When we think about a kid-friendly garden or backyard, we often imagine a swing set, a playground type area, and perhaps a hardscape feature like a basketball court. Although these options are a great way to entice your child to check the backyard out, it may not be enough to keep them outside all day long. Plus, a lot of adults don’t want to sacrifice the gorgeous aesthetics of their garden just to provide their kids with what they want. Luckily you don’t have to compromise if you work in the kid-friendly features right into the landscape during a backyard refurbishment project.
Here are a few ideas that you can use to make your backyard garden into a kid-friendly paradise!
- Create a Secret Hideaway: every child loves finding secret hideaways that they can “conquer” and make their own. If your backyard is big enough, take the opportunity to create a few concealed areas within the garden that lead distinctively to open clearings or small seating areas. Not only will this peak your child’s curiosity but it will create an enticing destination for them.
- DIY Splashpad: this is perfect for the hotter summer months and can be stored away during the winter months or when you have company. All that is needed is a garden hose, a tarp, and a little bit of imagination. You can also DIY a sprinkler from a garden hose and a large plastic bottle.
- Chalkboard Walls: are a great way to get your kids to stop scrawling their artistic masterpieces across the driveway. Not only can these be installed in the backyard on a fence or other wall type, but it gets your children into the backyard and away from cars. Plus, the chalkboard can be used for artistic drawings, game scores, or even backyard reminders.
- Swing: whether you choose to put in a regular swing or a tire swing, your children will thank you. Although this doesn’t always entertain the children for long periods of time, it can be a very nice way pass the time. For instance, a swing can be used in combination with a butterfly garden, ensuring lots of mesmerising play. Another option would be to add in a minimalist swing near the main table as this helps smaller or more fidgety children to remain near their parents but still retain play time.
- Utilise Pathways: whether you already have a few pathways or are planning on refurbishing an area into a pathway, these are a great way to get your kids outdoors. They can be used for riding bikes, scooters, and skateboards, or they can be used to haul items from one end of the backyard to the other. Plus, you can have smaller pathways that lead to secret hideouts. If you have a big enough backyard, keep a large area of grass open for “frolicking” as children love to chase the dog, lay in the grass, play ball games, or use the sprinkler.
- Multi-Level Play Environments: if your environment allows, choose to create multi-level play environments like slides over top of the garden or a slanted rock wall up the hill. These types of environments can be made to be all natural, can be safe, and will encourage your children to climb.
- Natural Jungle Gym: instead of adding in a play structure or a ball court, choose to make natural play areas. For instance, you could create a small “hobbit hole” out of natural grass, old wood, and soil. Or you could create a natural fort out of branches and leaves. You could also make a leafy hideaway out of willow branches which can be cut from a willow tree, stuck into soil, and regrown with plenty of water.
Other than the above, make sure to create an area that has a decent amount of sun protection during your backyard refurbishment project. This can be done with an awning, umbrella, or pagoda. If you can try to attract wildlife like bees, frogs, birds, and butterflies as these will peak your child’s interest in the environment and provide them with a learning experience.