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A newly installed swing and play set for President Barack Obama's daughters Malia and Sasha is seen on the south grounds of the White House outside of the Oval Office.
updated 3/5/2009 10:52:25 AM ET 2009-03-05T15:52:25

First daughters Malia and Sasha Obama got a big surprise after school Wednesday: a brand-new swing set.

They squealed with delight upon seeing it, a spokeswoman for the first lady said.

President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, went to work while the girls were at school, arranging for the set to be installed on the south grounds of the White House within sight of the Oval Office, where their father spends plenty of time.

Late last year as the couple planned the family's move to Washington, they talked about ways to make the historic residence feel more like home for their girls, said Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama.

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Malia and Sasha, ages 10 and 7, had never lived anywhere but Chicago.

"Many first families have made these sorts of changes to make the White House feel like home," McCormick Lelyveld said. "This one is like their little mark."

The 100 percent cedar and North American Redwood structure has four swings, including a tire swing, a slide, a fort, a climbing wall and climbing ropes. There's also a picnic table with brass plates etched with the names of all 44 presidents, she said.

"They ran right for it. They were really, really excited. All four of them," McCormick Lelyveld said.

The girls played on the set for almost an hour in chilly weather, she said.

The Obamas paid for the swing set, which was made and installed by Rainbow Play Systems of Brookings, S.D. The company advertises itself as the most trusted brand name in wooden swing sets, according to its Web site.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Obama girls' new swing set

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