Time spent outdoors playing, exploring and imagining is an important part of your child’s development at any age. You can help foster meaningful outdoor play by paying attention to how you design your outdoor landscape.
The first thing to keep in mind is safety. We take lots of precautions in the home when welcoming children into the mix – locking away hazardous products, installing gates at the edge of stairs, keeping sharp and fragile objects out of reach, putting bumpers on door knobs, the list goes on and on. But we don’t always treat the outdoors with as much trepidation. Bumps and bruises are to be expected after hearty play but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make our outdoor environment as safe and inviting as possible for our little ones.
Top 4 safety precautions:
1. Fence your pool – Some states have laws requiring safety features for pools. Such safety features are used to limit direct access between the home and the pool in order to prevent accidents from occurring. Even if laws don’t require you to fence off your pool, it’s still a good idea if you have children or if your neighbors have children who might wander onto your property.
2. Avoid toxic and harmful plants – Some plants, such as cacti, may be obviously harmful but others you might not expect. Common plants including azaleas and daffodils are actually toxic to children. You should also be wary of any berry-producing plants that your children might be curious enough to taste. Just make sure you do your research before committing to any plant options.
3. Artificial Grass – Installing artificial grass has several safety perks. With it, you get a flat, even surface that can help reduce tripping and falling hazards. It also provides a softer landing surface when children do fall or trip. Additionally, you can limit your child’s exposure to pesticides or herbicides because synthetic turf doesn’t require such maintenance.
4. Use Rubber Mulch – Installing rubber mulch in a designated children’s play area can really help cushion their fall and help you breathe easier as they play.
After safety concerns have been addressed it’s time to have fun. Fun is an essential element in a child friendly yard. Introducing extra special elements to a yard can help get children out of the house who are less inclined to play outdoors.
Top 5 fun outdoor ideas:
1. Sandbox – Bring the fun of the beach to your home with a sandbox. Sandboxes are great for encouraging your child to work with their hands and improve their motor skills.
2. Playground – A playground set with plenty of things to climb and slide down will keep your children active and help improve their coordination.
3. Sidewalk Chalk – Give your child the chance to express themselves and think creatively with sidewalk chalk.
4. Flowers & Bird Feeders – Your child will be delighted by the birds and butterflies that flowers and a bird feeder will attract to your yard. Flowers can also help brighten up your outdoor space, making it more inviting.
5. Playhouse – Make your child’s dream come true with a playhouse. Playhouses are great for encouraging imaginative play.
Making your yard safe and fun for your child can be such a rewarding endeavor. We hope this little guide has given you some good ideas for where to get started with making your landscape more child-friendly.