Build a wooden play gym
How much space
The Play Gym covers an area approximately 5.0 metres long x 3.5 metres wide, even wider if an optional slide is added. Platform 1 and 2 combined measure 1.2 x 2 metres and are the basis for adding all other play sections. Platform 2 provides access to the main platform or other sections. Allow 2m square of space for both platforms including ladder. If you plan to add the Swing Set, allow a further 3m of length. The Monkey Bar will need 2.Im of room. Additional open space is required around the equipment for safe ‘free fall’ zone (refer plan detail). But if space is a problem, this gym’s versatile design can be modified to suit any backyard. For example, you could build just the platforms, adding sand pit and cubby roof to increase its play appeal. Or build just Platform 2 with the Monkey Bar. It’s up to you and your own special situation. But whatever you plan, the same general building instructions apply to all sections.
Children take to swinging and climbing as naturally as monkeys. So safety is a big consideration. The first thing is to ensure there is plenty of room all around for boisterous swinging, so your site must be well clear of fences, trees, sheds and other fixed obstacles. The surface underneath must also be as soft as possible should a child fall. Grass and/or sand are not considered suitable. The safest surface is fine pine bark spread to a depth of 150-200mm. The recommended “safe fall distance/zone” around the perimeter of the play area is a minimum of I500mm. For swings, the measurement is taken from the very end of the seat in full swing. There must also be no sharp edges or splinters to hurt children, so all timber surfaces should be thoroughly sanded and all sharp edges and corners rounded off to a 35mm radius using a disc sanding attachment. This applies to the ends of posts, and the ends of all square shaped timber such as rails, exposed roof beams, etc. All protruding bolt ends should also be cut off with a hacksaw 3mm above the nuts once they have been fully tightened, and then hammered to prevent the nuts coming loose and to totally remove any sharp edges on the sawn off bolt. Repeat this process after maintenance tensioning of all bolts the second time. This is particularly important with pigtail hooks to stop play equipment from falling down while a child is playing on it. Check the tightness of all bolts and nuts two weeks after completion, then on a regular basis. And carry out any maintenance to the frame as needed. Where exposed nuts could come in contact with children, the nut and washer should be recessed. First, cut the bolt 5-8mm shorter than the combined width of the material being fixed. Then drill and countersink the hole large enough to accept the nut and washer as well as a socket spanner to tighten the nut. The bolt end will still need to be burred over and smoothed to prevent the nut loosening and injury to little fingers. If adding a slide, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions exactly. In addition, you’ll need to fix one 38mm diameter vertical grab rail to each side at the top of the slide extending from the platform floor to the cubby roof frame.