No parent wants their child to waste away in front of the television or tablet screen. However, you shouldn’t expect your little one to take pleasure in going outside if you can’t offer them anything exciting in their own backyard. If you are looking for ways to make your backyard more enticing to a younger crowd, you have come to the right place. Here’s a guide to the best kid-approved backyard features.
No kid will complain about a backyard being too bright and sunny — but that doesn’t mean you, as a parent, should force kids to play in an unshaded area. Sunlight and heat can hurt over time, causing sunburns, dehydration and worse. The best shade comes from trees, which also decrease the temperature of the area. However, you should also install at least one hardscaped shady area, like a covered porch or pergola.
The quintessential outdoor recreation area, a large, green lawn offers unending possibilities for play. You can get all sorts of lawn games, like badminton, croquet, cornhole and giant Jenga, but you will also see kids make up their own games to play on the grass. It’s important to note that most lawns don’t like too much traffic, so after a heavy season of outdoor play, you might need some lawn care tips to keep your grass happy and healthy.
Kids are fascinated by growing things, so you should give them a place to learn and participate in their own backyard. You should work with your kids to decide what to grow in your garden, taking into account the seasonal climate and care required for each plant. Crops like tomatoes and strawberries are fun, because you can eat the (literal) fruits of your labor, but you should also experiment with annual and perennial blooms.
It’s incredibly fashionable to build into your landscape a secluded spot, where you can go to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. In fact, kids like the idea of a hideaway, too; it gives them a space to play in other ways that wide-open spaces often prevent. While it isn’t a good idea to make your backyard hideaway totally invisible from the house — you always want to be able to keep an eye on your kids — you can create a cozy corner that feels special and secluded, even if it isn’t.
A Play Space
You have a house to play in — so why not give your little ones a space they can call their own? Play spaces come in all shapes and sizes, from pre-fab plastic structures to custom, DIY homes to large jungle gyms with all kinds of accoutrements, like swings and slides. Before you promise a play space, you should build a budget and consider how your kid likes to play. Then, you can create the perfect space for your yard.
Treehouses are the ultimate play space for kids. It’s not uncommon for kids to feel like their treehouse is a home away from home, a clubhouse where they can think, say and do whatever they want. Before you commit to a treehouse, you should be certain that you have trees with a strong trunk and limbs to support the structure. If you don’t, you can always build a playhouse on a platform to emulate the treehouse experience.
A Splash Pad
A sprinkler is nice, but a splash pad is next-level wet-and-wild fun — and it isn’t as hard to make as you might expect, and it is certainly more economical than a pool or hot tub. In fact, you can buy splash pad kits that tell you exactly how to create the pad in your yard. The pad is easy to maintain and can even serve as another entertaining space when you aren’t running the water.
A Sand Pit
A backyard feature that encourages kids to play and express their creativity is a sand pit. Sand allows kids to build, tunnel, mold and generally get their hands dirty in the arts of creation and exploration. Plus, sand isn’t too expensive; you might already have a sandy soil you can use for a fun space. However, it is worth noting that you should always cover your sand pit when your kids are done for the day; otherwise, animals might dig or leave droppings in the dirt, contaminating the play area.
Finally, your kids shouldn’t play outside at night without supervision and illumination — but that doesn’t mean the lighting you use can’t be fun. String lights create a whimsical atmosphere, transforming your backyard from the mundane to the fantastical as soon as the sun sets. You can even use fairy lights to create illuminated garden-scapes, replete with glowing mushrooms or other exciting features.
All it takes is some ingenuity (and some room in the budget) to transform a boring backyard into someplace thrilling and enticing. When your backyard is more than an empty space, even you will want to spend more time outside.