Many may have their first experience with monkey bars either in a public or school playground.
They are usually made of metal.
But did you know there are at least four materials that monkey bars can be made from?
That’s what we’re here to discuss.
Monkey bars are usually made of metal, either solid steel or galvanized steel. However, various settings also use different materials, such as wood, cable lines, and rope. Steel and wood are more durable than cable lines and rope but they are also more expensive and need more maintenance. Each of the materials has its pros and cons.
Monkey Bars: What You Need To Know
Monkey bars are a piece of play equipment that looks like a suspended ladder.
But you must know that already since they are common in playgrounds.
You must have experienced them when you were young and if you have children at home, then surely you’ve seen them enjoy them.
What’s great about them is they aren’t just fun to play on, they also have a lot of benefits, especially for children.
- It’s a very active type of play so it’s a form of exercise for them.
- It improves locomotor skills.
- It develops socialization skills as they are encouraged to bond with other playing children.
- It allows children to become more confident and independent.
- Risk-averse children can get over their fears.
- It relieves stress because it is fun.
Materials Commonly Used To Make Monkey Bars
Monkey bars can be made of a variety of materials, each with its own pros and cons. Here are the most common monkey bars materials:
Monkey bars in public parks and school playgrounds are usually made of steel. They are made of either of the following:
- Solid steel – made of metal alloys of iron
- Galvanized steel – regular steel coated in zinc to prevent corrosion
What are the advantages of using steel in making monkey bars?
PRO #1: Durability
Steel is the most durable material for monkey bars and other play equipment.
And that’s exactly why it is the most common material for public play equipment since it can withstand various elements.
One such element is the deluge of children that would congregate in the playground.
Most public and school monkey bars don’t have shade, so they are also exposed to the natural elements–sun, rain, snow, and extreme weather condition.
PRO #2: Low Maintenace
You rarely see utility people fussing over the monkey bars in schools or community playgrounds.
And they don’t need to because metal monkey bars are so easy to maintain.
You don’t need to think about possible rotting or splintering.
Breakage is quite rare too.
Plus, metal equipment is relatively easy to clean.
PRO #3: Many Designs to Choose From
Most playgrounds just have the basic monkey bars design that looks like suspended monkey bars.
Truthfully, monkey bars can come in many different designs.
What are some of them?
- Straight monkey bars – these are the basic ones you see in almost all playgrounds
- Wavy monkey bars – they have curved or wavy designs that make it more challenging for children to navigate
- Domed monkey bars – the bars resemble a dome, which gives children a three-dimensional play area
- Monkey bars with side ladders – these are created for toddlers and young children who are still learning how to climb
Metals are easier to form, shape, and scale, which is why you can have various designs.
It is also easy to paint on metals, which adds another layer to the design process.
Now, what are the disadvantages of metal monkey bars?
CON #1: Hot When Exposed to the Sun
During summer and other hot days, monkey bars made of metal are hot to the touch.
It is potentially dangerous because unaware children could get a burn injury.
CON #2: Generally More Expensive
We say, generally, because there are metal-made monkey bars that are on the cheap side.
These are usually the ones for home use.
But commercial monkey bars and those you see in public areas are much more expensive than other materials.
Wooden monkey bars are popular for home use. The following are some of the reasons for their popularity:
PRO #1: Attractive
Wood is just naturally beautiful.
Wooden play equipment is also great in an outdoor setting.
They blend well in the yard because of the naturally pleasing aesthetics.
They are classy too.
PRO #2: Durability
Like metal-made monkey bars, those made of wood are just as sturdy.
They can last for a long time and they can accommodate multiple playing children, although not as many as the metal ones.
PRO #3: Sustainable
Wood is sustainable for obvious reasons.
When people cut off parts of the wood to make metal bars, they grow back.
You cannot say the same about metal.
Moreover, the mining of metals and the creation of monkey bars using metals use up more energy that produces pollutants.
PRO #4: Better for Any Weather
Whether it is hot or cold, it doesn’t matter too much on the wooden monkey bars.
They can still be fun to play with, and your children are not in danger of getting burns on their hands.
On the other hand, wooden monkey bars have the following disadvantages:
CON#1: High Maintenance
Wooden equipment is definitely high maintenance because it tends to rot with time, especially outdoor products that are exposed to all types of weather.
You must check the equipment regularly to prevent accidents due to a weak foundation because of wear and tear.
CON #2: Possible Termite Infestation
Termites are prone to attack wood, which essentially weakens the monkey bars.
Other pests like ants and bugs may also create a home in the wooden equipment, so beware.
Technically, they should not be called monkey bars if they are made of rope.
A bar is a rod, which entails something sturdy.
However, there is a style of monkey bars made of rope.
These are ideal for those who don’t have the budget but want to do some exercise on the monkey bars.
The rope-made monkey bars are more for adults and for exercise rather than kids who want to have fun in the play area.
They are also more appropriate indoors where they will not be exposed to the elements.
What are its advantages?
PRO #1: Affordable
Rope monkey bars tend to be quite affordable.
PRO #2: Great for Indoor Use
If you don’t have enough space at home or you don’t have a yard, then you can bring monkey bars inside the house.
It’s perfect for apartments and condo units.
On the other hand…
CON #1: It’s Not Durable
You can’t expect the rope to last that long, but it’s good enough for personal use.
Cable lines are not really popular material for monkey bars.
However, they do exist and are usually found in gyms.
But the cable lines are just the monkey bar rungs while the posts are made of metal.
This type of monkey bar is sturdy but not fun and is expensive.
There you have it…
Four materials can be used in monkey bars.
Metal monkey bars, either made of steel or galvanized steel, and wooden monkey bars are the most popular.
They are also the most durable.
You’ll often find metal monkey bars in school and public playgrounds while the wooden ones are mostly preferred at home in the yard.
Some can also get affordable rope monkey bars for indoor use or monkey bars with rungs made of cable lines for a more fitness-related activity.
You see, there is a type of monkey bar for every user.