In the warm weather months, the healthiest and most fun activity for children is playing outdoors. Taking trips to your local playground is a great way for your kids to get exercise, play, and meet new friends. But children need to be supervised at all times at the playground, especially at younger ages. It is not safe to let children go to parks and playgrounds without a trusted adult, but parents don't have the time to be there as much as their kids want to. Getting an outdoor play set at the home is a great way for children to get all the high energy, supervised backyard fun they need, while keeping the peace of mind that they are safe and close to home.

Home play sets can get expensive. A good set can easily cost thousands of dollars, and extra features can run the cost up even further. Here are some essential shopping tips to help parents balance cost, safety, and fun when purchasing and outdoor play set.

You should always have the set assembled by a professional. This ensures it is properly put together and safe for play. Many companies that sell play sets have their own teams that do this, and offer a guarantee with the assembly cost.

The most common cause of injuries on any playground is the lack of a proper protective ground surface when children fall. Cover the ground around the play set with rubber chips, sand, or wood chips, and follow the manufacturer specifications for how deep the ground cover needs to be.

Classic styles of play sets tend to be the most popular. There is always a flavor of the month, but standard slides, swings, and play houses have always been popular with children and will never go out of style.

Cedar and redwood woods are the safest and most durable. Cheaper wood types may save money, but they decay faster and are often treated with harmful chemicals.

It is very exciting for children to get a play set at their own home. They may want you to go for the biggest and most exciting models, but balance these desires with the safety and value tips above. A great starting point for home play set shopping is