It’s more important now than ever to encourage your children to engage in outdoor play. The fresh air, the sunshine, the exercise and the skill development that comes with creative and imaginative play outdoors is not only amazing but essential to your child’s development. If you have a backyard, and you’re looking for some ideas to make it a great play space for your child, consider these fun ideas sourced from Outdoor Living Today:
Create a Sandbox or Dirt Play Area
The saying is that the less a toy does, the more a child will learn!
Sand is such a great sensory plaything for kids. Touching, dumping and sifting sand is wondrous as they explore their sense of touch and play, feeling the amazing texture of sand and dirt.
Your child can scoop, pour, measure and make designs for hours in these mediums. A sandbox can easily be made and filled with basic sand from any hardware store, and a dirt pile can become a road, a mountain, a construction site and more! Sand and dirt provide hours of fun.
Outdoor Play Structures
Whether it is a simple swing set or a more complex unit with a slide and a treehouse, an outdoor playset is a place where to run, jump and hide, and explore, while learning risk-taking, fine and gross motor development and physical exercise.
Outdoor playground equipment is essential for the child to learn his or her limits as well – how high can they swing, how fast can they go down the slide, or how high can they climb – without feeling fear, or before we experience our limit? It’s wonderful to learn about cause and effect through the exhilaration of a swingset or the speed of a slide.
Playhouses provide an opportunity for a child’s budding imaginations to flourish. Not only are they engaging in imaginative play, but they are also mimicking what they may see in their homes, which helps them to make sense of the world around them and assist them later in life.
They may make a garden around the house, or decorate the inside with bits of material, rocks and flowers. Even the simple act of pretending to cook a mud pie in their playhouse can be an educational experience for a child.
Kids love trampolines – and even better, they are a great source of exercise in disguise! There are many health benefits associated with jumping on the trampoline, among other benefits. For example, learning skills such as bum drops or flips on a trampoline requires practice and persistence, and because it’s so fun to learn, a child will usually persevere to do so.
Once they have mastered that skill, they have improved their self-esteem! It also helps with motor skill development, balance, coordination and strengthens muscles. Add a bit of fun to the equation by throwing some balloons into the trampoline and watch them bounce around while your child bounces! Trampolines offer hours of fun.
Outdoor Imaginative Play Area
This type of play area could be anything you imagine in your back yard – for example; you could use a few old tires filled with soil, plants and toys, or an old garden box filled with rocks and wood shavings for an imaginative area.
Essentially, any contained receptacle with a variety of sensory mediums inside will provide a fantastic imaginative play area for your children. They can take their dolls, their toy cars or any other items that they’d like and create a pretend world of their choosing in this area. Make it even more intimate by hanging a hammock or an old sheet from some branches and make a tent for a lovely, cozy area to play in.
Regardless of what structure or idea you choose, providing your child with an opportunity to play outdoors is essential and beneficial to their happiness and livelihood.