Colorful climbing towers with pyramid-shaped tops are a common playground sight in Uganda. They are easily made, and since they have no moving parts, they are durable. They make an excellent companion piece for a swing set.
Young children climbing on the tower, use both their arms and legs, thus helping them with their dexterity. The towers are also relatively inexpensive. In Uganda, the average price is between $80 and $120.
We have installed climbing towers in various locales throughout Uganda, including Gulu (3), Lira (4), Kampala (1), Masaka (1), and Kabale (1).
Transporting the tower from the welder/fabricator’s shop to the playground is a bit of an adventure. We usually tie it to the car-top carrier of our rental van.
There is one aspect of these playground towers that needs to be explored further: How they can be used in conjunction with other playground features.
At a school located just north of Lira, Uganda, we installed 2 towers and stretched a 4″x 4″ wooden beam between them. We then hung monkey rings from the beam at one-foot intervals.
At a large playground in downtown Masaka, Uganda, funded by the Lions’ Club, there is a large climbing tower/jungle gym. But since it is welded together, there are serious issues associated with this structure. Foremost is how to transport it to isolated rural areas. Perhaps a modular version is possible.
In American Fork, Utah, there is a structure like the one in Masaka (without the pyramidal top) that was assembled on site, making transportation to the customer easier. This apparatus includes monkey bars, chinning bars, fire poles, and ladders.
The next permutation I think we will try is constructing a swing set using towers as end posts. One possible problem: children on the towers might interfere with those on the swings.
A square layout with towers at the corners might be fun. Strung between the towers could be swings, monkey bars and rings, and/or suspension bridges.