Spending time outdoors is essential to children’s overall development and learning. Outdoor play boosts the children’s physical development, increasing their ability to jump, climb, throw, run and balance. This also allows them to interact, negotiate and collaborate with others, building their social skills.
However, children are now spending less time outside. Aside from the risk caused by COVID-19, they now prefer being in front of a digital screen, watching television or videos on computers and playing on a games console. According to the Ofcom Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report in 2017, 41% of parents of 12-15s find it difficult to control their child’s screen time.
If you are one of these parents who are wondering how to lessen their kids’ screen time, consider making your outdoors an extension of their learning space. If you can’t bring them to parks, get them outside your house with these creative ways to spruce up your outdoor area for kids to play.
1. Have a space to build and create.
Outdoor play nurtures and uses imagination. It gives them the chance to pretend to be anything they want and create the things they like.
A sensory bin full of sand, rocks and other toys is both an easy and inexpensive way of incorporating sensory play. In this small area, they can freely discover, explore, create and imagine on their own using their senses. They can dig up, pour and push sand for as long as they desire.
Kids also love to do arts and crafts. An arts and crafts area will help them engage their imagination and develop their creativity which allows self-expression. When they paint, colour, cut and glue, they also develop fine motor skills and relax at the same time.
2. Include a variety of plants, flowers and other natural elements.
Children learn about the environment when they are outside. They become attracted to flowers and their colours, to butterflies and birds and other animals. They also like touching them. These natural elements function as props and engage kids’ senses through colour, texture and fragrance.
3. Let curiosity and adventure fill your space.
Kids are naturally curious about what’s around them. They love to explore their surroundings and see new things. They want a space where they can let their imagination go in wonder.
To give them an adventure, consider having a splash pad in your outdoor area. It does sound complicated, but you can have professionals installed it for you. In this pad, the water is absorbed back through the pad and recirculated. You can also try a simple water table to play with.
And how about a sandbox with built-in seats and a lid on your space? This fun little area full of sand will bring them to white beaches while sitting on sturdy benches or directly on the sand. With a variety of sandboxes available, you will surely find one that will suit your area. You can even do it by yourself; use that old dresser that’s collecting dust in the garage. That new box is sure to spark curiosity and bring adventure to your kids.
4. Make a backyard climbing wall.
A backyard climbing wall? Why not? Kids love to climb! You can hook this up to your fence, given that it’s sturdy. You can also opt to make it high or low, depending on your kids’ capacity. Just make sure they are safe enough for them.
Physical skills are vital for growth, physical coordination and body movement. Having a backyard climbing wall will make building strength and coordination more fun for them.
5. Install swings or a sliding set.
These swings and sliding sets are in every adult’s childhood memory. They are a traditional way of bringing fun to your backyard. For the swing, you can simply have a tire attached to a sturdy tree branch or have a Vuly swing set installed by professionals. The advantage with the latter is that its catalogue varies, with many options for customisation. Your kids will surely enjoy this rough-and-tumble play equipment.
6. Assemble or build a playhouse.
Playhouse is a place that allows your imaginative little ones to bring their toys to life. They will love to stay in a place that they can consider their world. They can do anything and everything they want. You will be amazed at how they can easily learn in this kind of setting, physically and emotionally. A playhouse can also be a place to start training them with household chores and responsibilities.
7. Put a table and hammock retreat.
A table and a hammock retreat will be two ways to play in one. The tablespace is good for eating and crafting. They can also play board games on that. Meanwhile, the hammock at the bottom can be a cozy nook to read, nap, listen to music or simply enjoy the sights of the great outdoors.
8. Build a backyard tennis court.
Tennis gets all the kids moving and it is especially useful in the matter of both mental and physical development. The idea of building a private backyard tennis court sounds appealing to most families, who are keen on tennis. In that case, an artificial grass tennis court is the best choice since it is a very player-friendly surface and relatively soft compared to other options. the softness of the artificial grass helps to prevent children’s injuries.