Childhood is all about playing, and having the right space for kids to play is paramount to their growth and development. Play facilitates education in everything from social skills to problem solving. The backyard can help create inspiration to last a lifetime. It’s not a bad place for adults to have a good time, either.
Don’t Break the Bank
The perfect backyard play area doesn’t have to cost a fortune or look like a three-ring circus. “Kids like height, they like water, they like plants, tree houses and stepping stones,” says Lolly Tai, a landscape architect and professor at Temple University in Ambler, Pa. “Give them a little water and sand, and all of a sudden creative play happens.”
Create the Place for Play
Planning is key to making the perfect space for children to play. First write down everything you want to include in your backyard play place. Do you want a swing set, tree house, sandbox, vegetable or herb garden? All of the above? Write it all down, then figure out the best spots to place these feature within your yard’s topography.
“It takes doing and thinking,” Tai said. Consider the different ways children and adults will share the space and try to make them work together. A vegetable garden can definitely be a part of the play area. Raised-bed gardens work well for kids because they’re easily accessible.
The Play Area Is Not an Afterthought
Provide shelter in a child’s garden. A shelter can be as simple as a tepee built with sturdy garden stakes and climbing plants. The play area is very important.
“If your whole backyard is beautiful and the plastic sandbox is just stuck in the corner, what does that say about the hierarchy?” said Michael Laris, director of product development and strategy for Playworld, which makes imaginative playground equipment. “A child has rights like we do to have proper spaces. We should do things beautifully and well for them.”
A backyard play area is fun for the whole family. For more information about how you can inspire your kids for their whole lives, call Olympic Lawn & Landscape at (816) 875-9645.