Nowadays kids spend way too much time indoors. To help get them off the couch and get outside and be active, create an enticing garden that they just won't be able to resist. Make your garden child friendly, with swing sets and other areas set aside just for them. Remember to provide play areas protected from the sun using canopies and other methods of creating shade.
A sandpit is a great play area for kids to get dirty and really use their imaginations. Boys in particular love sandpits and will spend hours with their toy trucks and cars playing in amongst the sand. You can easily create a sandpit by laying out four timber sleepers to create the border, then buy your sand and fill it in. It can be a good idea to buy a canopy for the pit, which you can pull over it when it is not in use. This stops dirt and other bits of rubbish ending up in it, and if you have pets you can avoid having them using the sandpit as a toilet.
Children love cubby houses and it is great for them to have a special place all of their own. It does not necessarily have to be fancy, and if you have a large and sturdy tree you may want to build them a tree house. You can buy ready made cubby houses, or kits that are easy to put together. Otherwise you can design one yourself. Get the kids to help you, they are sure to have lots of ideas as to what they think a cubby house needs. You can also be creative and build something other than a traditional cubby house, such as a pirate ship or space ship. Be as imaginative as you like.
Put a vegetable garden in and give your kids their own plot. Let them help with the whole process, of preparing the soil, choosing what they want to plant, planting the seeds and taking care of the plant. Finally they will be rewarded with their own vegetables, and they can pick them and help prepare them to eat. Growing vegetables can teach children a lot about how our food is produced and can encourage them to eat healthy food.
If you have the space you may want to create an adventure playground of sorts, with a swing set, a slide and other play equipment. Put plenty of tan bark around underneath equipment to ensure a safe landing if someone falls and you may want to put up a canopy overhead to provide some shade.
If you have the space, and can afford to do it, create a secret garden for your kids. Partition off a corner of your garden with a fast growing hedge and create a secret shady world of their own. Have the entry guarded by an archway or gate and let your kids use this space as their very own.
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