It’s been in your head for a while; your children would be much better in the garden than watching TV! You’ll need a lot of convincing to compete against this medium, and you’ll have to be cunning to get them outside.
The best idea to attract them? Make a beautiful play area in the backyard. A small dose of imagination, a bit of dexterity to tinker with and some tips will be enough to make it the ideal place for your children. Here are some ideas.
Set up a play structure
Timeless, play structures are usually bought ready to install, just like an Ikea furniture… But you can customise it extensively! You can set on it the devices you prefer such as rings, a ladder, a trapeze, which you can also change over the months… and as your children grow older.
Beware, however! Make sure to secure it to the ground using high quality materials. Have a small budget? A swing is simple to make and you can attach it to a solid tree branch. That’s also an opportunity to upcycle your old tyres or a simple wooden board pierced on both sides. The simplest to install would probably be a rope with knots. The toboggans also have their fans, even if they often get too small in a few years.
Make room for a sandbox
Sold commercially or homemade with a geotextile film in the bottom and some wooden boards on the sides, sandboxes are easy to install and stimulates the creativity of children. A little idea for mini sandboxes is to recycle old tires! In any case, plan to cover everything so that your sandbox does not become the litter of all the cats in the neighbourhood! A shade sail stretched over it will also be perfect for protecting your toddlers from the sun.
Think about a swimming pool
Sun, sand, and water! With a pool, you’ll have the perfect combination for the summer. It will not only allow your kids to cool off, but will be an excuse for many games. Besides swimming, it will make for a water tank to recharge the water guns, fill small watering cans to moisten sand and… splash those getting too close to the pool fence! But be careful, even in 10 cm of water, a child can drown. Do not let your kids play without watching them if they are very small, and make sure you install a swimming pool fence.
The old classic hut
Installed on the ground or in a tree, in the shape of a teepee or in a wooden or plastic house version, a hut offers an infinity of possible games as it awakens the imagination. And if you build it with your own hands, with your children helping, even more so. The tutorials on the Internet are numerous, from mounting doors to pergola designs. Your kids will have the impression of having the same garden hut as that of mom and dad… or just nearly.
Why not a hopscotch?
Nowadays, we still find hopscotches in the playground, but more rarely in gardens… while it can occupy your children for hours! Designed on damping slabs, it will be perfect to compete with their gaming station!
Do not forget the trampoline
The trampoline is often the king of play areas. Particularly popular with children, whatever their age, it is now easily found in stores. They are of all sizes and have safety nets. So, jump on it!
Design a car circuit
Swing, hut, small pool… all these things are kind of obvious. But you can do better, by imagining more atypical outside games. One original idea could be a car circuit. Easy to make, it will delight your child’s racing enthusiasm! Delimit it with small branches or concrete pavers, dug in the ground or install it in the sand. It should include some obstacles, bridges, deviations, and will get your kids busy for hours.
Make an obstacle course
An obstacle course can be made with branches, recovery chairs, bags of potatoes, tyres, breeze blocks, a ladder to climb a tree, a beam placed on the ground, logs of different sizes and colours, and other objects of all kinds. Just imagine an adventurer’s way and use all the useless items you’ve been storing for years in your garden sheds! Alone or with their friends, your children will imagine a maximum of scenarios while developing their balance and their agility!
Develop your kid’s business mindset with a fake store
Make your kids a game where he will feel like a merchant. That’s easy! Place two boxes vertically through which you fix a board that will serve as a counter. Let the kid fill nice baskets to contain the products on sale such as hazelnuts from the garden, beautiful pebbles and other snail shells.
A workshop to make an artist out of your kid
Does your child spend hours locked in drawing and tinkering? Export his workshop in the garden! Start by installing a blackboard decorated with multi-coloured chalks and, under a parasol, put a small table and chairs with some basins to fill with masking tape, pencils, rubber bands and other balls of coloured wool.
The last touch: deco!
The last step will be to accessorise and put some colour in the area! Your daughter is a red-lover? Paint a few stumps of her favourite colour, let her draw with pink chalk on a wall of separation and decorate the play area with pennants and shading sails, coloured mulch and garden bark, always in shades of red. A flower bed next to the play area would also be a nice touch. Some more decoration? Consider arranging Japanese steps between the different activities in the garden, deploying garlands of light for long evenings and hanging a chime on your apple tree.
Now, let’s get to work!