10 Best Play Gyms Reviewed and Tested

Kids aren’t always the easiest to entertain, and as parents, we can really struggle with figuring out the best choices when purchasing entertainment options. We all know how much most kids love to play outside, especially at the park! That’s exactly why getting your kids an awesome new play gym is such a fantastic idea! It’s guaranteed to keep your kiddos happy and entertained for hours at a time. Plus, you can sit back, relax and enjoy watching them have a blast! The best part is we took all of the hard work of researching and comparing out of it for you! We have compiled this list of the best play gyms for kids just for you. We took into consideration everything from the materials used to the cost and took care to pay special attention to user reviews!

Our Top 3 Picks

Backyard Discovery Sky Fort
  • Backyard Discovery Sky Fort
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Popular Item
  • Price: See Here
Backyard Discovery Saratoga
  • Backyard Discovery Saratoga
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Great Features
  • Price: See Here
Gorilla Playsets Chateau
  • Gorilla Playsets Chateau
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Smaller Footprint
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Play Gyms

 

1. Backyard Discovery Sky Fort II

Ranking number one on the list is the Skyfort II from Backyard Discovery! It features a large fort with a crow’s nest, surrounded by swings, monkey bars and a slide. It’s huge list of features and flashy appearance makes this play gym a huge hit with the kiddos!
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Roomy Play Fort

This dazzling play gym features an extra roomy fort. The fort itself is full of features including a covered entryway, bay windows, and a roomy front porch with a sun balcony as well as a crow’s nest!

Features and Specifications

All cedar construction
Large raised play fort
Crow’s nest
Rock wall
2 belt swings
2-person glider
Lower play deck
Picnic table
10’ slide
Monkey bars
Sandbox
Sun balcony
Standard ladder

Price/Value

It completely makes sense that this play gym is a bit pricier. Even though it is pricier, it is one of the best values. This play gym is so full of different features and activity options as well as being beautifully designed with safety and longevity in mind. If you have multiple children to play, this is a wonderful set well worth the money.

Conclusion

While this is one of the more expensive play gyms, it’s for a good reason and also has one of the best values. This play gym really has it all and will not disappoint. Not to mention the beautiful edition it makes to your backyard.
Pros
  • Fort has plenty of room for children to move around and play
  • Rot-resistant wood helps preserve the play gym for many seasons
  • Beautiful design looks amazing in any backyard
  • Huge size and tons of features are ideal for multiple children
Cons

Expensive

Assembly is somewhat complicated

2. Backyard Discovery Saratoga

This exciting play gym comes from Backyard Discovery. It’s got great features, can entertain multiple children at the same time, and won’t break the bank! It’s a great option and would be a nice addition for any backyard!
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Play house

This play gym has a play house below a raised play deck! The play house features doors and windows that give it a realistic feeling. It’s guaranteed to be a favorite of the kids.

Features and Specifications
Play house
Raised play deck
Covered bench
8’ slide
2 belt swings
2-person glider swing
Monkey bars
Ladder
Wooden roof

Price/Value

The Saratoga play gym from Backyard Discovery is a nice mid-priced play gym. It isn’t as expensive as some of the bigger options while still providing great opportunities for playing. The value of this play gym is undeniable.

Conclusion

This is certainly a great play gym choice. It’s got a lot of great features and is unique in providing a raised play deck above a closing play house. This is definitely a great option if you are looking to spend a little less but still get all of the great features of the pricier choices.
Pros

Covered bench provides a good place for resting and snacks

Plenty of room for multiple kids to play at once

Provides kids with fun challenges such as monkey bars

Good number of features while remaining fairly affordable

8’ slide is wavy providing extra safety

Cons

Instructions can be somewhat confusing

3. Gorilla Playsets Chateau

The play gym from Gorilla Playsets is truly magnificent. It’s got a ton of amazing features but manages to beautifully fit them into a slightly smaller footprint than many of the other large play gyms on the list.
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The deck designed, or treehouse, on this unbelievable wooden play gym is nice and roomy. It has plenty of space to move around and can easily accommodate multiple children at once. It also features two lovely windows that both have real working shutters that really add to the beauty of this play gym. Additionally, it has a sunburst, an adorable chimney and even a tic-tac-toe panel!

Features and Specifications

Made from cedar wood
Extra roomy treehouse
Climbing wall
Deluxe rope ladder
Steering wheel
Telescope
Built-in picnic table
Windows with working shutters
Flag accents
Chimney

Price/Value

There is no doubt that this play gym has a truly wonderful value. It is one of the most expensive play gyms on the list but you can definitely see where that extra money goes, and it is definitely well-worth every penny!

Conclusion

The Gorilla Playsets Chateau Treehouse Tower is stunning, sturdy, roomy, innovative, and has a list of great features that seems to just go on and on. It is absolutely worth the money if you can afford it. This is a truly ideal option when you have plenty of kids to keep entertained.
Pros

Plenty of play options entertains multiple children for longer periods of time

Stunning design provides a lovely visual addition to your yard

Well-built out of beautiful cedar wood

10-year warranty on the lumber

Sturdy and designed to last for many years

Cons

Expensive

Complicated assembly

4. Gorilla Playsets Mountain Ridge

Another great choice from Gorilla playsets, this massive play gym has just about everything that the Chateau has AND more! Seriously, you could not want more out of a play gym. It’s got a massive list of features and is very well constructed. It should last many years of amazing play.
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Swing Set

This grand play gym features a super fun swing set off to the side. The swing set includesa swings with belts as well as a trapeze one.

Features and Specifications

Made from cedar wood
Extra roomy treehouse
Climbing wall
Ladder
Safety entry to ladder
Steering wheel
Telescope
Built-in picnic table
Windows with working shutters
Flag accents
Chimney

Price/Value

Even being the top of list as far as cost goes, this play gym has incredible value with it’s long list of features and sturdy construction.

Conclusion

If you can afford this incredible play gym, you will not regret it. The look on your kids’ faces when they first see it will be well-worth it, and it will last for years to come.
Pros

Massive amount of room and options for play

Can accommodate tons of kids playing at once

Absolutely beautiful design

Sturdy and well-built

10-year warranty on lumber

Cons

Most expensive play gym on the list

Complicated assembly

5. Step2 Clubhouse

This is an awesome play gym for little ones from Step2! It’s able to accommodate multiple children and can be used outdoors or indoors. It’s nice and sturdy, although it may not last as long as some of the other options on the list. The features are unique and fun; it’s a perfect choice for parents with younger kids!
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Bridge

A unique feature of this play gym is it’s bridge! The bridge connects the play deck to the cool lookout tower! The bridge also has safety rails to help avoid falls.

Features and Specifications

Play deck
Lookout tower
Dual windows
Bridge
Skylight
2 slides
Hide-out area
Crawl-thru tunnel
Climbing ladder
Recommended for ages 2-6 years

Price/Value

Considering how affordable this play gym is and all the notable features it has, it definitely has a wonderful value.

Conclusion

This is one great play gym that is absolutely perfect for parents with younger children, especially if you have a tighter budget and can’t afford some of the more expensive picks.
Pros

Perfect for outdoor or indoor use

Smaller size of features makes it ideal for little children

Multiple safety features give parents peace of mind

Room for several kids to all play together

One of the cheapest options on the list

Cons

Not good for older children

Not quite as durable as some of the other options on the list

6. Lifetime Big Stuff Adventure

This amazing play gym from Lifetime is built to last. It’s got a great design and is incredibly well made. There is no doubt that this play gym will be providing lots of fun entertainment for many years to come!
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Climbing Wall

This play gym features an exciting climbing wall! The wall has holes throughout to provide good placement for hands and feet as children climb up it. It leads to a nice clubhouse with a sturdy roof. After climbing the climbing wall, kids can go down the awesome 9’ wavy slide!

Features and Specifications

Climbing wall
Cargo net
Propeller swing
2 belt swings
Trapeze bar
Soft rubber grips on swing chains
Clubhouse with hardtop roof
Chalkboard
9’ wavy slide
UV resistant
Steering wheel
Binoculars
Lead-free

Price/Value

This is one of the most expensive play gyms to make the list, but it is for good reason. This play gym has excellent construction guaranteed to last for many years. It’s also full of great features providing tons of entertainment for multiple children at once. It may be pricey, but it’s got great value!

Conclusion

Overall, this is an excellent choice for a play gym! It’s large, looks very nice, and has great construction! It’s also full of fun features that will thrill the kids for hours on end! If you’re able to afford this play gym, it really is a fantastic long-term investment, especially for families that have multiple children to entertain.
Pros

Plenty of fun features to keep kids entertained for hours

Sturdy design helps preserve play gym for many years

Lead-free materials give parents peace of mind

Swing grips prevent painful pinching

Steel construction prevents warping, cracking, rotting, and splintering

Cons

Expensive

Can be difficult to assemble

7. Backyard Discovery Prestige

This play gym might not be quite as fancy as many of the options on the list, but it still has great features and is sure to be well-loved by the kids! Its simple design takes up less space than other choices but still provides good options for play.
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Rock Climbing Wall Ladder

This basic play gym has a super fun rock climbing wall ladder combo! It allows for options when deciding how to get up to the play deck and slide. Kids can choose to either go up it like an ordinary ladder, or they can use the plastic rocks and go rock climbing up the wall!

Features and Specifications

Rock climbing wall ladder
Play deck
Safety handles
8’ slide
Canopy roof
2 belt swings
Snack stand with bench
Trapeze bar

Price/Value

This play gym definitely has a wonderful value! It is extremely affordable, coming in at the cheapest option on the list, but still has great choices for play and accommodates multiple children.

Conclusion

This is an absolutely perfect beginner’s play gym. Construction is fairly simple and the price can’t be beat. It’s nice and simple but still offers good choices for playing while accommodating multiple children playing together.
Pros

Cheapest option to make it on the list

Simple but fun design provides multiple playing options

Rock climbing wall ladder is fun and unique

Wonderful beginner play gym

Works very well for a variety of ages

Cons

Less features as many of the other options

Not quite as durable as other options on the list

8. Swing-N-Slide Grandview Twist

This play gym really has it all. Its gorgeous design will be a lovely centerpiece in any backyard. It is guaranteed to wow all the kids with its endless features! Not to mention how well-designed and sturdy it is! This will be something to last for years and years and the kids will not get tired of it!
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Twisting Tube Slide

This impressive play gym features a super fun twisting tube slide! The slide is completely enclosed creating a fun and adventurous tunnel for the kids to slide down! The twists in the slide give it an awesome look and add a little something extra compared to ordinary slides.

Features and Specifications

Twisting tube slide
Flat slide with a twist
2 belt swings
2-person glider swing
4-foot play deck
5-foot play deck
Rock climbing wall
Durable and stylish wood roof
Powder coated metal monkey bars
Included ground anchors
Fully illustrated instructions

Price/Value

This play gym has a really great value! It’s got so much room to play and plenty of different features. It’s definitely worth it’s slightly higher price tag.

Conclusion

This play gym is an especially good choice if you have quite a few kids to accommodate! This play gym has everything a kid could want and more.
Pros

2 unique slides provide multiple sliding experiences

Metal monkey bars are powder coated to help prevent rust

Ground anchors are included so you dont have to purchase them separately

Has two different heights on two separate play decks

Rock climbing wall provides a fun challenge for kids

Tons of room for kids and all their friends

Cons

Can be somewhat difficult to assemble

On the pricier side

9. Swing-N-Slide Jamboree Fort

The Swing-N-Slide Jamboree Fort Playset is a great play gym for families that want a really nice play gym that doesn’t cost quite as much as some of the other options on the list. It includes plenty of playing options and accommodates multiple children at once.
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Cool Wave Slide

The cool wave slide on this play gym is made in the USA and can hold up to 250lbs. It also comes with a lifetime warranty against cracks and breaks.

Features and Specifications

Recommended for ages 3-10
Constructed of premium cedar
2 swings
Picnic table with awning
Trapeze combo bar
Covered play deck
Cool wave slide
Climbing wall
Non-magnifying telescope

Price/Value

This play gym is close to the middle of the list in terms of price. Considering all of its awesome features, it’s definitely a great buy.

Conclusion

This play gym is less expensive without taking away from all of the great options for play. It’s an excellent, more affordable option for families looking for a good play gym with lots of features.
Pros

Multiple features provide plenty of play options

Slide comes with a lifetime warranty

Can accommodate up to 10 children at once

Awning provides shade for the picnic table

Cons

Assembly can be difficult

10. Step2 Playhouse

Another good option from Step2 that also includes a swing set! Taking up less space than most of the other play gyms, it’s great if you don’t have a big backyard but still want a fun way to entertain your little ones outdoors or it can even be used indoors.
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Dual-Level Play house

This play gym features a great dual-level play house. The play house includes a roomy upper balcony with railings for safety leading to the 5 ½’ slide. The lower level of the play house has a swinging door as well as portals to crawl through.

Features and Specifications

Recommended for ages 3-8
2 belt swings
5 ½’ slide
Balcony
Secret play house

Price/Value

Coming in near the middle of the list, this play gym is not the cheapest nor the most expensive. It is made well of good materials and can be used by several small children at once. Overall, it is definitely worth the price. It’s perfect for a family looking to entertain their young kids without breaking the bank.

Conclusion

This is a wonderful starter play gym. It’s good for families not looking for a long-term investment. It’s very cute and guaranteed to be well loved by little children.
Pros

Perfect play gym for smaller kids

Smaller size saves space

Durable and weather-resistant

Easy assembly

Cons

Won’t work for older kids

Play Gym Safety

One of the most important things you want to consider when choosing a play gym for your children is safety! Nothing could be more important than protecting our children from harm. There are some universal things to keep in mind no matter which play gym you pick though.

Follow Recommendations

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for age. Each product is designed with a different age and maturity level in mind and not following those guidelines can cause dangerous accidents.

Buy New

You should always buy your play gym new so that you know that it meets the current safety regulations and can register it in case of recalls.

Follow Assembly Instructions

In order to ensure that your play gym is properly installed, follow the instructions very carefully and don’t skip over anything. The last thing you want is an accident to be caused by unsafe or improper assembly.

Consider Spatial Restrictions

One thing that a lot of people tend to forget about is how much space around the play gym will be needed to keep everyone safe. The play gym doesn’t just need to fit into the space it’s going in, but it needs to have an adequate amount of room around it as well. Most play gyms will come with recommendations about placement in the instructions.

Fall Protection

Something else you should consider is what your play gym is on top of. Ideally, you want something under the play gym that will protect your child and minimize the impact. There are several options of what you can use for this. Sand or pea gravel will work and are relatively inexpensive, but there are safer options. Mulch and wood chips are fairly good options that should last a little longer and won’t blow away in the wind. An added benefit is that they won’t invite in unwanted cats and therefore are more sanitary. The safest option though would probably be some form of rubber. From shredded rubber to rubber mats or poured rubber, you have plenty of options that can aid in keeping your precious little ones from harm. If you choose a loose fill material, you’ll want to make sure that it is a minimum of 6” deep, but depending on the material and height of equipment, you may want it deeper than that.

Enforce Safety Rules

Make sure your kids know how to be safe. Don’t allow them to push or grab and make sure they are old enough and mature enough to use the equipment safely. If your play gym includes swings, make sure your children know that they should never kneel or stand on swings and that they should be holding on with both hands while swinging. They should also get off of swings only once the swing is no longer moving. Children should also maintain a safe distance from the swings when other children are using them. It would be very unfortunate to have a child hit by another child swinging and could cause serious injury to both children.

Supervise

One of the most obvious things you can do to ensure safe use of your play gym, is to supervise it’s use. You should always be close by and watching to make sure that no injuries occur. It is especially important to supervise very young children. Often times, younger children will need your assistance to even use the play gym, so keep that in mind as well.

Check for Hazards

You should always check your child’s play space for potential hazards. This could be anything from fallen sticks to insects. Common things to look out for are wasp nests and ant hills. You’ll also want to look over the play gym for any loose pieces or rust. Just keep your eyes out for anything that could pose a potential risk for your children.

As long as you follow these simple guidelines, you should have no issues in keeping your little ones safe while they use their awesome new play gym!

Criteria for Evaluation

Price

 We know that not everybody is made of money, and were careful to take that into consideration when putting together this list. We included play gyms that would work for a range of budgets, but most importantly, we made sure that each and every play gym that made the list had a good value for the cost. With an investment like this, we want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting. We are confident that there is a good play gym for families of all budgets on our list.

Materials

What a play gym is made out of makes a huge difference in attractiveness, durability, and longevity. We made sure to include this in our evaluation criteria when putting this list together. Steel and wood are what most play gyms are made out of and you want to make sure to consider which one is better for your family when choosing which set to purchase. Steel has the advantage of no chance of peeling or rotting like some wood products will. However, high-quality wood products like the ones on our list will stand up against these risks as well, especially if properly maintained. One of the cool things about the wooden play gyms is that they often are able to be customized and they always have a stunning appearance adding a nice affect in any backyard.

Features

Something that you should definitely consider is the number of features that you want, and which specific features are important to you and your kids. We thought about this, and included play gyms with all sorts of different features and activities on the list. You may want something space saving and simple that might have less features. However, if you have the money for it, and a lot of kids to entertain, you may want to consider one of the play gyms on the list that’s packed with all sorts of different options. There is everything from slides and monkey bars to play forts and flying saucers. Think about what your child’s favorite activity at the park is and make sure to snag a play gym that has that option for them!

User Reviews

Nobody knows better than the consumers about which products are best. We search through hundreds of reviews for every product before deciding if it makes the list or not. We took into consideration the bad and the good and chose products that were well loved by the adults who make the purchases and the children who use the play gyms. This gives us the most confidence that we can provide a list of play gyms that is guaranteed to be loved by all.

FAQ

Are play gyms safe for toddlers?

Whether or not a play gym is safe for a younger child such as a toddler depends on the play gym. There are many play gyms that are perfectly safe for even very small children. Just make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as well as the safety guidelines listed above. You know your child better than anyone, so if anything makes you feel uneasy or unsafe, listen to your gut.

How long will assembly take?

The amount of time that assembly takes will greatly vary from play gym to play gym. The smaller, simpler play gyms may only take a few hours. However, the bigger, more complex play gyms will certainly take longer. Some play gyms may even take many hours split up over several days to complete. Think about this ahead of time when purchasing play gyms for special occasions such as birthdays or holidays. You don’t want to give a 4-year-old a play gym on their birthday that won’t be ready for another week. That could be very disappointing for children, so it’s a good idea to purchase the play gym well in advance if giving it as a gift.

Can I assemble the play gym on my own?

Sure! You can certainly put most play gyms together on your own without any help. However, that is going to be highly dependent on you. If you are not in good shape or have anything that limits your physical ability, you will definitely want to get some help. You may want to consider getting some help anyways, as assembling alone will definitely increase the time the project takes. Doing this alone can be very time-consuming and tedious. You also have the option of hiring a professional to assemble your play gym. This should cut down on time and stress. It will, of course, be more expensive to have a professional do it. However, many people agree that it is well-worth the extra cost to have peace of mind that the play gym is built properly and efficiently. Some of the play gyms on our list offer the option to pay for professional assembly at purchase.

Will I need tools to put my play gym together?

It will, again, depend on which play gym you purchase. Most play gyms will require you to have at least some basic tools, with some requiring you to even have a drill. Take that into consideration when you choose your play gym and make sure you are prepared when it arrives. Another benefit to having a professional assemble your play gym, would be that they would have their own tools giving you one less thing to worry about.

Can I customize my play gym?

Depending on which play gym you choose, you will likely be able to customize it to some extent. Often times, you can switch out the placement of certain features or leave a feature off if you don’t like it or don’t have space for it. For example, some of the play gyms come with a swing set extension located at the end of the set that you have the option of leaving off. Wooden playsets could be stained or painted the color of your choice as well. Just make sure that if you decide to deviate from the original design that you know what you are doing and don’t take any unnecessary risks. Safety is the most important thing to consider.

What kind of care does it require?

Check with your play gym manufacturer to determine what kind of care is needed for your particular play gym. Some play gyms take practically no maintenance at all, while others will require special care. Some wooden play gyms will need to be stained and/or coated every so often. It’s a good idea to do that once a year. You should always regularly look over your play gym for signs of damage or wear. Sand down any rough or sharp edges on wooden pieces, and consider tightening bolts every so often to prevent them from loosening after lots of use. If you do not care for your play gym properly, it can increase risk of accidents and injuries as well as shorten the amount of time you are able to use your play gym.

Do I have to anchor it to the ground?

This is something you will need to check with your specific play gym manufacturer. Most of these play gyms do not require anchoring them to the ground. However, many of them may benefit from it. Anchoring can increase safety, stability, and durability. Some play gyms come with anchors, while some do not. If your play gym does not come with anchors, you can purchase them separately if you want to or need to anchor your play gym.

What if I need replacement parts?

Almost all play gym manufacturers sell individual replacement parts for their play gyms. If you should need something, just call the manufacturer and let them know.

Is it worth the investment if my children are already older?

Absolutely! There are all sorts of play gyms to meet all sorts of needs. We have several play gyms on the list that can appropriately accommodate older children and even adults. It’s never too late to invest in a great play gym.

Can it be moved to a new location after installation?

This will really depend on the size and construction of your play gym. Most of the large play gyms would be very difficult, almost impossible, to deconstruct, move and reconstruct. You’ll want to think about how long you plan to be at your current residence when deciding which set may be best for you and your family. However, there are some play gyms that it would be completely reasonable and doable to deconstruct and then reconstruct in a new location.

What is the best age to buy my child their first play gym?

Really, any age is a great age to buy a play gym. Even if you only have an infant, they will grow into the play gym and any of its features. If your play gym has swings included, you could even replace one with an infant/toddler swing temporarily. The younger your children are when you first buy, the longer they will be able to use and enjoy your purchase.

Can I use the play gym with my children?

To find the answer to this question, please refer to your particular play gym’s recommendations. Many play gyms can safely accommodate most adults. However, there are also lots of play gyms made for only children to use safely. Be smart and safe and if you aren’t sure, you can always call and ask the play gym’s manufacturer.

Do I have to use something such as sand underneath my play gym?

Well, no, technically it is not a requirement. However, it is best practice and much safer to put something underneath the play gym to help minimize fall impacts. Your child is much less likely to be seriously injured if they have something to land on that will help absorb their fall.