Guide to Commercial Playground Swings

Guide to Commercial Playground Swings

Playground swings are one of the most popular aspects of a playground. Kids love to challenge each other to see who can swing higher. While choosing swings that will inspire this kind of thrill and excitement may seem difficult, it can be quite simple. With so many swings to choose from and a number of combinations possible, you’ll be able to provide kids and adults with a fun place to swing.

In this guide to playground swings, we’ll help you explore some of the various types of swings, offer considerations to make when choosing swings, and outline some of the benefits of swings for kids. Read the full article or jump to a specific section:

Different Types of Swings and Frames

The first thing to know when it comes to commercial playground swings is the different types of swings and the frames you can mount them on.

Swing Seat Styles

Explore some of the most popular types of swing seats below:

  • Bucket swing seat: Bucket swing seats are a reliable option for kids who are young or are still getting used to the motion of swinging. This type of swing often features a high back and leg holes to provide a secure fit and support for sitting upright. Because this type of swing is meant for younger kids — typically ages 2 to 5 — and is designed for safe swinging, parents and caregivers have to help kids get in and out of the seat.
  • Belt swing seat: Belt swing seats are among the most commonly used types of swings. The belt seats are easy to sit in because the seat is flexible and bends when it’s sat in. Playground visitors from kids to teenagers and adults love this traditional swing design.
  • Flat swing seat: Flat seats are similar to belt seats, though flat seats are made to remain stiff instead of flexing to the user’s body. Although flat seats require a bit more balance, they offer the same amount of fun.
  • Tire swing: Made using a whole tire, tire swings are a staple in many commercial playgrounds and even in backyard playsets. In commercial playgrounds, a tire is hung horizontally using at least three chains so kids can sit around the edge with their legs down through the middle of the tire. Depending on the size of the tire, multiple kids are often able to swing at the same time.
  • Raft swing: Raft swings are similar to tire swings because they offer a larger seat to swing on. This swing option is meant for multiple riders to encourage social play. The Little Tikes Commercial raft swing looks like a water raft in swing form, which can add a unique swing component to your playground.
  • Inclusive swing seat: Inclusive swing seats enable kids of all ability levels to join in on the fun. This type of swing looks like a chair with a high back and often features a safety harness to help stabilize users who need extra support.
  • Standing swing: Some swing seats are actually for your feet! Standing swings like the Little Tikes Commercial Freestyler swing are designed for kids to safely stand while experiencing the movement of swinging. Swing options like this are exciting and allow kids to pretend they’re surfing or snowboarding!
  • Generation swing seat: Generation swings allow both adults and kids to swing face-to-face. This swing gives parents and caregivers a way to immerse themselves in their child’s play and engage with each other on the playground.

Swing Set Frame Styles

Swings would be nothing without the frame to attach them to. Swing set frames are generally either wood or metal and can be cemented into the ground or sit on the ground with anchors to prevent them from moving. Commercial playground swings primarily use metal in-ground frames to ensure the frames don’t move, even with frequent use. There are a number of different frame types, including:

  • Single pole: A single pole at both ends of the swing bay supports the frame.
  • A-frame: The A-frame uses two poles that support the swing set using a “/\” shape.
  • Tripod: This type of frame is commonly used to support multiple swings because the three poles on each end can hold more weight.
  • T-post: T-posts use a horizontal pole mounted on a single pole, creating a “T.” Swings are typically hung on either end of the horizontal pole.
  • Arch post: Similar to the A-frame, arch frame posts are metal supports that curve at the top instead of coming to a point.

4 Questions to Consider When Choosing Commercial Playground Swings

As with many other playground components, there are a wide variety of swing options to choose from. To help narrow your search, here are four questions you should consider when choosing playground swings.

little girl on standing swing

1. What Age Groups Will Use the Swings?

One of the most important considerations to make when choosing a commercial swing set is the age groups that will use them. This is such an important question to ask because it will help you determine which types of swings and equipment to include in your playground design, as some types of swings are better suited for certain age groups. For example, bucket seats are intended for kids ages 2-5, so they may not be suitable for playgrounds for school-aged kids.

Answering this question helps you choose swings that will be age- and size-appropriate to ensure the users play safe and use the equipment properly.

2. How Many People Will Use the Playground at the Same Time?

This question is essential in helping you determine the number of swings you’ll need. To help you estimate, here are some things to remember:

  • Depending on their size, swing bays can hold one or more swings of the same size and style.
  • Traditional swings like belt seats only allow one user to ride at once.
  • Other swings like a tire swing or raft swing can accommodate more than one rider, although these only fit one swing per bay or require their own frames.
  • Inclusive swing seats only fit one rider, and two of these seats can fit in one bay.

While this may make it seem like you need a large number of swings, you’ll likely need less than you think. Remember, your playground has more to offer than just swings. So while some kids swing, others will be playing on different equipment.

Overhead playground view

3. How Much Space Will You Need?

Knowing the necessary number of swings also helps you determine how much space you’ll need to dedicate to the swing sets. Swing sets can quickly take up a significant amount of space, especially if you plan to incorporate several swings that require their own bays or frames. When considering the amount of space required, remember to account for the use zone in addition to the dimensional footprint of the equipment. A swing’s use zone is all the space around the swing, which can vary depending on how far the swing extends.

It’s important to consider the use zone to ensure there’s proper space around the swing set to prevent other playground equipment from becoming a hazard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicates that the use zone behind and in front of a swing should never overlap with another use zone. It’s also suggested that swing sets be located away from other commercial playground equipment. This helps reduce the risk of the swings injuring other kids as they play with other equipment.

When measuring the horizontal and vertical space for the frame and use zone, you should also be aware of overhanging  tree branches and other common hazards. Trees are common around playgrounds, though overhanging tree branches pose a hazard for swings. If branches are near the use zone, trim them back and keep them well maintained.

4. What Are Your Visitors’ Needs?

Part of choosing commercial playground equipment is knowing and meeting the needs of your playground’s visitors. In addition to needs based on age, consider the kids’ needs based on ability. This is a great way to determine what swings and other equipment are necessary for creating an inclusive playground.

For example, if you’re looking into new swings for a school playground consider the ability levels of all the students. Do any of your students use mobility devices like crutches or a wheelchair? If so, you should ensure your playground has one or more inclusive swings. If your playground visitors are primarily younger kids, you may consider providing an option for their parent or caregiver to swing with the child.

Keeping your playground visitors in mind when choosing playground swings helps you choose options that will appeal to both the kids and adults.

How Do Swings Benefit Children?

You may consider swinging to be just another fun playground activity. But playing on swings is actually quite beneficial for the growth and development of young kids. Be sure to consider the benefits of playground swings when adding them to your playground.

little girl on swing

Develop Motor Skills

Swinging is a great way for kids to develop gross and fine motor skills. Swinging actually takes a lot of strength, especially when swinging independently. Kids develop gross motor skills when they use their arm muscles to hold onto the chains or ropes and to help pump themselves to swing faster. Their leg muscles are also being engaged as they work to keep the swing moving. Using these muscle groups makes them stronger, which helps them stay healthy and enables them to build muscle for other physical activities.

Kids can also develop fine motor skills while they swing. Gripping the chain or rope with their hands helps them build grip strength, as well as hand and finger coordination. As they use the muscles in their hands, kids are developing the fine motor skills necessary for the classroom. They’ll develop the muscles and coordination needed for holding and manipulating objects and for writing, which will help them long after they step foot off the playground.

Build Core Muscle and Improve Balance

In addition to building arm and leg strength, swinging helps kids build core muscles. Young kids naturally lack balance because they haven’t yet had the chance to build core muscles to help stabilize themselves. Swinging is an effective way to help kids develop core strength. To sit upright on a swing, kids have to use their abdominal muscles. As the motion of swinging moves their bodies in new ways, they learn to stabilize themselves using core muscles, which helps improve their balance.

little boys on tire swing

Develop Coordinated Movements

Teaching kids how to swing is difficult because it requires coordinated movements that develop as kids learn the swings’ movements and cause and effect relationships. Swinging teaches kids that they need to move their legs and arms and tighten their core muscles simultaneously to move the swing. As they practice and figure out the motion of moving back and forth, they’ll learn to successfully coordinate their movements to make the swing move.

Encourage Social Development and Interaction

Swings are a popular aspect of playgrounds, making it more than likely that kids will have to share with others. When a child has to wait their turn to play on the swings, they’re learning how to be patient and take turns with other kids. Sharing the swings with other kids on the playground can even help a child learn how to compromise, cooperate, and deal with conflict. These are valuable social skills kids will need for the rest of their lives.

Swinging also encourages kids to interact and play with others on the playground. This is what swings for multiple riders, like a tire swing, are great for! Instead of waiting for one kid to finish playing with the tire swing, others can simply join in on the fun. This form of play is often how kids make new friends while playing on a playground. Swings encourage kids to communicate, work together, and share ideas with each other.

Playing together on the swings helps teach kids how to act around other kids their age, as well as around kids with different ability levels. The ability to work and cooperate with others is a highly valuable skill that kids can start learning as early as the moment they step foot on the playground.

little girls on swing set

Increase Body and Spatial Awareness

Kids are still learning about how their bodies work and how they respond to certain things. Swinging engages the proprioceptive system, which helps kids become aware of their body and how it moves. As a child pumps their arms and legs to swing, their body takes note of how the muscles and joints are working to create that movement. As the body and brain remember these movements, the child is able to replicate them and become more confident in their movements and actions.

At the same time, swinging helps develop the child’s vestibular system, which is responsible for spatial awareness. Spatial awareness involves the understanding of where your body is positioned in space. The swinging motion requires a kid’s body to constantly adjust its understanding of where it’s positioned in space and in relation to other objects. This also teaches the brain how to support the body as gravity pulls the swing.

Stimulate the Senses

In addition to the proprioceptive and vestibular senses, sensory skills get a boost from swinging. Swinging stimulates sight, hearing, smell, and touch. As they swing, kids get to feel the sun on their skin and the wind in their hair and listen to the swing set chains or rope move and other kids playing. They’ll smell the fresh air and outdoors and feel the chain or rope material of the swing. Combined, these sensory experiences add to the excitement of swinging.

Dad pushing son on swing

Encourage Time Outside

Unstructured time outside is extremely beneficial for growing kids. When kids play on swings outside, they’re more likely to participate in other outdoor activities on the playground. Playing outside helps reduce the risk of childhood obesity because kids engage in more aerobic exercise, which burns more calories. As they pump their arms and legs on the swings, kids can release more energy than playing inside.

Spending time outside on swings and other playground activities also exposes kids to more vitamin D, which helps growing children build strong bones and helps prevent illnesses.

mom and daughter on multi-generational swing

Improve Moods and Attention Span

Swinging is a calming motion, which can put kids in a better mood. Encouraging kids to swing outside exposes them to fresh air and sunlight, which will help boost their mood. Swinging also helps refocus the brain so kids can pay better attention to structured tasks and learning activities. This makes swinging on recess breaks extremely beneficial for kids, especially those with ADHD or other neurodevelopment disorders.

How to Choose Commercial Playground Swings

How to Choose Commercial Playground Swings

Choosing commercial playground swings may seem like an overwhelming process, especially because of how large the selection of potential swings and frames can be.

How do you know you’re choosing the best swings for your commercial playground? In addition to considering the swing type, the space needed, and the age ranges and needs of potential users, here are a few other things to do and look for when choosing commercial playground swings.

  • Look for something unique: Kids are drawn to unique playground equipment that can offer them new experiences. Keep this in mind when choosing commercial playground swings. There are a variety of fun options, so look for a swing product that will generate excitement on your playground. Our Team Swings differ from traditional swings, yet still offer the experience of swinging.
  • Consult a playground designer: If you’re feeling stuck and unsure what products will work best for your playground needs, consider consulting with a playground designer or a representative with playground expertise. Professionals in the playground industry can recommend products for your space and budget.
  • Look for a quality manufacturer: Another thing to look for when choosing playground swings is a quality manufacturer. When it comes to playground equipment, quality and reliability are of utmost importance. Look at the manufacturer’s projects and inspiration boards to get a feel for their level of commitment and quality of their products. Make sure you choose products from a playground company that will help you and provide you with the best products possible.

Find playground swings at Little Tikes Commercial

Find Playground Swings at Little Tikes Commercial

In your search for commercial playground swings, you’ll likely come across many products and companies. Little Tikes Commercial makes finding the perfect swings easy. Our commercial playground swings are more than just another piece to your playground. Our swing designs can be the center of attention or be integrated into the flow of a large playground with many more parts. We create our playground products with safety and fun in mind to provide you with a long-lasting play space.

Contact Little Tikes Commercial so we can help you create a custom swing solution to bring thrilling adventures to the kids on your playground!