like:

A double-decker playhouse. Click here for a step-by-step tutorial.

A smaller gym that’s just right for your garden. Click here for more.

An indoor gym for rainy days. Click here for more.

Please note

Remember, accidents happen easily! Always keep an eye on children and make sure they understand the possible dangers of playing on a jungle gym.

-Janine Nel

SOURCES: DREAMGYM.WORDPRESS.COM, CURATETHISSPACE.COM, SEEDPODCRAFT.COM, DIYNETWORK.COM, EHOW.COM 

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