Play With the Kids By Building A Playground In Minnesota

April 18, 2012 3:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

Minnesota retailers offer a wide variety of outdoor play systems for families who love the outdoors, want to create things with their own hands and want to involve their children in activities. “Fabricating your own play environment with your kids creates memories that will last a lifetime,” says Minnesota Cre8Play owner and creative director Todd Lehman. Here’s how to get started.

pict0880 Play With the Kids By Building A Playground In Minnesota

Backyard Play System (credit: Robin Johnson)

1. Build Your Own. All it takes is a used tire, a rope and a tree. Few moments are more memorable to a child than when he or she takes part in building that first swing or tree house with a parent. But when the family is ready for more play options, Minnesota retailers offer large and beautiful structures of wood, colorful plastic and shiny steel.

2. Dealer Installed. “A majority of our customers have us build the system because it comes down to how long is it going to take. You could make it a good weekend project, but we can put it in without having the kids wait,” according to Rich Maltby, installation department manager at Bloomington-based Rainbow Systems. “We can do it in half a day compared to a good three days doing it yourself,” says salesman Rob Mattson of Family Leisure of Minnesota in Brooklyn Park.

pict1183 Play With the Kids By Building A Playground In Minnesota

Climbing Wall Addition For Play System (credit: Robin Johnson)

3. Modular Kits. “Keep the excitement alive by expanding your play set as your family grows,” says Rainbow Play Systems. “Start with the basic unit for small children,” says Crown of Minnesota owner Kristann Yochum. “As your children outgrow the set, you can add towers, monkey bars, rock walls or a fireman’s pole.” Rob at Family Leisure advises customers to buy sets already boxed for a 30 to 50 percent savings compared to special orders.

4. Play Sets, Trampolines, Basketball Systems or Gazebos. Crown of Minnesota has been selling play systems for thirty-three years and features a Showroom in Edina with 15 play sets, trampolines, basketball systems or gazebos on display ready for the kid test. Kristann advises parents make sure various features are sized appropriately for the child by trying them out.

5. Custom Designed Play Systems. Cre8Play designs, creates and builds innovative commercial, custom play environments. Todd Lehman started Cre8Play in 2006 and over a dozen of his designs have been featured in catalogs and several industry trade magazines.

pict1181 Play With the Kids By Building A Playground In Minnesota

Community-Build Playground (credit: Robin Johnson)

6. Community-Build Playgrounds. Some communities involve parents and kids in building their parks. “About 10 percent of all our commercial playground sales are community-build,” says Randy Hartneck of Landscape Structures in Delano. “There is greater ownership in the playground and the community can save up to 25 percent of the cost of a playground.”

Here are a few places to help get you started.

5121 Winnetka Ave. N.
New Hope, MN 55428
(612) 670-8195

Cre8Play designs, creates and builds innovative, commercial custom play environments. Todd Lehman, a certified playground safety inspector and owner of Cre8Play started the company in 2006.

Crown of Minnesota (Showroom)
5237 Edina Industrial Blvd.
Pakwa Business Park
Edina, MN 55439
(952) 848-2045

Crown of Minnesota, Inc. has served clients in the Minnesota and Western Wisconsin areas since 1984. It invites families in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas to visit the vast family-friendly showroom in Edina.

Family Leisure of Minneapolis
7007 Lakeland Ave. N.
Brooklyn Park, MN 55428
(763) 560-7727

Family Leisure of Minneapolis is a local superstore for patio furniture, hot tubs, above ground swimming pools and much more. Their massive warehouse, broad selection and 40 years of experience are unsurpassed in the Twin Cities. 

Landscape Structures
601 7th St. S.
Delano, MN 55328
(888) 438-6574

Landscape Structures of Delano was founded in 1971 and has designed, manufactured and installed more than 50,000 commercial playgrounds worldwide. They have more than 300 employees and can help parents initiate a community-build playground.

Rainbow Play Systems of Minnesota
900 W 80th St.
Bloomington, MN 55420
(952) 884-4040

Rainbow Play Systems of Minnesota has a 20,000 square foot Superstore in Bloomington where they display high tech swings sets made in Brookings, South Dakota. Rainbow Play Systems has provided over a million swing sets to children around the world in the last 25 years.

Related: Help Build a Special Playground

Robin was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at

Watch & Listen LIVE