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As many of you well I know, I am a very loving grandma and I spend a lot of time with the children. I have them over for two days a week so that my daughter can go to work, but every minute I spend with them is precious. They mean the world to me and I spoil them rotten! I remember what my grandmother used to be like with me and I make a much better grandma than I did mum. I actually have time to play with them now as when my own two were growing up I had to balance work with being a single mum. I think I spent more time out working than with them so I feel I am making up for it now with my grandchildren and my fairly new husband loves having them over too so we are all winners. This review concerns a see-saw that I bought about 6 months ago before the weather turned.
The cost of the see-saw currently on Amazon is the cheapest I have ever seen it and it retails at £23.99. This is really cheap and had I paid this price I would not have minded about the quality of the item at all as this is really cheap. I paid £34.00 and I bought it from an online site, I think I first spotted it though in the Argos catalogue where they stock quite a lot of Hedstrom products.
The good thing about Hedstrom is that they are all quite averagely priced. You can spend a fortune on outdoor equipment and play swings; some are all singing and dancing and cost hundreds of pounds but Hedstrom products are all really well priced. They sell anything from swings, trampolines and see-saws. The company are based in China and make all their products here before shipping them out to other countries for big companies such as Argos to sell.
The see saw needs self assembly which is pain, pain, pain and it took us a while and a cut thumb to assemble it. There are four metal legs that meet in the middle to hold a metal axis. This axis has two brackets attached that hold another metal tube which links to two other metal tubes making the overall length of 194 cm, however this can be shortened if you want to. To do this you need to fasten the two tubes into the middle tube with different holes rather than the far ones. We just used the last holes so we used the maximum length of the see saw. I guess if you were short of space you could have it smaller. I cannot really see it having any impact on the play or child’s experience. At either end of the see saw is metal handle bar that needs attaching to the main bar. This has the top section covered in foam so it is more comfortable for the children to hold. The annoying thing about foam is that children want to pick at it, so we not have bits missing as they have eagerly clawed away at it in the excitement of being thrown in the air! There are two moulded plastic seat pads that fasten to the seesaw bar, these are designed to face inwards and as far as the children say, they are quite comfortable but I do not think these look very comfortable at all! Under the seat is a metal spike or pole that hits the ground when the child loads so it absorbs the impact rather than the seat hitting the floor at full force. The downside to this is that the spike takes no mercy on the lawn, our lovely lawn was shredded quite quickly by this beastly spike! The see saw is blue and the seat pads are yellow.
==Assembly and Quality==
There was everything you needed to assemble the see saw but it was such a pain and really hard work, my poor hubby had a gash on his finger from the end of a metal tube that would not go into the hole he wanted to put it in so it slipped out and hit his thumb that was wrapped around the other tube with such force it cut it wide open! I heard this almighty swear word and found him bouncing round the garden hugging his hand. After bandaging him up he cracked on and towards the end he got the knack of it. You get all the right bits you need in the kit from screws, bolts and washers and you get an allen key and a small spanner to help you along the way.
Once assembled, it looks quite impressive but on closer inspection the quality is really poor. It is supposed to be made from robust, powder coated steel but I just got the impression that the metal is bendy and flimsy and if a slightly heavier child got on the frame would not take the extra weight. The feet actually needed bending into position because one was at more of a 60 degree angle, upsetting the overall balance of the see saw. This was so easy to bend into a 45 degree angle that it just showed the softness and cheapness of the materials used. The seats are chunky and sturdy though and the children can spend hours on them so they must be comfortable. The handles, despite our best efforts still have a bit of a wobble to them and I think this is because the holes in the metal for handles to fasten into where a little too big so the nut just would not grip the sides.
Not to be a spoil sport but my daughter would kill me if anything happened to the children so I feel it only fair to share some important safety advice with you. The see saw is quite low to the ground but if the children are left to their own devices then they could really hurt themselves. When you first position your see saw you should try and find a good surface to have it on, I guess the ideal would be soft rubber mats or wood chip but without turning my whole back yard into a playground, we shall have to settle on having the see saw on the grass. Because see saw use requires cooperation between the two children using it, they're generally not recommended for very young children, plus you need to be able to hold on to the handles. We have had my granddaughter who is two and my grandson who is five on here without any problems. The trouble comes when we have the little ones from next door over and they get in the way of the see saw and get knocked down! It is all part of fun and learning but as this see saw turns on its axis, it is better to try and keep the other children playing away from it. Other safety tips to bear in mind are that you should only have one child per seat, I’m not sure the metal would be able to take much more pressure anyway! A child who is too light to seesaw with a partner should find a different partner and not add another child to his or her side of the seesaw. The children should always face each other and hold on tight to the handles. Try and encourage the children not to push off with their hands on and to put their feet flat on the floor rather than letting them get caught underneath. There you go, my safety advice!
==Now the fun stuff!==
Despite my concerns over the quality, the children see past all this and see the item for what it really is, a fun garden top. Honestly, they have spent hours on here bouncing around, spinning around, getting off and on and singing songs on it. I was really taken aback by how they responded to it. I am always out in the garden with them when they use it and it is lovely seeing them so happy. My concerns over how safe it was was soon put to bed when I saw them on it, they were going hell for leather up and down and spinning it round with their feet and there has been no accidents. They bounce up and down and round and round; I did not even tell them to always hold on they seemed to do it straight away and the eldest was patient with the little one, being more gentle and careful. Whereas when my grandson gets on with the boy from next door, you would think they were trying to launch each other into space the way they play on it! Up and down and singing little chants as they spin round, throwing their heads back and laughing.
As much as I moan about the quality of the item; it is cheaply constructed and already over the winter the yellow of the seat and blue of the metal frame has faded, I would pay the money for it ten times over for the fun and joy it has brought in the garden! I seriously doubt it will make another winter, it looks like it will give into rust fairly easy but for another year of play it was so worth the money. I guess to prolong the item you could cover it with a plastic sheet or if you have a garage big enough take it in here for storage. We should have really moved it and given the grass chance to recover but winter seemed to creep up so quickly. The other downside which I touched on earlier is the spike on the seat. As the seat spins and lands, at various points along the circumference there was holes and chunks of grass ripped up. I wonder whether they could have put a flatter base on so that the impact did not send the spike through the ground and landed on the top instead. Just a though! I guess in a perfect world, the see saw would be on a woodchip patch so there is nothing to ruin.
it is quite simplistic and cheaply constructed but the fun and laughter that it brings certainly makes it worth the money. Children will love playing on this and for £24.00 from Amazon you should really think about buying it. Yes, it is a pain to put up and yes it probably won’t last long but it brings so much entertainment.
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