Go outside! Just … go outside!”
If you’ve had kids for a few years and you have any hair left, congratulations. Most parents have torn all theirs out by now.
Thankfully, summer is here and you can send these loud, insane little people out into the backyard sunshine when you need a little peace and quiet to regroup.
But the trick is not just to get them to go outside, it’s to keep them out there. After all, inside is where all the magic of iPads and TV and video games are.
Here are five simple ways to give your kids an incentive to spend LOTS of time in your backyard.
- Kids Fencing
Okay, this one is a little more for you than for them. You’re not going to have peace of mind unless you’re pretty sure they’re not going to wander off. You can make fencing fun, though.
Get some brightly-colored pickets to fence off a kids area. They will claim it as their space. They’ll bring big boxes out there to make a clubhouse, or play in a kiddie pool there, or whatever they want in their special kids-only space.
- Landing Pad
Kids like to climb and jump off stuff. It doesn’t matter what the intended purpose is. If you have a castle with a steering wheel, they will jump off it; if you have a plastic slide, they will jump off it; and so on.
Embrace it! Create a safe space for jumping and tumbling. Soft mulch is a good, natural option to place in the corner of the yard where you prefer your kids play. You’ll have to train them to keep their moveable plastic castles there, of course.
You can buy all kinds of plastic sand boxes, or you can build one with a few planks of wood if you prefer something more traditional. Whatever it is, fill it with sand and kids will flock to it.
But you won’t have peace of mind if you’re concerned about your grass. Consider the sandbox a permanent placement. Lay down mulch around it, too. That will be more attractive than sand-covered grass or dirt.
- Tire Swing
Still a classic, you just have to have a tree branch large and strong enough to support it. If you don’t, you can buy or build a frame for it.
Place the swing near (you guessed it) your landing pad area. They’re going to jump off this, too!
- Secret Garden
This sounds complicated, but it can be very simple, especially for very young children. The idea is to create a “kids-only” space using natural surroundings. Ali Wright has a lot of great ideas.
Is there a kid-sized space between a tree and your shed? Put a large stone there and tell the kids it’s their special rock. Or put some potted plants in a circle behind a bush. Or tack up a piece of wood to the base of a bush and put the kids’ names on it.
If they feel like it’s a special place that’s all theirs, it’ll work. Simple!
So send those kids outside, shut the door and take a nap. You deserve it. And if you need any help with the mulch, bushes, trees and hardscape elements of your kid-friendly yard, you know who to call!
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Clean Cut Lawn & Landscape
7415 W Jackson St
Muncie, IN 47304-9759