Kids today and their technology! In this day and age of the Internet, social media and portable video games, it’s hard for parents to separate their kids from various mobile devices. While it may seem that device and human are co-joined at the hip, it really is not that hard to get your child to appreciate free time like you did back in the day when you were a kid. It all starts at home! All you need to do is make your backyard kid friendly.
Curiosity is an important quality in developing the child’s intellectual ability. It encourages them to find answers on their own. For Generation X parents, the backyard was the classroom of life. Because of the influence of multimedia, it will take more effort to entice today’s children to drop the mobile device in favor of the Great Outdoors.
But it can be done! You just need to focus on fun and creativity. Here are cool ideas to make your backyard kid friendly:
- Trampolines – What backyard would be complete without a trampoline? Children of all ages love it! Even Mom and Dad can use it as an outdoor fitness activity. If you want higher jumps, look for trampolines with the highest number of springs. Check the stability of the trampoline. Legs that are made of galvanized steel are very sturdy. Make sure that the trampoline material is UV-resistant. It may be a good idea to consider setting up a net around the trampoline.
- Sandbox – Bring the beach to the backyard! A sandbox is one of the most popular places for children to play with. They can make castles and other figures with sand, a bit of water and a few containers of different sizes. A 7 foot by 7 foot area will be large enough to set up a sandbox. You will probably need around 20 bags of sand to fill up a box this size. Make sure you provide the sandbox with shade.
- Swing – You can’t make a backyard kid friendly without a swing! Kids always enjoy the thrill and excitement of a swing. You can surely buy a ready- to- use swing set from a toy store. But why not flex your creative muscles and build one yourself? You can make a swing out of an old tire or a skateboard. Your child can even get involved in the building process!
- Water Table – If you have a Sandbox, why not complete the outdoor experience by building a Water Table! This is basically an outdoor bathtub for kids. They will certainly let their imagination run wild when playing with battleships, submarines and scuba diver action figures. A Water Table can be Do-it-Yourself project. All you need is a plastic cement mixing tub or a larger sized rubber coated washing bin plus some sturdy plywood.
- Zip Line – If your backyard space is large and wide enough, you might be able to pull off a Zip Line fun ride. This is definitely a more complicated project that should be handled by an experienced professional. You should also check with your neighborhood association if there are laws that you need to be aware of when building a high speed attraction like a Zip Line.
And obviously you will need quite a bit of space to install one in the first place.
- Outdoor Movies – Why should kids have all the fun? An outdoor movie set not only saves you money from buying expensive tickets at the nearby theater, but it also makes for great bonding time for the family. This is very easy to make. All you need is a stretchable, Matt white (1.2 gain) fabric, a movie projector and a sound system. Find an area in the backyard where you can control the amount of light. Fire up the popcorn maker and you’re ready to go!
- Tree House – The classic backyard favorite! A tree house is the place where kids shared ghost stories and comic books. It can be a “members only” tree house where your child can let his imagination run wild and get free of the real world. Just make sure there is no Wi-Fi!
- Streams and Waterfalls – If your backyard has the size and the natural amenities, why not create man-made streams and a waterfall? Not only are streams and waterfalls beautiful but it makes your backyard kid friendly and peaceful! Set up a small but sturdy bridge for the kids to cross the stream or watch the waterfall.
- Veggie Patch – One of the best ways for kids to eat their veggies is to help them understand how it is made. By learning the process of growing vegetables, kids will know why they are good for the mind and body. Identify an area in your backyard which you can set up as a vegetable patch. Their natural curiosity will fuel their desire to sow, care and water their vegetables every day! Watch their eyes light up as the seed slowly grows into an edible, nutritious plant.
- Lawn Games – There are many popular sports and games that you can play outdoors. Find a place where you set up a net and you can play badminton or volleyball. If you have a smaller backyard, you can have an area for a thrilling game of horse shoes. How about a game of darts? All you need is a tree and a dart board. The family can have its annual Olympics every summer!
- Hammock – After an entire afternoon of play, a hammock can provide a welcome respite from the heat of the sun. Make sure you have a spot with good shade. If the kids don’t have the energy for play, the hammock can be a place to read a good book, play the guitar or enjoy sipping an ice cold glass of lemonade.
- Jungle Exploration – All you need are tall grass, weeping trees, giant sunflowers and a stone path to usher your child through a manmade jungle. Make sure to frequently de-bug the grass and weeping trees to keep away dangerous insects.
Making your backyard kid friendly is a fun activity that you can do with your children. Ask them to contribute ideas and get them involved in some of the work that needs to be done. Of course, if your handyman skills are limited, don’t hesitate to hire the services of a carpenter or landscape artist to get the job done. In time, your kids will prefer to slide in the backyard than on a touch screen with just their fingers. It’s a win win and so much healthier as well.