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When our daughter was three last June, Mark and I had absolutely no clue what to buy for her. Thanks to having two older sisters, she really is the epitome of a spoilt little madam and has everything she could possibly want. It was actually one of her sisters who came up with the idea of replacing some of her garden toys, as at three she was ready to make the transition from the small Little Tykes equipment to 'proper sized' toys.
This Wavy Slide from Argos proved to be an excellent buy, it's had enough use already to make it worth the money we spent on it and it has also weathered very well despite being left out in all the snow we had in Birmingham over the winter.
The slide I have is identical to the one in the piccie above, unfortunately I can't get you any exact measurements (can't find me blinkin' measuring tape!) but it is classed as a 9ft slide on the Argos website. This is the length of the slide itself, the height of it is roughly 5ft (ie. a shade shorter than me, but not much!).
You have to put it together when you get the slide home, as usual this was left to Mark but he says it was very straightforward and he managed without even opening the instructions. No surprise there then, the bloke NEVER looks at instructions! He said the bolt covers were the most awkward thing about it and eventually he left most of those off anyway, this isn't a problem as the bolts all fit flush to the edges of the slide frame so the covers are just to prevent rusting rather than to stop the bolts scratching your child.
Once erected, the slide is extremely stable. I'd recommend you place it on as flat a surface as you can find in your garden, this is common sense for most people but worth mentioning as (let's face it) not everyone has common sense. Straightaway I was impressed by how well moulded the slide itself is, it's made of a fairly thick plastic and is shaped with higher sides than a lot of other slides we looked at. This is important as although the waves aren't particularly high, when a small child whizzes down the slide it can raise their bum slightly off the plastic - if the sides were any lower I'm certain Hollie would have come off it by now.
There are five steps to climb in order to get to the top of the slide. Personally I think the gaps between the steps should have been a little smaller as Hollie struggled at first to get her little legs to boost her up to the next step, if Argos had added one more stepping stage I think this would have made life a lot easier for smaller children. The handles on each side of the steps are a good addition, it may take your child a while to get used to the need for co-ordination to grip the handles but eventually it will make it a lot simpler (and heart-stoppingly) fast for them to get to the top of the slide.
The platform at the top of the slide is perfect. It juts out enough that Hollie can comfortably (and worryingly!) stand on it before whizzing down the slide, it scares the life out of me when she jumps around up there but the raised handles at the top are likely to prevent her toppling off if she gets too brave!
Hollie has had so much fun on this slide that I'm glad we bought it. She used it throughout the summer last year, both as a slide and also by positioning it so she would land in her paddling pool when she slid down. One word of warning, the plastic does get extremely slippy once wet so if you're using it with water than you'll need to ensure your little one doesn't try walking back up the slide - we ended up with a three year old with a black eye and an eleven year old with a dislocated finger after they tried this so be careful!
This slide is suitable for children from three (with constant supervision), I've never been one for being too strict with 'recommended age' information but in this case I think Argos are spot on. Children younger than three would very likely hurt themselves if left to play on the slide, whereas at three they do have a slight idea about danger. Although you wouldn't believe it watching Hollie prance around at the top of the slide!
On the Argos website this slide is now £99.99. I can't remember how much we paid, but I'm certain it was less than this so it may be worth waiting until they have a special offer or reduced price on the slide. It's worth the money anyway, but a hundred quid seems a bit excessive for a basic slide such as this as the only distinguishing factor is the waved shape of the slide itself. And personally I don't think the wavy design is as groundbreaking as it could be.