As every parent knows, young kids are arguably the most energetic and vibrant critters walking this planet. While love for them is always unconditional, they can be exhausting at times! Especially when you’re trying to unwind and kick your feet up. Finding ways to occupy their curious minds can be a big challenge.
In this modern age there are plenty of tech products like iPads or gaming consoles available to provide a quick and easy distraction. There’s nothing wrong with sitting down to video games every now and then, but is it really something you want them doing every minute of every day?
The backyard has always been a great space for kids to play, learn and explore, and even today with all the gadgets we enjoy there’s nothing better for growing minds and bodies than getting out in the fresh air and running around. Here are some cool ideas to make your backyard a kid’s wonderland.
1. Build a treehouse.
There’s something about the treehouse that conjures up images of the quintessential childhood: a rickety old structure high up in the branches where all sorts of secret meetings or camp outs might take place. Treehouses have been such a mainstay in popular culture for good reason: they’re just great fun. Whether you’re looking to encourage your kids to get creative or learn a new skill constructing a tree house is just the first part of the fun.
The beauty of doing this, is that it’s not necessarily about the end result, it’s about the process. We’re not saying that your kids are going to be master architects, but getting stuck into a little building project together is a great way to channel their energy into something that’s productive as well as lots of fun. Once the treehouse is built it paves the way for plenty of other fun and stimulating activities, whether that be cops and robbers, knights and dragons, or anything else they dream up.
If big sturdy trees are in limited supply in your backyard, you might consider purchasing a cubby house instead. Every child loves having their own special space to call their own. Aarons Outdoor Living have some amazing cubby houses and play equipment, starting from about $1,395.
2. DIY slip ‘n slide.
Okay, let’s be honest, we all know that this one isn’t just going to be for the kids. It might seem a bit daunting to build your own but believe us when we say that it’s so much easier than you’d think!
Grab a tarp, a hose and plenty of morning fresh. Mix it all together, and voila, you have at your kid’s disposal limitless hours of summer fun. The course your slide takes, how long it is, whether you decide to end it with a pool or nothing at all is up to you!
3. Life size Angry Birds.
The app might not be as popular as it once was, so why not give it a second life in the backyard? This is a great way to get screen addicted kids interested in an outside activity, by transplanting one of their favourite games from the digital world into reality. This game not only teaches kids a few problem solving skills but also a little bit of basic physics for the budding Einsteins out there.
To create your own Angry Birds you’ll need some basic household items. For the sling itself you’ll need a pair of stretchy stockings, a stretchy t-shirt and two sturdy poles. Attach the stockings to the poles and make the pouch out of the shirt. Then make some obstacles to knock down using old bottles, boxes or anything else you can stack into a crazy pile teetering on the edge. And that’s all there is too it. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than a trip to the local bowling alley.
4. Tyre swing.
This requires one of the traditional features we associate with the stereotypical backyard. Namely, a decent size tree with a sturdy limb or two. If you’re lucky enough to have this crucial ingredient already, then all you have to bring along is a length of quality rope and a tyre. Don’t know where to find a tyre? Don’t fret, there are a number of outlets online that sell tyre swing kits.
No one likes a bored kid, but an injured one is a whole lot worse, so when picking out your tree, rope and tyre, make sure you choose specimens that are strong, sturdy and in good condition. We don’t want any branches dropping unexpectedly or kids, for that matter.
5. Passing and kicking practice wall.
Reckon your kid is the next Harry Kewell or Buddy Franklin? If your child is that way inclined we’ve got the perfect activity to jumpstart their careers: a passing and kicking practice wall.
Encouraging ball sports is a great way to show kids the virtues of an active lifestyle and can work wonders for their general hand eye coordination. When kids put their minds to a competitive task, even with something as simple as aiming for a hole with a ball, it can occupy their attention for hours on end. Luckily for parents, setting up a passing and kicking practice wall is almost as easy as making a sandwich.
Grab an old sheet, cut a few holes, hang it on the clothesline or between two trees, supply the ball goods and pass away. Who knows where that practice will lead! I hear Lionel Messi makes a few bucks.
Kids are pretty creative. I think there are a few parents out there who can attest to their children’s artistic passion just by taking a glance at their living room walls. No one likes having to repaint every few weeks, so why not give them a wall they are allowed to draw on? A great canvas for every prospective Da Vinci out there is the humble chalkboard.
If you’re feeling creative why not make your own chalkboard? Chalkboard paint is inexpensive and easy to use. Simply apply it to a surface just like you would any coat of paint and once it dries you have a readymade board that your kids can draw, erase, and then create again. You can turn almost anything into a blackboard: a garage door, a fence or a large rock.
Those are our picks for the best backyard play ideas to keep the kids occupied. Do you have any other ideas you think deserve a place on the list? If so, leave us a comment below.