These days, kids are spending too much of their time indoors. Mainly, it’s because of COVID-19. To slow its spread, schools were closed and kids were discouraged from going out in public. It’s because they, together with the elderly, are more susceptible to the coronavirus. Another reason is the popularity of gadgets. Kids spend hours on end playing video games on their Switches and tablets. While there’s nothing wrong with being tech-savvy, they also need to spend more time outdoors.
They need a healthy dose of vitamin D from sunlight. It would help with their immune system, bone development, and others. Spending some time outside would also encourage them to participate in active play. It would be their form of exercise. Playing games, in particular, would help them develop executive functions such as planning, troubleshooting, negotiating, and multitasking.
You can encourage your kids to set aside their gadgets and play outside by creating a kid-friendly backyard. Here’s how.
Build a Tree House
If you have a tall and sturdy tree in your backyard, then consider building a tree house. A playground is not complete without it. It could be the place where your kids could play freely. It could be storage of sorts for their toys.
And, most of all, it could be your kids’ safe haven. Like every person in the world, your kids would also sometimes feel the need to be alone. It happens when they feel sad, frustrated, or overwhelmed. While it’s good for you to be there for them to open up, it’s also good for them to have some alone time. A tree house is perfect for that.
Improve Your Swimming Pool
If you have a swimming pool, then it would be good to encourage your kids to play in it more. You can install a slide to make swimming a more fun experience. You can also purchase various pool toys such as inflatable balls and water guns. You can even install a net across it so you and your kids could play volleyball.
Encouraging them to play in the water would teach them swimming, which is a very important survival skill. It’s similar to riding a bike or driving—everyone should know how to do it. Just make sure that you always maintain the pH balance of your pool. Ensure as well that it’s always clean.
Install a Sandbox
A lot of people might think that kids won’t be interested in playing in a sandbox. How could a it compete with a treehouse or a pool? But, in reality, a sandbox is more than just, well, a box of sand. It encourages kids to embrace the act of creating something.
With a sandbox, they could let their imagination run wild. They could build sandcastles or other constructions. This type of play hones their creative and strategic minds. Who knows? You might have an engineer in the making so it’s best to let your kid hone that mind early on.
Construct a Playset
To truly engage your kids in active play, give them the means to do so. There are a lot of options to choose from. You can install a swing set. You can also build a mini rock climbing wall. You can even build a mini zipline!
Ask your kids as well what they’re interested in. If you have a budding gymnast, then they would certainly have the time of their lives with a trampoline. If you have very energetic kids, you can build an area where they could play obstacle races.
Setting Aside Space for a Lounge Area
As you create a fun play space in your backyard for your kids to enjoy, don’t forget the adults. You, as parents, should be able to enjoy it as well. After all, your kids aren’t the only ones who need their healthy dose of vitamin D. Set up some comfortable outdoor furniture. Make sure the outdoor kitchen is fully stocked with snacks and drinks. Set up a fire pit nearby to keep you warm and cozy in the evening.
This way, you have space where you can entertain your friends or relax with a good book. And, more importantly, you’ll have the perfect space where you can keep an eye on your kids as they play around in the backyard.
Playing and making memorable moments outside is an essential part of every kid’s childhood. They should be able to enjoy running around, playing games, and socializing with other kids in the playground. Yes, it’s challenging to do that now with the threat of a deadly virus still looming over us. So what you can do is find a way for them to still experience the joy of playing outside while remaining safe at home.