Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.
Recent studies indicate that the average child in the UK spends approximately 30 minutes a day playing outside and over 4 hours daily in front of a screen. That means few kids are active and reap the benefits of regular physical activity. Fortunately, creating a kid-friendly garden is a wonderful way to encourage children to spend more time outdoors, engage in active play, and use their imagination. Here are four ways to do so.
- Add a sensory garden
A sensory garden is designed to stimulate all five senses – something kids really need. Your ideal sensory garden should include sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound elements. Add colorful plants to help stimulate sight. Flowers with sweet-smelling fragrances like roses, honeysuckle, or lavender are excellent additions to trigger their sense of smell. You can enhance the senses of touch by growing plants with different textures. For example, add spiky, fuzzy, and soft plants to the garden. A water fountain will create the perfect sound element, and plants that bear delicious fruits will provide taste. But it also helps to add interactive elements like a birdhouse to attract birds and a butterfly house. You shouldn’t also forget to erect comfortable seating areas in the sensory garden.
- Build a DIY playhouse
Few things can spark a child’s imagination more than a playhouse. Therefore, buy and erect an easy-to-build DIY playhouse for your kids. It doesn’t have to be a huge structure if you don’t have enough back garden space. Most importantly, your kids have privacy and space to tap into their creativity. Alternatively, build a treehouse if you already have a tree in your back garden. Again, you can buy an easy-to-build DIY treehouse kit. While at it, encourage your kids to decorate and personalise their playhouse or treehouse with their favorite colors, artwork, and toys.
- Install outdoor games and sports equipment
You can encourage your kids to be active when on the playground. So, install one or more outdoor games and sports equipment, depending on how much space you have. Doing this will promote physical activity and encourage friendly competition if you have two or more children. That will also encourage neighboring kids to come around, helping your child to socialise better. Some options include a basketball hoop, soccer goals, a structure for climbing, a mini-golf course, and a maze. These options allow your kids to exercise their bodies, so feel free to consider this.
- Choose a good ground cover
You need a safe, resilient, low-maintenance ground cover for your kids to play. Ideally, your preferred choice should be smooth and cushiony to minimise the risk of injuries. Some of the best options include artificial grass and rubber tiles. Of course, you can leave some areas for hardscaping, especially areas designed as pathways. Here, outdoor porcelain paving or gravel can work, so keep this in mind. But if your entire outdoor space is hardscape, you can cover just a portion with rubber tiles to create a softer area where the kids can play without hurting themselves.