Ensuring that our kids are getting enough exercise isn’t easy. Most of us will settle for them at least spending a few hours outdoors now and then, even if they aren’t exercising particularly hard. The easiest place to get your kids outdoors is at home in your yard. Here are six things that any parent can do to get their kids to spend more time in the yard.
Create a Sensory Experience
Different children learn and engage with the world around them in different ways. Some children are visual learners who learn by observing; others learn through doing things for themselves. If you can create a yard that appeals to all of your children’s senses, you will not only have all the bases covered, but you will end up with a yard that will be the envy of all the other parents.
There are numerous things you can do to create more and more varied sensory experiences for children in your yard. For example, why not take your children to the gardencenter with you and let them pick out some plants and flowers that they like. Whether they respond to the aesthetics of a plant, its texture, its smell, or anything else about it, getting your kids involved in choosing what you plant in the yard will foster a connection between them and it.
It’s not just plants that can be used to create a more diverse sensory experience in your yard. Yard ornaments and water features can also be very appealing for children of all ages. Again, involving them in deciding which ones you buy will inevitably create an attachment
The more varied the sensory experience you can create in your yard, the more attracted children will be to it. Turning your yard into a sensory paradise is sure to draw your children outside way more often.
Get Creative (Literally)
Even better than letting your kids help pick out yard furniture and ornaments, you can allow them to design some of their own. There are a number of ways that you can go about this. You can either buy blank ornaments and let your kids loose on them with paints and crayons, or you can make some yard decorations from scratch.
Kids love arts and crafts, if you can work arts and crafts into most things, you will find kids are a lot more interested. Terracotta pots are cheap and easy to decorate, all you need to do is give them a base coat using emulsion beforehand. Once your kids have finished their decorating, apply a layer of varnish to ensure that it sticks and can survive the elements.
Create Soft Surfaces
Kids love to run about and play, almost as much as they love falling over and colliding with one another. A soft surface can make a lot of difference; grass and dirt are certainly much gentler than concrete or brick. If your yard is currently entirely or mostly concrete, stone or another hard surface, you can put down soil and grow areas of grass relatively quickly and easily if you know what to do.
Sod is used to establish a lawn quickly. Sod is used in all areas but is especially useful in areas where seed can’t be used, for example, where the seed would simply blow away. Look for a business like this company operating in your area and offering sod suitable for your yard. You can easily increase the amount of soft surfacing in your yard.
Home playground equipment is relatively cheap these days and makes for a much more interactive yard experience for kids. If you’re willing to splash out on one of the more expensive options, you should be able to find the kind of equipment that will regularly tempt your children out into the yard.
As well as equipment like swings and climbing gyms, you can also find a number of games designed for children to play in the yard. Some children are perfectly happy with something as simple as a ball to throw around outside. If that applies to your kids, don’t over complicate matters! If your kids just want a ball to throw around, then make sure they have the best darn ball you can find.
Buying a simple guide book to enable you and your children to identify common plants and animals found in and around your garden, which could prove to be a fantastic investment. Many of these books allow kids to tick off anything they identify and make the process more interactive. When your children are able to identify the things around them beyond abstract labels like ‘tree’ and ‘flower’, they will feel a much greater attachment to the outdoors.
Once you and your kids start thinking about all the different examples of nature that can be found within the confines of your yard, you will realize just how many there are. Creating a lasting bond between your child and the nature around them has never been more important. Future generations will face complicated environmental issues and need to make sure that they are adequately equipped to deal with them.
Like nature spotting, stargazing enables your children to look at the world around them and know exactly what they are looking at. Whereas looking at flora and fauna will teach your children about the surrounding nature, teaching them stargazing will allow them to look up at the night sky and see all the wonders it has to offer.
There are a number of stargazing apps available that allow you to point your smartphone at the night sky and see an augmented reality overlay. This overlay shows what stars, constellations and other celestial objects are visible in the night sky. This is a really great and interactive way of teaching your children about the night sky. Encouraging your kids to fall in love with the great outdoors will benefit them for their entire lives. Not only is regularly getting outdoors important for our mental and physical health, but environmental issues are alsogoing to become more important in the future. Foster your children’s love of nature now by turning your garden into a playtime paradise.