We know how important it is for children to get outdoor time – to enjoy fresh air and sunshine while exercising their bodies and their imaginations. If you are lucky enough to have an outside area or garden at home, this can form the perfect foundation for a dedicated children’s play area.
CREATE AN OUTSIDE PLAY AREA THAT WILL DELIGHT YOUR CHILDREN WITH THESE HANDY TIPS:
1. MAKE IT THEIRS.
Outdoor play areas work best when they are just about play. If possible, avoid sharing your children’s space with elements like the washing line or pool equipment. Not only could these pose a safety risk, they restrict the type and nature of the play that can take place in that area. Choose an undercover area or a piece of grassy lawn and add chalkboard walls, a play mat, your children’s toys, and some fun plastic items like plastic balls or jumbo blocks that are easy to clean and fun to play with. You could even create a music wall by hanging household items on a bare fence and letting your children bang away at them!
2. MAKE IT SAFE.
Young children should never be left unattended and it is important to ensure that the space they play in and the toys they play with are non-hazardous and do not present a safety risk. Keep the play area fenced off, clean, and free from inappropriate small and loose objects that could present a choking hazard. Consider using soft plastic furniture and toys, and make sure all items can be neatly stored away in plastic containers or boxes when not in use.
3. MAKE IT FREE.
Today’s children spend much of their time in structured activities, at school and at home. Research shows that they should also enjoy free, unstructured time where they are able to engage with nature or play with their toys without your guidance. Let your outdoor space offer your children opportunities for exploration and enough variety, in terms of activities and toys to stimulate their imaginations.
4. MAKE IT KID-SIZED.
If you’re adding a structure like a Wendy house, swing set, tented area, or jungle gym, make sure it’s child and age appropriate, from the size to the materials used. Need furniture? It should be small, sturdy, and just right for use by little people. Have a kiddy-perfect sand pit? Buy some small plastic beach toys like a spade and bucket so they can get stuck in.
5. MAKE IT EASY.
When children enjoy themselves, things can get messy. And that’s ok. Buy plastic items that are easy to clean and wash and do not break easily or tarnish too badly if left out in the sun or rain. That way, your children can be creative (paint, draw, play with clay etc.) and you won’t have to worry about any damage to your furniture.
A well thought-out outdoor space will provide your children with hours of fun and plenty of learning experiences.