Even a climbing frame for a small child is a substantial investment so ask the following questions of sellers on eBay before purchasing.
* In the first place, is it suitable and safe for the ages of children who are going to be using it?
* Next, will it fit comfortably on the site that is available, allowing room for the children to play without falling off it onto something dangerous like a fence?
* Are there plant pots or other garden accessories nearby?
These are bad things to have in the vicinity of a climbing frame when young children are playing on it.
A fourth question is will it be a permanent structure, which has to blend in and form an integral part of the garden design or is it a temporary one that has to be easy to take down to be stored in a garden shed or indoors?
The last question is how much will it be used? There a wide range of climbing frames on the market at a number of different price ranges but the models at the lower end of the price range will not stand up to much wear and tear even with small children.
The smallest children probably want a climbing frame that is really small and simple. It could be used indoors or outside in the garden in the summer and so it must be very light and flexible and ideally should be easily stored away when not in use. The smaller the child the brighter the colours; so choose from a range of really fun colours and designs.
For younger children these smaller climbing frames are usually made of moulded plastic. They are very simple to assemble and are usually designed as a 'first' climbing frame. The moulded plastic is weatherproof and very strong but has enough flexibility in to ensure that if a child does bump into it hard it will not be overly painful. Good plastic climbing frames come from brands like:
* Little Tikes
* The Mookie Monkey Bar system, which is probably better for slightly older kids.
Metal Climbing Frames for Young Children
Metal Climbing frames come in various shapes and sizes and are generally best for outdoor use. Quality metal climbing frames are made from galvanised steel, with smooth steel tubes, which are really strong, won't rust but are light and easily moved. They are usually of modular construction so that the climbing frame can be increased in scale as the children get older. Accessories like swings and slides can be added to make the climbing frame more fun. The tubular steel is always smooth and doesn't splinter which is very important where small children are concerned.
Smaller models designed for younger children are easily assembled and if the instructions are clear and the site suitable then it is quite a fun project to work on with the children giving a helping hand. There are a number of brands that sell metal climbing frames of very good quality at affordable prices and it is advisable to use a system supplied by a tried and tested manufacturer. Watch out for:
Climbing Frame Accessories
Accessories that come with many of the standard, modular systems and it is possible to add to them to make the climbing frame even more challenging and interesting. Ranges of accessories are wide and can be as simple little gadgets on plastic frames like pretend stones, big binoculars, rattles and whistles or short slides. Bigger frames can be improved with:
* climbing ropes
* monkey bars
* climbing walls
* cargo nets
Climbing Frame Surfaces for Young Children
It is worth taking some time and possibly making a small investment in the surface upon which the climbing frame sits and the application of some woodchip or rubber matting can, at least break the fall of a young child. Grass works well with smaller frames as the height the child can fall is generally pretty low but in a hot summer the grass can die off after a lot of use and the ground can become compacted and hard.
Wooden Climbing Frames for Young Children
With wooden climbing frames the important aspect is to make sure the quality of timber is appropriate. There is a huge range of options offered by good climbing frame manufacturers, and a standard climbing tower with a ladder and a rope is a good first step. Extra towers, cargo nets, monkey bars, slides and climbing passages can all be added in stages to the standard frame to make for a better climb and an even more compelling outdoor activity.
It is important to make sure the timber has been properly dried and is a quality pine such as Cedar. In an ideal situation it should have been seasoned naturally and then smoothed and pressure treated to keep the climbing frame free of splinters.
Brands in this market are generally not particularly well known as a lot of independent, local joiners and timber suppliers will build high quality product in an almost bespoke way. That said it is worth looking at:
* Action Climbing Frame
Climbing Frame Safety Standards
If buying a climbing frame for a young child, no matter what material it is made of, there are certain health and safety standards which should be accredited to the product once it has been inspected. Climbing frames should meet the RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) Standard. They should also have been inspected and approved to EN1176 Playground Safety Directive from Europe. Check with the seller that these standards have been obtained before buying a climbing frame.
It is inevitable that young children playing on a climbing frame will have the occasional bump and it is a shame to over protect them from the natural pitfalls in life. These guidelines are perfectly sensible and just make sure that no unnecessary accidents occur.
All the ropes and other accessories should be of a specification that passes all the required health and safety legislation to give the children the best possible protection within reason but to also give parents peace of mind.
Climbing frames bring huge benefits to children throughout their early years and right up to the ages or 11 or 12. Great fun, they get the children away from the TV or game console and outside. Even small children will gain a huge amount from having a little freedom to take the odd risk. It defines their mental boundaries and provides them with small challenges, which are the bedrock of advancement into maturity and the real world.
Having to really concentrate and think about how to make a particular ascent is a great challenge and whilst it is important not to frighten the smaller children the climbing frame in the right place and at the right scale is a very useful addition to their education.
Most importantly, however it is all about fun and parents should be careful not to put the climbing frame in a place that is dark and cold. Keep it in the sunshine and make it easily accessible and the children will thoroughly enjoy it and benefit hugely from it.
How to Buy a Climbing Frame on eBay
Now that you know which Climbing Frame you want you can find them quickly and easily on eBay. To start shopping, go to Toys & Games then the Outdoor toys & Activities. Click on the Climbing frames sub-category portal.
Use the Climbing Frame Finder to quickly narrow down item listings by brand, model and condition (new or used).
Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find New Climbing Frames, type the keywords "Climbing Frames New" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click, "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.
If you can't find exactly what you want, try browsing eBay Stores or tell the eBay Community what you're looking for by creating a post on save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a matching item becomes available.
Buy Climbing Frames with Confidence
Make sure that you know exactly what you're buying and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.
Know the Item
* Read the details in the item listing carefully.
* Remember to add delivery costs to the final price. If buying a high value item, check that the seller will insure it until it is delivered.
* If you want more information, click the "Ask seller a question" button on the seller's profile or the "Ask a question" link at the bottom of the item listing page.
* Always complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy it Now or Best Offer) otherwise you will not be covered by eBay Buyer Protection.
* Never pay for an eBay item using an instant cash wire transfer service like Western Union or MoneyGram. These are not safe ways of paying someone you do not know.
Know the Seller
Research the seller to feel safe and positive about every transaction.
* What is the seller's Feedback rating?
* How many transactions have they completed?
* How many positive responses do they have?
* What do buyers say in their Feedback?
* Are they positive about the seller?
Most top eBay sellers operate like retail shops and have a returns policy.
* Do they offer a money-back guarantee?
* What are their terms and conditions?
In the very unlikely event that you do not receive your item or it is not as described, eBay Buyer Protection covers your purchase price plus original delivery cost.