Ever wanted to set up an amazing outdoor space for your kids? Well with a bit of creativity, imagination and maybe a touch of elbow grease you can create a space that is guaranteed to keep the kids busy for hours!
Think outside the box!
Our backyard is a treasure trove of odds and ends that we have found in op shops, tip shops, industrial areas and garage sales! Items like pallets (untreated) tyres, wooden planks, cable reels, old bike wheels, gutters and pipes all give children a wide range of resources to play and create with. Some items will need rough edges sanded off, or a quick coat of paint before they can be used by children.
Have “Messy” Areas
I know, I know, the last thing we all need is any more mess to clean up. But bear with me for a minute! Having an area especially set up for messy play can really benefit children. Being given opportunities to get a bit mucky and dirty and to experiment and play with lots of different materials is fantastic for sensory development, sense of self and immune systems! Even if just a little painting or playdough table for your child to experiment with can be hugely beneficial. Have some warm water, a washcloth and a change of clothes ready!
Keep It Simple
- Collect a few kitchen odds and ends and add them to a table with water and dirt. It’s a mud kitchen!
- Pick flowers from the garden and give your (older) child scissors to “snip” the flowers. Great for fine motor skills and coordination.
- Add herbs, sticks and flowers to playdough. Expect some beautiful creations!
- Fill a tub with warm bubbly water and add cups for tipping and pouring
- Put a basket of dress ups and a mirror in the cubbyhouse (make sure the mirror is placed so it can’t get broken, or get a child-safe mirror)
- Paint some planks of wood like roads – instant car track!
- Add baskets of seed pods, sticks, pinecones, flowers, shells, and place around your yard and see what you children create!
Create space for active play
One of my favourite strategies to help deal with an active child was to go outside! Balls, blocks, climbing areas, things to swing on and balance on. Areas to RUN! Children need to move their bodies frequently and creating a space to do that will be a sanity saver for them and you! Children need plenty of hours of unstructured active play to thrive and to wear themselves out!