Seesaws, also known as teeter-totters or teeterboards, are a piece of recreational equipment for kids, one that is so recognizable and well-known that it’s considered a playground and park staple. A seesaw is made of a long, narrow plank, balanced in the middle (usually on a bar or spring) so that a child can sit on each end and swing each other up and down by kicking up off the ground. For this reason, they tend to be installed over soft surfaces like wood chips, foam, or sand to reduce the risk of kids accidentally hurting themselves. A majority of models have built-in handles for children to grip as they ride up and down, and they may have padded or raised seats as well. Most seesaws are built for two kids at a time, though there are double models that can seat four. In some public parks and playgrounds, several planks will be mounted along the same bar or midpoint to create a conjoined seesaw so that larger groups of kids can all enjoy playing on it at once. Seesaws can come in a range of colors, shapes, and designs to appeal to children or fit a certain theme or look. If you want to buy a seesaw for your kids to play with at home, here are a few we recommend.
What to Consider in Seesaws
Here are a few things to think about before buying a seesaw:
- Materials: Traditional seesaws were made out of wood, but they are less common since they can cause splinters and tend to warp in the rain and precipitation. Nowadays, most models available for purchase will be made out of metal or plastic, or maybe a combination of the two. Metal is much stronger and sturdier, but it may rust if not treated or cared for properly. It may also cause injuries to your children if they ever bump or bang into it by mistake. Plastic is less durable than metal, but it will also be gentler on your kids’ skin, doesn’t rust, and is easier to clean. If you opt for a plastic seesaw, look for one made of heavy-duty plastic that’ll be longer-lasting and less likely to break. Also look for models with ergonomic padded or rubber seats and handles to provide your kids with extra comfort and safety.
- Weight Capacity: The amount of weight a seesaw is capable of supporting is one of, if not the most, important factors when picking one out. Even if a model is designed to hold four kids, it still runs the risk of breaking if the four kids together outweigh its capacity. And seesaws designed for toddlers will obviously support less weight than models built for elementary school children. Most seesaws will have a weight capacity of somewhere between 110 and 450 pounds. Always check and see how much weight a seesaw can support before you buy it.
- Indoor vs. Outdoor: Even though they’re usually a piece of playground equipment, there actually are seesaws designed for indoor use. This may be a handy investment if you have a small backyard or no yard space but still want your kids to be able to enjoy a seesaw at home. Indoor models will generally be smaller, more compact, and less durable since they don’t have to hold up against the elements the way outside seesaws do. But they also offer the advantage of allowing your kids to enjoy a ride on a seesaw whenever they want, even if the weather is bad or it’s too cold for outside play. Some models are designed for both outdoor and indoor use, which gives you the best of both worlds. These tend to be highly portable, allowing you to carry them between your home and the yard as needed, which can also be handy for your children’s playdates or visits to family.
Top Choice: Gym Dandy Spinning Teeter-Totter
Your kids will love having this spinning seesaw in their backyard to play with whenever they want. It can rotate a full 360 degrees and allows children to both spin around and bounce up and down. They’ll enjoy it so much that they won’t even realize they’re exercising as they play. This seesaw’s strong metal frame is capable of supporting 300 pounds in weight and is finished with a powder coat that increases its durability and prevents corrosion and rust. The two elongated seats are dense, soft, and cushioned for your kids’ comfort, and the ergonomic handlebars have rubber grips to make them easier for children to grasp. The seats have urethane roller wheels underneath them to absorb shocks and impacts, and the urethane won’t break or crack from repeated impacts. The wheels also make it easier to move the seats side to side on the ground.
gym dandy Spinning Teeter Totter - Impact Absorbing Kids Playground Equipment - 360 Degree Rotation, Red, Yellow & Blue, 99 Inch, (TT360)
A sturdy, spinning backyard seesaw that both rotates 360 degrees around and bounces up and down.
Best for Indoor Use: Nova Microdermabrasion Kids Swivel Seesaw
If you’re looking for a seesaw that can be used indoors or outdoors, you’ll love this model. The tough double steel tubing frame has a powder coating to increase its durability and allow it to hold up to the elements during outdoor use. It also ensures that the seesaw is stable and safe for your kids to play on, as do the ergonomic, easy-to-grasp handles and rubber-bottomed stopper under both seats. It’s capable of supporting up to 200 pounds (100 per seat). The frame can also be adjusted slightly, from 72 to 78.7 inches long, in case you need to shorten it to better fit in your yard or home. And as a bonus, this seesaw swivels a full 360 degrees in addition to the traditional up and down motion. It’s recommended for ages 3 to 8.
Nova Microdermabrasion Kids Seesaw Swivel Teeter-Totter Home Playground Equipment, 360 Degrees Rotating Safe, Outdoor Fun for Kids, Toddlers, Boys, Children (2 Seats)
A strong, swiveling seesaw suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
Best Double-Seated: HearthSong Quad-Seat Teeter Totter
If you’re looking to buy a seesaw and have more than two children, or if your kids have frequent playdates, you’ll likely want to spring for a larger seesaw than the traditional two-seater. This seesaw with four seats is perfect for anyone with a large family. Its heavy-duty steel frame has an impressive 400-pound weight capacity, the equivalent of 100 pounds per seat. The frame is also made with a weather-resistant finish to increase its strength and prevent rust and corrosion. The comfortable, molded plastic seats are also weather resistant. Each has a rubber-capped stopper at the bottom to reduce impact during play. The foam-covered handles are both easy and comfortable for children to grip for additional safety purposes. This seesaw can function with two or four kids at once and can spin around while moving up and down like a merry-go-round and teeter-totter all in one.
HearthSong Quad-Seat Teeter Totter Spinning Seesaw for Multiple Kids' Active Play, Approx. 28" H x 78" Diam., Each Seat Holds Up to 100 Lbs.
A seesaw with four instead of two seats so that more kids can play together at once.
Best for Toddlers: Hey! Play! Seesaw for Toddlers
Toddlers love playing on seesaws as much as older children, but standard or larger models may be too big for them. Fortunately, this little teeter-totter is designed specifically with toddlers in mind. It’s compact and lightweight, made of durable, high-density plastic, strong enough to hold up to daily play or weather conditions. It can be used outside or inside and can support up to 110 pounds (55 per child). Since it’s so small and light, you can easily carry it in between your home and the yard as needed. The raised seats have an upward curve to keep kids from sliding off the back as they seesaw up and down, and the handles are designed to be easy for toddlers to grip as an added safety precaution. Toddlers will adore the animal shapes and bright colors as they play.
Hey! Play! Seesaw – Teeter Totter Backyard or Playroom Equipment with Easy-Grip Handles for Toddlers and Children – Indoor or Outdoor Rocker Toy
A small, colorful plastic seesaw designed specifically for toddlers.
Best Toy Storage: SLIDEWHIZZER Kids Outdoor Seesaw
This model offers a handy, modern update to a classic piece of playground equipment. This rocking-chair like seesaw has a small fabric pouch in the center, in between the two users, giving kids a safe and convenient place to stash their toys, phones, or other items as they play. They won’t have to worry about misplacing their toys or their phones getting dirty, thanks to the storage pouch. This seesaw is every bit as safe as it is fun and convenient, as it’s ASTM Safety Standard certified for optimal child safety. The seats are molded plastic for comfort, with the added bonus of a seat back on both ends for extra support. The frame is made of heavy-duty powder-coated steel with a rust-resistant finish that adds durability and resistance to the elements. This seesaw can support up to 154 pounds at a time, 77 pounds per seat. An easy-to-follow instruction manual and all parts and accessories needed for assembly come included with your purchase.
Kids Teeter Totter Outdoor Seesaw: Play - Children, Boys, Girls, Kid, Youth Ride ON Toy Living Room, Lawn, Backyard, Playground Gifts, Party Ages 3 4 5 6 Rocking HIGH Chair
A rocking-chair-like seesaw with a fabric pouch in the center for safely stashing away toys, phones, and other items during play.