How often do you send your children outside to play? Some of us hesitate to do so, since they’ll be out of our line of sight, and so might get into trouble. They’re also sure to get dirty, and might just ruin the beautiful garden landscaping you already have out there.
But let’s think it through… Sure, there are some dangers of kids playing outside, but the benefits far outweigh the risks.
As this article states, children who play outdoors are healthier, less stressed, more creative, and more socially adept. So, how can you help your child get these benefits in their life and their play? Here are some ideas to make your yard inspire creativity and creativity.
One great way to spark your child’s interest in the outdoors, and make the yard a fun place to be, is by planting fascinating plants. For example, have you ever seen giant Allium flowers? They look straight out of a Dr. Seuss book! And then there are all the fun things that you can do with giant sunflowers, which grow so fast that your child can check their progress each day. Here are some other plants that can be fun for children:
- Lamb’s ear
- Herbs like basil, mint, and lemon balm
- Edible things like grapevines, fruit trees, and cherry tomato plants which kids can snack on as they play
There are so many ways for your yard to become an easel for your child’s creative pursuits. For example, you might decide that instead of painting your wooden fence one plain color, you’re going to make a mural on it with your children’s help. You can change the pattern every year with a new coat of paint.=
Or, maybe you could install a blackboard on the fence. Just remember to put the chalk in a waterproof box! If you don’t have a good fence to work with, put an easel in your back yard instead. Allow your children to use non-toxic watercolors and finger paints to their heart’s content.
An open lawn is usually the easiest thing to install, and the perfect space for open-form games like tag and soccer. However, consider other games like hide-and-seek, or imaginative play. Often, those thrive in different kinds of landscapes where children have access to shady, private areas, or interesting hardscaping features, or even just straight-up dirt! Often, the most fun yard is one with good variety.
You can even add different zones to your yard. A playhouse in one area, a path through the bushes in another. You might add an obstacle course, where children can practice their balance on wooden beams, hop on old tires, and play with clean sand underneath.
Work table for outdoor activities
If you have children playing in your yard, but no table out there, then what are you waiting for? A simple wooden picnic table will provide endless opportunities for your children to work on crafts, games, and even eat messy foods outdoors without you having to worry about it ruining your carpets. Having something like an outdoor table will also encourage you to get outside with your children more, and enjoy the effects of Vitamin D and fresh air yourself.
Enable seasonal play
Remember that some of the best outdoor activities are going to depend on the weather. For example, if you’re in an area where it snows, do you have a good space for snowman-building? Do you have a nice little hill clear of landscaping rocks that could provide fun sledding adventures?
Or how about summer fun? Make space for water activities, like the ideas suggested here. Check your accessibility to water, and think about where there is and isn’t shade.
Remember that when it comes down to it, your children are going to make their own fun as they interact with the space around them. After all, have you ever been frustrated by the way that your child is more fascinated by an empty box than an expensive toy? So much of the time, our yard will experience the same effect. What looks boring to us is a wonderland to a 6-year-old.
Your child might have a more fun time with unplanned fun space than the planned fun space. Your job as a parent is to make sure that even those unplanned playtimes are safe. Clear your yard of dangerous tools or chemicals. Scan the yard for pests and possible hiding places of pests. Fence in your play area if you’re close to a busy street. This post has more ideas for making your yard safe for children.
What ideas have you put into action in your own yard? What do your children have the most fun with?