The Smart Cube Climbing Frame by Wickey [AD - Review]
We live in a small terraced house. It’s a lovely little house, however what it offers in space inside, it’s not so generous when it comes to green space. We have a small raised lawn and A LOT of concrete. It’s not ideal for a growing child who likes to run around at 100 miles an hour.
Therefore, we rely heavily on other outside spaces such as woods and beaches, parks and skate ramps, however, when all of our go-places closed where we lived; due to the COVID-19 lockdown, our immediate thought was about how T would get his exercise.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re very grateful for the space that we have, but I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times I’ve taken a sharp inhale of breath due to the speed and location in which our son as fallen. His knees are a state at the moment and we’re taking shares out on Antiseptic cream and plasters!
So, when the folks at Wickey – the makers of imaginative wooden climbing frames, play houses, swings, and wooden sandpits – invited us to review one of their wooden climbing frames for the Spring/Summer I wasn’t going to turn it down.
The Smart Cube
Unlimited creativity with the kids climbing frame Wickey Smart Cube. This climbing frame, based on modern architecture, is unique in its appearance. As a visual highlight, a floating swing has been designed next to a floating platform. The special design of the Wickey Smart Cube climbing frame continuously stimulates your children’s creativity and turns them into inquisitive explorers and adventurers every day.
The Wickey Smart Cube is an outdoor climbing frame with an incredibly unique appearance. The main feature is it’s “floating” platform that sits in the centre of the frame, surrounded by a variety of exciting features, from a climbing wall to a hidden ascent tower, which stimulates creativity and imagination. The “cubes” are an interesting sight and makes the frame look as if it’s floating like a futuristic tree house.
The clever thing about Wickey is that you can also buy additional pieces to offer even more learning opportunities.
Things To Know Before You Begin!
It’s important to note that both Sharon and I are well-practised in assembly, and Sharon in particular is rather au fait when it comes to carpentry, however nothing really prepared us for what was in store for us. If we are being completely honest, we were probably a little out of our depth and we probably should have paid for someone (read: a team) to build this for us.
The main reason for this was because the wood comes without any drill or pilot holes, which means you have to measure and drill each hole yourself. This is somewhat stressful and time consuming, especially as there are 33 posts and 99 planks of wood that need drilling into! This, therefore, easily added a few hours onto our build. In addition, the tarpaulin does not come pre-cut. This is to encourage imagination, and Wickey are generous when it comes to their supply, however it was a little stressful making sure the tarpaulin fit the relevant sections.
This is certainly not there to put you off, and it means that if you’re skilled in this sort of thing you can get more creative (especially if you have other Wickey pieces already in your garden!), but if we had known about this factor before building we probably would have got some people to help us – at least to shorten the construction time. That being said, this is one of their larger frames – so if you prefer to build something a little smaller, then those options are available!
Tools You Will ABSOLUTELY Need!
- An electric drill (we wish we had two so I could have been drilling whilst Sharon was screwing). There’s also absolutely no way you’d be able to do this with a manual screwdriver – you will destroy your hands, I tried – trust me.
- 3, 6, 8, 10mm drill pieces and accompanying screw heads.
- A mallet.
- A tape measure.
- 10, 13, 17mm ratchets (if your drill has ratchet attachments / sockets, use these! These were a wrist-saver).
- A spirit level.
- An angle measuring tool.
- A saw.
- Sharp scissors or a Stanley knife to cut the tarpaulin.
- A suitable and secure surface for drilling and cutting.
- 10 year guarantee* on all wooden components
- Platform height 120 cm
- Post thickness 7×7 cm
- Swing beam 9×9 cm
* The advertised guarantee is valid for all wooden parts if you purchase our anchors at the same time. In any other case, the statutory guarantee will apply. Further information regarding the scope of the guarantee and its enforcement can be found in our guarantee declaration.
…and What’s Included
- Slide with water connection 220 cm
- Swing seat incl. adjustable ropes
- 2 Swing hooks with plastic bearings
- 5 Climbing stones
- 4 Plastic handles
- 2 Telescopes
- Weatherproof tarpaulin 650 gr/m²
- Climbing wall straight
- Hidden ascent in the tower
- Flat roof
- Wickey sticker
- Integrated Sandpit
- All required screws
- 2-piece safety caps to cover screws
- Comprehensive assembly instructions for easy construction
Note: It is advisable that the climbing frame is fixed in concrete.
Once the frame was ordered, it arrived on a secure pallet wrapped in plastic. This was delivered via lorry and the driver was able to manoeuvre the delivery straight into our garden via the rear entrance using a mechanical jack. Because the delivery was in one “piece” it had to be placed somewhere relatively flat for the mechanical jack to access – so please take this into consideration as it can’t travel up hill or stairs!
We then took to unwrapping it to make sure we gave it time to dry any pieces out that may have had condensation on them. Although we weren’t going to commence building the frame that day, we did take some time to make sure that we had everything (including counting every screw according to the instructions!). This is where we found a few errors and missing pieces, however upon speaking to Wickey it was resolved in a matter of days (which is impressive considering the pieces come from Germany!).
Prior to delivery, T had no idea this was coming, so when it arrived he was beside himself. This only escalated as soon as he saw the bright red slide!
We decided to give ourselves a whole weekend to assemble to frame, as we wanted to make sure we did it properly and with care. We didn’t want to rush it, otherwise mistakes would be made, however this is easier said than done when you have a five year old in your ear asking whether it was done two hours into the build!
The initial stage of the build asks you to build the three main components; the tower, the climbing wall, and the platform. This was simple enough, albeit time consuming for the reasons mentioned previously, and after a while we got into a routine where I would be preparing pieces to drill whilst Sharon was drilling. When Sharon was screwing, I was preparing the screws! We had a good little assembly line going, and at one point thought we’d get it done by the end of the day!
At first, the instructions were easy to follow, even when it came to measuring holes and cutting pieces, however there was one point when the instructions started to go off-piste and actually didn’t make much sense – so much so that, for example, ‘Part N (a fabric piece in the image key)’ was showing as a washer on the image display. There were also issues with missing letters on the image key or having to work out certain things ourselves because it wasn’t mentioned on the instructions. Thankfully, Sharon is a mastermind and was able to work out the issues, but I do fear that if you went along without a critical eye you may eventually come a cropper.
The instruction manual is probably one of the biggest criticisms from the build, and whilst the instructions are to designed to be accessible to a variety of languages, it wasn’t always the easiest to follow.
Day One & Two were dominated by the three main components, and once they were built they were impressive to see in full form, although when it came to assembling them together we hit a rather large wall.
The heaviest of the components was the tower. Made up of three walls, it stood some 6 feet high. Getting into position was difficult enough – especially as we had no room for error (it to fit in our garden a certain way) – however when it came to lifting and securing the centre platform to the tower and the climbing wall WE COULDN’T LIFT IT!
Based on the instructions, it is advised that it takes two people to assemble, however at this point there was no way we would be able to continue the construction, as between us we had to keep the centre platform steady (and level!) whilst holding it against the tower with the support of the climbing wall. We’re far from weak, and strength wasn’t an issue, it was managing the different components so that we could screw the pieces in correctly.
This wasn’t happening. We tried, but failed miserably.
So the construction was eventually put on hold until we could find a suitable helper, and in the middle of a pandemic-related lockdown this was far from an easy task! Thankfully, we employed (with payment being in the form of Pizza and Biscuits) a friend of ours to come round. We had already invited them to be a part of our bubble, so it made sense (to us, maybe not them) to give us a hand.
The next available weekend, we then continued where we left off. A few hours later and the frame was eventually coming together! Taking a step back I couldn’t quite believe that we had built that from scratch. It was a BEHEMOTH.
A couple more hours later, and we had finally attached the accessories.
In no time, T was giving it it’s first test run. As with any new item we’ve constructed, there’s always some nervous butterfly flutters, and this offered no exceptions – especially when we were watching T run up and down the platforms – however as soon as Sharon climbed up to attached the swing sets we knew that we had done a good job.
The Wickey Smart Cube was complete!
The majority of the wood is good quality, although we did find a few larger planks or more central posts that had large cracks, knots or splinters in them – which sometimes made assembly a challenge or meant that we had to make sure they were placed in locations where skin and little fingers wouldn’t find themselves. This is apparently normal with anything that uses natural wood, but to address this, I would recommend sanding back anything too sharp (as long as it doesn’t affect the integrity) or getting in touch with Wickey.
It was such a joy to see T running up, climbing down, and generally letting off some built up steam from over the past few weekends whilst he’s been watching us build this. His favourite part is the slide (which comes with the ability to be turned into a water slide when a hose is attached), although he’s quite partial to ringing the bell!
Underneath the frame is a built in sandpit, however we decided to turn it into a cubbyhole style area for relaxing (mainly because if we move home we don’t want to deal with the removal of sand from the lawn!). This means that after school he can take his snacks outside and at weekends he can sit with friends whilst eating lunch or doing some colouring in.
Overall, we’re impressed that we were able to build such a beastly item, although I would emphasise again that we were completely out of our depth and outside of our comfort zone. There were times when we were incredibly anxious and stressed, and if it wasn’t for a strong marriage one of us probably would have been on the sofa until it was completed!
If you’re thinking of investing in a Wickey Smart Cube climbing frame I would make sure that you either hire another party to build it for you on your behalf or at the very least get double the amount of people required. We finally managed to complete this between the three of us, but a fourth wouldn’t have gone a miss – even if their role was to distract the children during the more difficult moments (why do children ask for food the moment you’re knee deep?).
T absolutely loves the Wickey Smart Cube climbing frame, and it’s a welcome addition to our garden. It means that despite the parks being closed he can get a decent amount of exercise and fresh air, and we can make better use of our garden in the warmer months! This alone makes it good value for money as it’s made a small garden into something new.
Is this something you’re planning on investing in? Have any questions? Get in touch!
We were sent the Smart Cube by Wickey in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions, and imagery are our own.