Guide to Winterizing Your Wooden Playset
- 6 Tips for Winterizing Your Wooden Playset
- Can You Use a Playset in the Winter?
- Benefits of Using Your Playset in the Winter
- Winter Playground Safety Tips
- Shop Superior Play Systems Wooden Playsets
As the temperature drops, it’s easy to forget about the wooden playset in your backyard. Kids may be spending more time indoors, meaning you might not keep up with necessary maintenance for this structure. But winterizing your wooden swing set or playset is an essential part of preparing for the colder season.
Getting your playset ready for winter involves maintaining the structure itself and determining if you can use a playset this time of year. Prepare your playground for the chilly season with this guide to winterizing your wooden playset.
6 Tips for Winterizing Your Wooden Playset
Learning how to prep your playset for winter can help it last through the harsh weather of the season. Follow these tips for winterizing your wooden swing set:
1. Clean It
Before the weather gets too cold or your swing set is covered in snow, you should clean it. Use a hose and a mild soap to rinse away dust, dirt and other debris. Take a soft bristle brush to areas that see high foot traffic. This is one of the best ways to winterize your wooden playset because it helps to:
- Prevent stains from appearing in the wood.
- Prevent rotting or mildew.
- Keep the playset looking nice.
2. Check Moving Parts
Swing sets include different moving parts that will experience wear over time. They can also freeze in the cold weather if you don’t maintain them properly. Depending on your playset, there may be different moving parts to take care of, so be sure to:
- Check that chains are free of rust.
- Lubricate interactive components, like steering wheels.
- Smooth any rough metal edges of moving components.
3. Remove Plastic Accessories
Extreme cold can cause plastic playset components to crack as the material becomes brittle. Remove small plastic accessories like steering wheels, telescopes and other play elements and store them inside for the winter to prevent damage.
If your swings or slides are made of plastic, you may have to leave them where they are, especially if your kids want to use the playset during the winter. Fully winterizing your swing set for the season would involve removing the swing seats, meaning no one could use the structure. Check those plastic components throughout the winter to ensure they aren’t getting damaged in the cold weather.
4. Repair Damage
Before the weather gets cold and snowy, inspect your wooden playset for necessary repairs. It’ll be easier to find and make these repairs in mild weather. Proper maintenance can help when getting your playset ready for winter and making it last through the season, so look for these issues to fix:
- Rusted metal: Replace bolts and other metal components that have rusted over time to ensure your playset has a safe and proper construction.
- Cracked wood: Look for significant cracks or splits throughout the wood, filling with wood filler as necessary.
- Rough wood: You may need to sand some wooden parts of a playset over time to keep the surface smooth and safe.
- Rotted wood: Old swing sets can develop water damage in certain wooden parts that you’ll have to replace.
5. Apply Stain and Sealant
Once you’ve made those checks and repairs, you can stain and seal the playset. Staining the playset after cleaning and sanding helps maintain the appearance of your wooden swing set. You can then seal it to help protect that appearance.
If you have a wooden deck, you know how essential sealant is. It prevents the wood from expanding and contracting as the weather changes. That will help prevent splinters and cracks from appearing on a wooden playset. It’ll also prevent moisture damage from snow and sleet in the winter.
6. Check the Elements Around the Playset
Once you’ve followed the steps for how to winterize your wooden playset, don’t forget to check the area around it, as well. Look out for issues like these:
- Tree branches: With heavy snow or strong winds, tree limbs and branches could fall onto your playset and cause damage. Check for dead or hanging branches around the playset and clear them.
- Eroded ground: After excessive rain in the fall, the ground around your playset may have washed away. Look for any eroded areas or holes that could pose as tripping hazards when hidden under snow and fill them.
Can You Use a Playset in the Winter?
As winter months roll around, your kids may be getting bored and staying inside, leaving you to wonder if they can use the playset in the winter. With the right precautions and safety measures, they can. Winterizing a playset is one step to take, but you should also start with a sturdy play structure.
High-quality playsets and accessories are made to withstand winter weather. When you shop with Superior Play Systems, you can choose from our exclusive selection of Playground One® equipment and playsets. Playground One® provides quality construction and attention to detail that helps create a safe playset for your children, even in the winter, with features like:
- Grips to prevent slipping: “Gotcha” grips from Playground One® add more traction to surfaces to prevent slipping. Playground One® Playsets use a powder-coated, dimpled finish on ladders, handrails, trapeze bars and handgrips.
- 100% Pacific cedar: Playground One® uses solid beam construction in Pacific cedar, which naturally repels pests and fungus. With the wood’s resistance to damage and a solid construction, these wooden playsets last throughout the year.
- Safe, durable hardware: Playground One® crafts metal hardware with hot-dipped galvanized steel. The hardware resists corrosion to stay strong through every season, and it features a recessed and snag-free design. Swings and other components also have protective coatings to protect your children’s hands. You won’t have to worry about winter clothing getting caught on your playset’s hardware or chains.
Benefits of Using Your Playset in the Winter
If you’re a bit unsure about sending your kids out onto the playset in winter, know that winterizing your playset is worth it because playing on it comes with many benefits for kids. Benefits of using a playset in the winter include:
- Being active: It’s hard to stay active in the winter without having adequate indoor space or joining indoor sports and activities. Having a wooden swing set for kids to use in the winter helps them exercise year-round.
- Getting fresh air and sunshine: Time in the sun is useful for getting vitamin D, which is essential for bone and muscle health. Being outside in the fresh air is also invigorating, giving you and your kids a mid-winter energy boost.
- Having a change of scenery: Staying inside all winter leads to boredom and restlessness. When kids play outside, they’re shaking up their routine and having fun while doing it.
- Seeing the playset in a different way: Kids are used to playing on playgrounds in warmer weather. When things are covered in a blanket of snow, the playset has a new look that’ll let kids see the area in a different way.
- Sparking creativity: Playing outside in the snow ignites children’s imaginations. They’ll play in new ways and activate their creativity in ways they couldn’t while indoors for the winter.
Winter Playground Safety Tips
Playing on a playset in the winter comes with benefits, but it also comes with potentially hazardous conditions. The right precautions will help your kids enjoy their wooden swing set year-round and be careful while doing so. Follow these tips for winter playground safety so your kids have a fun time outside and stay safe:
1. Check the Weather
While children can play outside in winter, some weather conditions are a bit too extreme to be outside. Check the weather before you prepare the playset or let kids go outside. Look for unfavorable conditions like extremely low temperatures, significant wind chills, high wind speeds, sleet or white-out snow conditions. The wind chill is your best metric for the temperature conditions outside. To determine if the weather is safe enough for kids to play outside, consider whether the wind chill is:
- Above 32 degrees Fahrenheit: Because this temperature is above freezing, it’s safe to play outside. Remember it’ll still be cold, so kids should wear appropriate chilly weather gear.
- Between 13 to 31 degrees Fahrenheit: When the wind chill falls between these temperatures, kids can still go outside. You should have indoor breaks every 20 minutes to 30 minutes, though.
- Below 13 degrees Fahrenheit: When the wind chill dips below 13 degrees, kids should stay indoors. The risk is higher for frostbite at these low temperatures, meaning it isn’t safe to play outside.
2. Check the Playground
Before you send kids off to play outside, check the playset and the surrounding area. While winterizing a playset could prevent some of these issues, you should still check for problems every time your kids want to play outside. When you look at the wooden playset before anyone uses it, you should:
- Look for signs of damage: Even if you followed tips for winterizing your wooden playset, damage could have appeared in extreme conditions. Check for splintering wood or damaged moving components and make repairs before kids play.
- Check for icy conditions: Cold weather can mean ice, which leads to a fall hazard for anyone on the playground. Rocks, wood, sand and mulch can develop ice, creating slippery conditions. Pay close attention to slides, steps and walkways around the play area. Salt areas where necessary, and let kids play another day if conditions are too icy.
- Check conditions after cold temperatures: You should especially inspect surfaces after freezing temperatures. Surfacing and other materials are meant to absorb impact when kids fall. If those materials are cold or frozen, they can’t absorb shock as well. Add to surfacing if necessary, and select materials that don’t freeze, like rubber, for around the playset.
Inspect your wooden swing set and play area throughout the season to ensure there are safe playing conditions. Make sure there’s no standing water that could eventually turn to ice, and make any repairs or adjustments to the play area as necessary to keep things safe.
3. Clear the Snow
If you’ve checked the playground and decided that it’s safe for kids to play on, clear the snow. This safety measure will depend on how much snow you get in your area. If you have significant amounts of snow, you’ll want to ensure there are clear paths and areas for kids to play on. Excess snow could hide tripping hazards or cause other safety concerns. Grab a shovel or ice and snow brush and:
- Make a path from your home to the playset.
- Clear snow from the playset’s roofs or canopies.
- Remove snow from steps, slides and swings.
- Clear snow under the swings so they’re usable.
Even if your kids won’t be playing on the playset, it’s still a good idea to remove snow from the area. The weight of snow could cave in fabric canopies and damage them. It could also trap moisture in wooden surfaces, leading to cracking or rotting.
4. Bundle Up
Any time kids go out to play in the cold or the snow, they’ll need the proper clothes and gear. Even if you clear the snow from the playset, kids could still go off and play in the snow during their time outside. Give them waterproof items like coats, boots and gloves. Make sure they keep these items on as they play to avoid getting cold.
While you want your kids to stay warm, you want them to stay safe, too. Avoid dressing them in scarves that could snag or tangle on surfaces and create a dangerous situation. Make sure there aren’t any hanging strings or loose fabric on your children’s winter clothes that could get caught on anything.
5. Watch Kids as They Play
This goes for any time of year, but in the winter, it’s particularly vital to keep an eye on children as they play. There may be icy conditions or damage on the swing set you didn’t notice before. Kids may also be tempted to play more recklessly in the snow, jumping into snow piles or forgetting normal playground safety rules. While kids can use a playset in the winter, you should take these safety precautions:
- Instruct kids to be careful and avoid running around the play area.
- Make sure they aren’t too cold as they play.
- Invite them inside if they seem to be getting too cold.
- Watch for dangerous conditions on the playset as kids play.
- Monitor the weather for sleet, high winds or other conditions that warrant coming inside.
Shop Superior Play Systems Wooden Playsets
Get the perfect equipment for your kids to enjoy year-round. At Superior Play Systems, we have over 20 years of experience in the outdoor play industry, earning us the title of The Most Trusted Name in Play®. Our exclusive collection of Playground One® Playsets includes everything from wooden forts to swing sets and spacesaver models, so you’re sure to find something your kids will enjoy. Ignite their creativity, get them moving even in the colder months and do it all with peace of mind knowing Superior Play Systems prioritizes safety.