As some of you may know I crowdsourced to find out if families that installed an indoor play gym/climbing wall actually found that their kids used it and it was worth the spend. My rough assessment of your generous feedback was that climbing walls were under-used unless they were quite tall or the holds could be changed up regularly. Swedish ladders seemed to be used regularly and any type of hanging swing or rings were used a lot.
The choice of what to install is so dependant on your unique space. A wood beam is the most helpful to attach a swing or rings too. Or alternatively an open doorway with room to swing. All of these options weren’t available to us. We were worried about drilling into the ceiling in the kids room so. a wall mounted gym is were we landed.
Our Play Gym
I was lucky to find a gym on Marketplace, similar HERE , HERE or a single version HERE. The installation was challenging as our ceilings were so low that I had to cut down the gym a couple of inches which sounds easy but then I had to re-drill all the pre-drilled holes. Oh and it also arrived with no instructions for installation, ha! But we figured it out by looking at the pictures and counting out the hardware. I wouldn’t recommend cutting down your own gym but I was willing to do it (Trevor thought I had taken on too much and in the end I needed his help). Alternatively, if you also have low ceilings there are a number of “basement” sized play gyms that attach to walls like THESE. I considered these but the shipping costs were a deterrent. If you didn’t have to cut down the gym I think installation would be pretty straightforward. It’s attached to studs in the wall and feels very safe.
I have bigger plans to eventually split their room in two (which I went over on this blog post). So I haven’t invested a lot in their room as it is only going stay this way for a couple of years. We kept their bunkbeds, added second hand cabinets and re-hung shelves from their previous room. To be honest I’m not thrilled with the design of their room and consider it an ongoing work in progress. I felt rushed when we moved in and put things on the wall when I wasn’t ready. Wish I had listened to my own advice to move slowly!
Do they use the play gym?
Because their room is so big I knew we had room for a play gym. My kids are incredibly active and one of them has some sensory issues so I was pretty sure a play gym would be welcome. Happy to report I was right. They’ve only had it for a month so time will ultimately tell but currently I would say it is used significantly. They play on it for long periods of time making up dangerous chicken-type games and they also just pop on it for a few minutes here and there.
I find the swing is used the most, the rings second and the climbing to create more creative ways to jump onto the rings or the swings. I do find the two ladders helpful as both of them can be on the structure at the same time, though they are always waiting their turn for the swing.
Lessons Learned So Far
Required Space - I underestimated how high and far the swing can swing so we had to move their cabinets over so they don’t smash into them. This really bothers me aesthetically as the cabinets are now a pinch point with the bunks . I think I could have mounted it a bit closer to the corner and they would still have room to climb.
Wall Damage - I worry about the walls long term. I think ideally lining the walls with plywood or felt would be best but for now I’m going to see how long we last before someone really dings the wall. So far I’ve just been able to clean them.
Let me know if there is anything else I am missing and I’ll continue to update if it is used less. For now, in a pandemic winter I am thrilled with this update to their room.
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