The average American child spends over 93% of his or her time indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), leading to the advent of an ‘indoor generation’ that is more susceptible to asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems. Americans have one thing, however, which for many families across the globe is scarce indeeds – space, and that means that unless you are living in the midst of a busy cityscape, you probably have a yard that is big enough to have a fun time in. If you have kids, do all you can to make the yard appealing, including tons of features that will have them begging to be outside instead of glued to the screens of their tablet or phone.
Sharpening Your Child’s Motor Skills
One narrow little strip in your yard is all you need to create a space in which kids can practice skills like balancing, walking, and crawling. Create a path just for kids by dedicating this ‘strip’ to a kiddie bootcamp style obstacle course that can contain low beams kids can walk upon and use as benches, low lying tree stumps kids can leap to, and even a little slide that can lead onto a sandpit for the very youngest ones in the family. Once kids are old enough to safely take part in activities like climbing, pallets can be used to create a climbing structure. Make sure the pallets are well secured to a base, and keep the level low enough so kids can safely jump off the top without harming themselves. Suspended bridges, swings, and climbing nets can also be strategically place in the yard.
Building a Backyard Playhouse for Kids
DIY carpentry whizzes can stick to a nature theme and build a small wooden ‘tree house’ for kids. The house doesn’t actually have to be above ground. Rather, it can be built on stilts and have a small staircase that kids can climb up to boost the illusion of height. If you are building the house yourself, get kids involved in tasks like nailing wood down and painting the house. These tasks should evidently be carried out by kids with the right maturity level for it, but regardless of how handy they are, ensure you are around to supervise them as they work.
Connecting the Porch to the Garden
Make sure to have a few play features on your porch, so that kids can still enjoy time in the open air on very sunny or drizzly days. Keep it clean, ensuring gutters are clean and clear, so that kids aren’t surprised by falling leaves or other items when they are playing outside. Ideas for the porch include hammocks, hanging ropes that kids can swing on (or a porch swing), a rocking bench or chairs, and storage space for toys, books, and other items that can keep kids occupied while they are waiting for the weather to calm down enough so they can run to their favorite spot on the grass once again.
Making a DIY Tire Swing
Keep kids active outside by making a simply tire swing. Stick a sturdy piece of rope through a wagon wheel, create sturdy knots on either side of a rope, and use a clamp to secure the rope to a wooden beam overhead. You can use more than one tire, or split a tire in two and make two ‘open swings’ if you have more than one child. Each tire ‘half’ will require two ropes to secure your swing to the overhead structure you will be using.
Your yard is a wonderful place in which to let the child in you shine through. What one thing did you always wish you had as a child? Was it a treehouse? A swing? A sandpit? If your kids are old enough to share their ideas with you, let them share their idea of paradise with you and maybe, you can bring these dreams to life together.