Parents, if you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for toys and games that let your kids expend some physical energy indoors. Like most kids, my two young boys need a significant amount of exercise every day, otherwise they start climbing the walls (and the play fighting gets totally out of control).
Although it isn’t a brand new product, and there are apparently infomercials for it running all the time, I somehow hadn’t heard of the Gorilla Gym till a bunch of the women in my Facebook mom group started talking about it. So I Googled and whoa—it did look pretty awesome.
It's nothing overly complicated—essentially, it's a metal pull-up bar that you install in a doorway, to which you connect a variety of different attachments: a swing, a knotted rope, a rope ladder, rings and a trapeze. In other words, it's the local playground, on steroids, in your house. Obviously, I had high hopes for this thing!
It arrived in a surprisingly small and fairly light box, and the installation of the main unit in a doorway wasn’t overly difficult (reports my husband). If neither you nor your partner is great at these things, YouTube videos spell it out, step by step. It shouldn’t take more than a half-hour, and requires no drilling or hammering (it uses vise grips). Once the main unit is installed, swapping out the different attachments is easy.
My first question was: Is this thing secure? Are my kids going to come crashing down? The company claims that the main unit—which parents can use to do pull ups—can support 300 pounds, and the kid attachments can support 200 pounds. We found this to be true. It’s stable—it really doesn’t budge at all.
My second question was: Will the kids find this fun for more than five minutes? Because at a cost of US$160, it needs to have serious staying power. The answer, for my kids anyway, is yes. We mounted our Gorilla Gym in the basement playroom doorway, and the toy is in regular rotation among our other stuff. Sometimes they head downstairs specifically for it. My guys like the swing and rope ladder the best, but your mileage may vary depending on your kids' preferences.
Several of the moms in my Facebook group complained that their homes simply couldn't accommodate the Gorilla Gym: either they don't have appropriate doorway frames, or they don't have enough space or clearance (e.g., for swinging). You'll want to read up on the product and assess its suitability for your home before you shell out the big bucks.
Other parents complained about the price. Yep, it's pricey for sure—out of reach for many families on a budget. But the quality, durability and staying power seem to be there if you can swing it (pun intended). After all, it's hard to put a price on happy, tired kids.