There’s no doubt that spending time outside has numerous benefits not only for the body, but the spirit as well. Long and hard days at work and school can wear a person down, cause headaches, mood swings and irritation. Getting yourself and your kids involved and engaged in creative outdoor activities is a great way to get everyone to spend more time outside and away from the flickering screens of computers, tablets and smartphones.
With your kids’ safety and fun in mind, here are several ideas how to create a backyard that your kids will love spending time in.
An outdoor easel
An outdoor easel made of an over-sized chalkboard will have your kids go wild drawing, scribbling and doodling and you very happy to have it all happening outside, and not on your living room walls! Create your own chalkboard using a large piece of plywood and paint it with either store-bought paint or your own mix, using unsanded tile grout mixed with exterior latex enamel paint. Apply two coats and once it’s dried, hang it at your kids’ height using heavy-duty hardware. Add a bright coloured frame, a bucket to store the chalk and fun times can begin!
A flower garden
Planting a flower garden can give your kids a chance to experience the satisfaction of growing a garden from scratch and watching its entire life cycle. It will also teach them the responsibility of caring for plants and honouring their daily duties. One more plus is that you’ll have a beautiful and colourful backyard. Local nurseries commonly offer loads of different flowers to choose from and you can decide how to shape the flower beds, from traditional rectangular ones to imaginative spirals, circles or hearts.
A summer stage
Making a summer stage in your backyard is an amazing opportunity for your kids to let their imagination run wild and enjoy role plays or their own little theatre shows. It’s a quick, easy and cheap project that will give your kids the chance to express themselves and you a free, fun show while enjoying your glass of ice tea.
All you need is a clothesline, clip-on curtain rings and 6 yards of red fabric. Cut the fabric in two, 3-yard long pieces, fold down one end of each piece and clip the curtain rings, spacing them equally apart. Pull the clothesline through the rings and hang it between two trees. The line can stay up for the entire summer and the clips will make it easy to take the curtains down or put them up again.
A crafts table
Another inexpensive and fun outdoor addition to your backyard is a crafts table. Use a reclaimed pallet to make a low patio table and add several colourful cushions. Bring out whatever arts and crafts your kids like and make a little workshop in the fresh air. Just be careful you all get proper sun protection in hot summer months. The best way to do it is to install a custom cantilever umbrella on your patio, which has a durable canopy and can rotate 360 degrees to follow the movement of the sun.
Stepping stones or stumps will create a balance challenge for your kids as they run or play catch. You can opt for cut logs in different heights that you can space just far enough apart so your kids have to carefully plan each step. Or, you can make it a joint project and create stepping stones together using ready-mix mortar or concrete. Kids will love to participate and get dirty! Choose the moulds you like and pour the mortar mix at least 2 inches thick. While it’s still wet and soft, let the kids decorate them with pebbles, marbles or beads, or write their names. It’ll stay as a wonderful reminder when they grow up.
Whatever you decide to create in your backyard, you’ll have an opportunity to spend quality time with your kids, be outside in the fresh air and create wonderful memories together, so pick a project and get cracking.