When we were little, the distance you could "fly" across the backyard after jumping from a swing was the measure of your superhero powers. It still is.
I cannot even begin to calculate how many hours my brother Jack and I spent costumed as Batman and Robin (wearing my mother's aprons for capes), and shrieking "Ka-Pow!" as we leapt. The news that a stork would be bringing us a little brother we greeted with relief: Finally, there would be someone to play the role of Alfred the butler. Time flies. The other day my youngest daughter asked if we could get a rope swing. I looked at her—finally, someone to play Catwoman—and didn't hesitate: Of course we can. But why stop there, with so many other superhero-worthy pieces of play equipment available?
Above: The Wedge Playhouse is made of sustainably sourced maple and can be assembled, according to the manufacturer, in half an hour by two people (whether this will be good for your marriage remains to be seen). It's $1,299 from Endeavor Toys.
Above: Made from local cedar in upstate New York, the Handmade Cedar Wood Rope Swing is $225 from Kaufmann Mercantile.
Above: My brother and I had one of these too (for playing desert island castaways—my brother was Gilligan, and I was Mary Ann).The All-in-One Sandbox is currently on back order, for $139.95 from Sandboxes Online. Available immediately: the Sandlock Sandbox, for $289.
Above: The Original Tree Swing comes with 20 feet of rope; $88 at Terrain.
Above: The Great Plains Indian Teepee. I'll say no more—your imagination can take it from here. It comes in several sizes, with prices ranging from $130 to $330, from Ron June.
N.B.: This is an update of a post published on May 23, 2012.