Spending time with nature is essential to a child’s development. Compared to kids who spend most of their time indoors, kids who are exposed to the outdoors experience a lot of physical emotional, and intellectual benefits. These benefits include improved motor skills, greater self-awareness, a higher sense of independence, and better respect for the environment, among so many others.
However, you don’t need to shuttle your kids to the park or have them explore the forest out back just to let them experience the outdoors. Spending time in the backyard can give them adequate exposure to the sun and fresh air. That said, here’s how to make your backyard more child-friendly so that your kids will want to spend their days playing outside.
1. Remove toxic plants
If your child is not old enough to not eat random plants, be sure to remove any plants that can be toxic to humans when eaten in excess. If your child takes a nibble, they’ll probably be fine, but some children straight up eat large amounts of plants when left unsupervised.
2. Clear the clutter
If you want to encourage your children to play outside, you’re going to have to make room for their stuff. Remove clutter from the backyard, especially potentially dangerous ones like garden equipment or building tools. Make sure the garden hose is coiled up and put in a safe place as well. It’s also a good idea to put away your grill if you don’t want your kids messing around with it.
3. Look for mosquito breeding grounds
No one can have a good time outside if they’re getting attacked by mosquitoes every few minutes. Protect your children from painful and itchy bites by removing any potential mosquito breeding grounds. This includes old tires, pots with standing water, fountains, and basically anything else that can collect water. If there are objects with stagnant water in them, remove the water immediately and turn these objects over so that no more water collects.
4. Provide shade
Playing out in the sun is all fun and games until someone gets a sunburn. Shield your kids from harmful UV rays and excessive sun exposure by setting up shaded areas. You can do this by installing awnings on your patio, putting up umbrellas or teepees, or setting up shade canopies in their main play area. Of course, it’s also a must that you put sunscreen on them if the weather is particularly sunny.
5. Give kids a private area
If your kids are old enough to play relatively unsupervised in private “rooms” in the backyard, set up a playhouse or a teepee for them–anything that can give them intimacy or privacy during play. In doing so, kids will get a place where they can spend time by themselves, thus increasing their sense of independence and teaching them the value of privacy.
A private play area will also encourage their sense of imagination as they can create all sorts of scenarios in their little rooms.
6. Invest in playground equipment
Kids love playground equipment, and if you want your kids to get more physical activity, it’s definitely a great investment. Even the most basic play equipment can get kids moving around a lot more, and it can also encourage socializing if they play with neighbors or siblings. So essentially, you’re hitting two birds with one stone. Moreover, most kids can spend hours playing with playground equipment before they get sick of it. And if you have multiple kids, you don’t have to get rid of the setup until the youngest outgrows it.
7. Maintain a garden
Plant a garden with low-maintenance herbs, flowers, or vegetables and let your kids take care of it. This is a great way to increase physical activity, develop their mental ability, encourage respect for nature, and teach responsibility all at the same time. And let’s face it; kids like to get dirty, and there’s nothing more fun than dipping their hands in some soil. Furthermore, the harvesting part can give kids a sense of accomplishment and show them that hard work definitely pays off.
If possible, boost the appearance of your abode by hiring professional landscaping services. Allow the experts to design and maintain your front yard and backyard. This will ensure that your property looks great at all times.
8. Limit the furniture
Reduce the amount of stuff that your children can bonk their heads into. Remove unnecessary outdoor furniture and push the remaining ones against the wall.
Children thrive better with adequate exposure to nature and the outdoors. If you want to give your kids the opportunity to spend time outdoors without leaving the house, spruce up your backyard and make it as child-friendly as it can be. Aside from encouraging play, you’re also making your backyard safer for your kids in the process.