If you’re struggling to get the kids outdoors it might be time to refresh the backyard with some unique play ideas sure to motivate your little people to put down the iPad and feel the fresh air on their faces.
We all know the many benefits of both active and imagination-based play so here’s a creative round up of the ‘best of the best’. With these additions your kids will be beating a path to the backdoor quicker than you can say ‘Put on a hat!’
From improvised, low cost play to the crème-de-la-crème we’ve 6 ideas that your kids will adore. And let’s face it – Mum’s will too. For so many reasons it’s always awesome when the kids take the play outside…
Old Fashioned Fun
As children ourselves we Mums knew the joy of a rope ladder or a tyre swing. Simple pleasures that saw us scaling trees to terrifying heights or giggling with delight as we squeezed a friend next to us on a homemade swing. Ladders and swings are ideal outdoor toys for developing upper body and core strength. It’s also wonderfully nostalgic to see our little people enjoy the basic pleasures that many of us grew up with. If you’ve a handy dad or grandpa in your life you could build this item yourself, if not you can buy them here from just $45.
Install a Fort
For rough and tumble kids there is no better choice than a backyard fort. Part adventure playground
developing strength, balance and agility and part club-house-meets-secret-hideaway this style of
outdoor equipment is truly little and big boy heaven*. All the fantasies we indulged growing up of Scooby Doo-style mysteries and Famous Five-esque adventures come to life with a fort. The only downside to a backyard fort is that you’ll end up with a yard full of children – every kid on the block will want to be part of the fun! You can find forts here from My Cubby.
Jump To It!
A trampoline is a brilliant addition to any yard if you have the room and the budget. New innovations and technologies now means trampolines are a safer than ever and research shows that they have multiple benefits for both physical and cognitive development. The other great benefit to a trampoline is they really do grow with your child so investing in a quality brand will see it span their childhood from two to twelve. This one from JumpStar Trampolines.
Consider a cubby
When it comes to imaginative and role-based playing there is no better choice than a cubby house. Traditional playhouses like that of our own childhood are an adorable addition but don’t forget to check out modern style cubbies which are gorgeous bright inclusions to any yard with their slides, unique rooflines and open plan designs. Forget Homeworld – these contemporary cubbies from My Cubby are to die for with split-level design, sleek kitchens and bold colour schemes!
Sensory Choices with Sand & Water
If you’ve a child that loves sensory play a water table or sand pit are fabulous options. If you want the best of both worlds there are many combination water-sand stations on the market or you can opt for the traditional style ‘clam’ which is cheap and cheerful from your local hardware. Don’t forget a good sand or water play area must incorporate a cover to avoid mosquitoes and cats compromising the cleanliness of the play materials. This example is from Step Two.
Camp Outside (or in!)
Every child loves the fun and creativity ‘at home’ camping. Whether you throw an old blanket over the outdoor furniture or indulge with a gorgeous teepee, (as much a designer décor item as a play piece!) tents provide hours of fun and fabulous imaginary play. Before you know it your kids will be lugging their dolls, bikes and any other toy they can move to the tent and setting up temporary residence in a far-away imagined land.
Some of the best outdoor play options are free – and other can be a greater investment perfect for Christmas or a child’s birthday. While some play options can seem more expensive don’t forget to take a long-term view to outdoor toy choices – there are very few pieces you will get so many years of play out of. Seek quality manufacturing, an emphasis on safety and design that will grow with your child through their stages of play.
Here’s to outdoor play mum… (& enjoying an uninterrupted cuppa watching them play! Now THAT’S money well spent.)