Kids love being outside; in today’s world where over-use of electronics and sedentary life-styles run rampant, inspiring kids to be outside is important. By taking a few easy steps and thinking like a kid again, you can create an outside area that is not only safe, but kid friendly and inviting, as well.
There’s something magical about finding something that fits you just right when you are a kid. Remember that as you make spaces for kids. Child-sized chairs and tables placed in a shady spot are a great place for outside art projects. Hideaways too small for adults are sure to please the kids. You can even create hideaways from fast growing vines or bean plants.
Of course you should choose your outside play area in a location that is safe. Make sure it is fenced, not just to keep the kids in, but to keep any trouble like stray animals or people out. Doubly important is to make sure pools and hot tubs are out of bounds. Appropriate fencing and other safety measures may be required in your city or state.
Most people forget about one of the biggest dangers: yard maintenance items. Make sure your tools, including lawn mowers and leaf blowers, and your chemicals, like fertilizers and weed killers, are never where the kids can access them. Teach the kids not to get into them, but remember, they are kids. You need to keep them safe.
Choosing appropriate landscaping plants is important. For the kids’ area, you should avoid any poisonous or toxic plant. Also don’t use plants that are thorny or prickly; cactus plants are beautiful until you, or someone you love, fall into one. Also, if your little one is allergic to bee stings, take particular care to put plants that may attract bees elsewhere.
Think about your specific kids. Do they love art? Include a chalkboard area. Chalkboard paint has made this incredibly easy. If you have a fence or other “dead” zone, paint it with chalkboard paint and let them have at it with sidewalk chalk. Are they incredibly active? Make sure there is a swing set or climbing zone available. Swingsets are available in a huge variety of costs. You need to evaluate the space you have to see what size you can accomodate. Maybe you can afford to do the huge play structure, or maybe you can put a swing on a tree branch. They both work just fine. Do they like to dig holes? Put in a sandbox, or they will make one of their own.
WIth a little thought and planning, you can entice your child to leave the electronics inside and go out to play. Who knows? If you make the yard nice enough, you might even put your electronics down and join them.