Parents can do a better job at making outdoor spaces child-friendly. And you should — since you’re essentially competing with the colorful, interactive world of screens and mobile apps, which take too much of your kids’ attention, turning them into couch potatoes.
The simple slide and swing just won’t cut it. Here are the types of play areas you should have in your yard:
Active Play Area
In most homes, the typical active play area has a slide and swing or just a bare space, so kids can freely run and roam around. You can also design your yard in such a way that children will be really enticed to move around. Go beyond the traditional setup and start building zones that would encourage a range of movements.
For instance, place a bunch of stepping stones to allow kids to test their sense of balance, or put monkey bars to help improve muscle strength. Climbing domes are also great for active play. Just be sure to secure the yard perimeter to avoid the risk of kids wandering outside your premises. GreatFence.com suggests that you consider using black metal fencing for this.
Sensory Play Area
Dedicate a space where kids can explore and use their senses. Add a sandpit in one corner of the yard, so children would know the feeling of ‘warm’, ‘ticklish’, and other sensory experiences. Let them lie on a grassy area, so they could appreciate the slightly prickly feel of grass on their backs.
Get them involved in building your garden. Encourage getting those hands dirty and buried in compost. This will not just stimulate senses, but also improve their immune systems. Smell the flowers with them. Take a bite at the fruits. Place a bird feeder, so they could watch and listen to the birds’ tunes.
Creative Play Area
Some homeowners create a music wall in their yards using recycled materials. Go through your workshop and look for old pots and pans, cans, trays, and pipes. Hang them up on plywood and you have an instant music wall. You can also place a big easel or a blackboard, along with some watercolor paints or chalk in different colors, to get kids into drawing and painting. You can also play pretend that ‘cooking’ flowers and leaves from your garden.
Encourage your kids to ditch the phones and tablets and enjoy the outdoor play area. Prioritize these sections in your space to give your children the ultimate play experience.