Summer is just around the corner, and parents everywhere are bracing themselves for those well-worn phrases that every kid utters dozens of
times a day – "I'm bored," and "there's nothing to do."
"Summer should be a time for kids to be kids," says Karl Jessen of Detailed Play Systems. "They should be outside
exploring their surroundings, using their imaginations to create their own little worlds, learning to share and play with other kids."
What better way to encourage that sense of imagination and fun than with a backyard play system? From forts to rock climbing walls
to sandboxes, parents can customize a play set for their family that the kids will enjoy for years to come. And mom and dad will love it,
too, since the kids will keep themselves entertained for hours.
Research has found that playgrounds are essential not only to a child's physical strength, but mental well-being. They help kids
develop cognitive reasoning and problem solving skills, and encourage them to use their imagination and creativity.
Jessen founded Detailed Play Systems in 1998 after completing an extensive search and compare market study to provide a high quality
yet affordable play system for his own two sons. "I started looking into getting a backyard play system, and the prices were so high,
I decided to build one myself," he says. The problem was, no one was selling materials that met his standards as a kit; he found
himself dealing with different vendors for various components – hardware and lumber at one place; swings, slides, monkey bars and
other play equipment from various other vendors. He decided there was a niche to be filled and started his business.
Daniel and Bethany Jacques of Hadley, Mass. also suffered sticker shock when they started pricing play systems for their family
and discovered that wooden play sets typically cost between $2,000 and $3,000, depending on how fancy they are. "While doing our
research online, we came across Detailed Play Systems and found we could give our kids a high-quality play set for under $1,000 with a
little work on our part," says Daniel.
"Our play systems are designed to meet the needs of the cost-conscious consumer who wants to save approximately 50 percent
off the cost of comparable prefabricated wooden forts and swing sets, without sacrificing the safety, size, quality or features of their
children's backyard playground," says Jessen.
The key to the savings is low overhead, and customers' willingness to spend about 8 hours of their time cutting and drilling
hand-selected wood prior to starting to build something special for their children. Detailed Play Systems provides its customers with
detailed plans, top quality hot-dipped galvanized hardware, swings, slides, and all play equipment accessories needed to build. The wood
is not included (shipping wood can easily add $500 to the cost of a play set), but each kit contains a lumber purchase guide that shows
exactly what a customer needs to buy to build the desired configuration.
Kits range from $169 for a basic Jungle Fort Builder Kit to $900 and up for the works – a dual fort plus swing set combination.
The company's most popular kit, the Jungle Fort Swing Set kit, sells for $389 and features a
6-foot by 6-foot fort with sandbox beneath, complete with inclined step ladder, gangplank ramp, and attached 3-position swing set.
"Sets are fully customizable, giving kids and parents practically endless options," says Jessen. And because everything
works together, you can build a basic play set now and add on as your kids get older. Choose from accessories like periscopes, telescopes,
steering wheels, sandbox covers and specialty swings.
Jessen is excited about the most recent additions to his line, the Jungle Fort Campus, which
is perfect for large groups of kids and in-home daycare providers, and an innovative and exclusive new
Rock Climbing Wall entrance. "The Jungle Fort Campus is two forts connected by a tube tunnel and
the Swingset or Jungle Fort Tower with a huge spiral tube slide can be added to either Fort. Since the Campus is our most customizable
and infinitely expandable design, it will offers hours of creative play and kids can find wonderful ways to use all the space," he says.
The new Rock Climbing Wall entrance design, like most others, offers kids the challenge of climbing their way into the play set.
Detailed Play's design exclusively offers the option to build a "½ fort wall" safety barrier - instead of leaving the
fort wall wide open - to help prevent accidental falls out of the 5- or 7-foot deck height play structures.
Detailed Play Systems is based in New Jersey, but does most of its business online and through catalogs. To order a
catalog, call (800) 398-7565 or log on to www.detailedplay.com. Shipping is available in the 48 contiguous United States.