After seeing a reader comment thread about keeping kids active indoors, we decided to round up the best indoor play equipment for young kids. As the weather gets colder (or on any bad-weather day), and as we wait for the vaccine to be approved for kids under 12, indoor play gyms are a great choice to keep your kids busy on the weekends and beyond.
For indoor fun, there’s a lot more out there than just mini trampolines and doorway jumpers (both of which have safety issues). Here’s some of the best indoor play equipment at various price points — with one option suitable for adults, too!
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This play gym from Gym1 is what Kat bought a few years ago for her two boys, and she highly recommends it! The six-piece play set includes plastic rings, a swing, a climbing ladder, a trapeze bar, a knotted rope, and a pull-up bar and is $144. The four-piece set is $121 and has everything but the trapeze bar and rope. (You can currently get 10% off either one with a clickable Amazon coupon.)
As for assembly and installation, the company promises “no drilling, no hammering, no stress” — and once everything’s put together, the elements are interchangeable. Just make sure the doorway you’re using is 25″-36″ wide. And if you or your partner want to join in the fun, you can — the steel structure holds up to 300 lbs.
Kat’s $.02: The trickiest part is finding space in your home that has a doorjamb you can monopolize for it and then about 6–8 feet clear both in front of and behind the door. If you have younger kids, you can do even less than that. And my son really likes the seat that came with the set, but you can also buy other seats on Amazon for more comfort.
Here’s a recommendation from April: a foldable Pikler Triangle. As she wrote in her post about it last summer, the Pikler Triangle is associated with the Montessori educational philosophy and was created by Hungarian pediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler. This play structure teaches kids up to age 5 to play independently, learn their boundaries, and solve problems.
The climbing frame, which is handmade in the U.S.A., is made from 13-ply, sustainable, formaldehyde-free Euro Birch and solid hardwood. It’s sealed with a zero-VOC, UV-cured finish, which means that it’s easy to clean and won’t release any volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be harmful.
The Pikler Triangle is $285 at radchildrensfurniture.com. If you choose to add a ramp, the price goes up to $410 (short ramp) or $440 (longer ramp). (Amazon also has a few options starting at $150ish.)
A reader recommended this gymnastics bar (along with this $25 mat to place underneath it for safety), and it has hundreds of positive reviews, too. Although she bought it as a birthday gift for her 5-year-old, she says that both her 7-year-old and 10-year-old also play on it for hours.
The height is adjustable, so kids of all ages can use it, as the customer images on Amazon show. Reviewers say it’s sturdy and safe — and when your kids aren’t using it, it can be folded and put away.
The bar is $87 (blue) and $85 (pink).
Another commenter mentioned the brand Brain Rich Kids, and their wall-mounted and tension-mounted play gyms look amazing! The designs are based on the Swedish Wall, which was invented by a Swedish teacher, Per Henrik Ling.
One of the company’s bestsellers is the Model W2, which is designed for kids age 3 and up, is made of steel (it holds up to 220 lbs.!), and comes in orange and gray. It includes monkey bars, wall bars, a swing, and a climbing net and is $499.
Readers, do you have any recommendations for the best indoor play equipment? What are your favorite indoor active games to play with your kids?
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