Which Little Tikes playground is best?

Are you thinking about bringing the playground to your own backyard this year? Little Tikes has been making large plastic outdoor toys and play equipment for over 50 years. From swing sets to sandboxes, Little Tikes makes large plastic and wooden playground-inspired sets that fit conveniently on a patio or in your backyard. Take a look at the Little Tikes Adventures Bobcat Ridge Backyard Playset for a sprawling option that’s perfect for big play dates.

What to know before you buy a Little Tikes playground

Age range

Little Tikes makes toys and playsets for children as young as 6 months old. While playground equipment is ultimately weight-based, you can determine how appropriate a set is based on the age range it is designed to accommodate. The standard age range for the plastic sets is 3 to 8 years old, and the standard age range for sets with a wooden frame is usually 3 to 10 years old.

Design

Little Tikes swing sets and playgrounds are constructed from wood and/or brightly colored molded plastic. Plastic sets require less assembly, while wood sets are stronger and have higher weight capacities. Wooden sets are constructed from Chinese cedar, while plastic sets use recyclable materials that are free of Bisphenol A  and latex.

Multifunction

Little Tikes playgrounds use every inch of space with areas often pulling double-duty. All sides of the set are utilized. A clubhouse, for instance, isn’t just a clubhouse. It often provides the roof for a bungalow, rope swing or picnic bench area. There might be a slide on one end, but instead of a standard ladder on the other, there might be a climbing wall that maximizes the set’s usage. 

What to look for in a quality Little Tikes playground

Divided play spaces 

A great playground set features well-defined play areas so that multiple kids can play at a time without fighting over space. Whether the set is large or small, wood or plastic, it gives kids the opportunity to play together or solo with ease. Each area provides diverse and engaging play opportunities that are naturally partitioned through the set’s design without blocking off any one spot entirely.   

Weather-resistant

Most Little Tikes playgrounds are strictly for outdoor use, so weather-resistant materials matter. For wood, this means a water-based stain to prevent rot and damage. This can last about a year or two, and you’ll want to reseal the set regularly to keep it in good condition. Plastic sets are less durable overall but tend to hold up well in different weather conditions. 

Shade

Shaded areas can mean the difference between a well-used playset and a playset that sits empty all summer long. Little Tikes uses plastic, wood or fabric coverings to shade clubhouse areas. In addition to keeping kids out of the hot sun, shaded areas provide kids with private spaces that feel like their own. A clubhouse serves some of the same basic functions as a playhouse without requiring you to purchase a separate piece of equipment.

How much you can expect to spend on a Little Tikes playground

Plastic Little Tikes playgrounds cost $250-$600, and wooden Little Tikes playgrounds cost $1,000-$2,000.

Little Tikes playground FAQ

Is there a weight capacity?

A. There is always a weight capacity with playgrounds, but that capacity depends on the size and strength of the set. A plastic Little Tikes set has a weight capacity of about 65 to 320 pounds, while a wooden set can have a capacity of 300 to 1,320 pounds.

How many people are needed to set it up? 

A. The company recommends two to three adults for putting a wooden playset together. Assembly can take 8 to 13 hours.  Plastic sets require two people but less time. Ultimately, the number of people and hours needed depends on the size of the set. 

Does the set need to be anchored?

A. A playground set should always be anchored to the ground. This prevents components from tipping, which can result in injury. Most sets come with an anchoring kit, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing one that is compatible with the equipment. 

What’s the best Little Tikes playground to buy?

Top Little Tikes playground

Little Tikes Adventures Bobcat Ridge Backyard Playset

Little Tikes Adventures Bobcat Ridge Backyard Playset

What you need to know: This cedar wood outdoor set features four play areas, can accommodate up to 12 children at a time and is designed for kids 3 to 10 years old.

What you’ll love: It’s great for large families or play dates. It features a shaded multi-tiered clubhouse, rock climbing wall, cargo net, monkey bars, rope bridge, plastic slide and swings. Everything is spaced out well, and there’s a built-in picnic table.

What you should consider: Assembly is difficult, and the wood could be more durable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Top Little Tikes playground for the money

Little Tikes 2-in-1 Castle Climber

Little Tikes 2-in-1 Castle Climber

What you need to know: This plastic set features three play areas, can accommodate up to three children at a time and is designed for kids 2 to 6 years old.

What you’ll love: It’s a great starter playground. It has fun castle-themed details in the faux wood, faux brickwork and drawbridge-style slide. There are two platforms and a rope plank. It’s made for indoor and outdoor use.

What you should consider: It’s smaller than it looks, and assembly is required. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

Worth checking out

Little Tikes Real Wood Adventures Wildcat Falls Outdoor Playset

Little Tikes Real Wood Adventures Wildcat Falls Outdoor Playset

What you need to know: This cedar wood outdoor set features four play areas, can accommodate up to 10 children at a time and is designed for kids 3 to 10 years old.

What you’ll love: It is durable and features a shaded clubhouse with a bungalow play area below. There’s a slide, swings, vertical cargo net, platform area, rock climbing wall and rope climbing wall. 

What you should consider: It’s difficult to assemble, and some reviewers said the wood arrived damaged.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Emily Verona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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