Summer has come to an end and fall has quickly begun. While there may not be many more weeks of lovely outdoor weather for the kids after school, it’s never too late to start preparing ideas and equipment to make the backyard a place that can entertain the kids for hours next summer.
It’s no secret that the great outdoors is the perfect place for kids and adults alike. The effect of grounding–time spent with your feet directly in contact with the soil–and fresh air have been scientifically proven, but sometimes as a busy parent it can be hard to spend many hours exploring nature with your kids when tasks at home are calling.
While we encourage every parent to find those blocks of time to invest in their kids’ outdoor experiences, we also think it’s a great idea to find ways to provide a safe, outdoor environment in the comfort of your own backyard, which allows you to still supervise, but also gives your kids some safe independence out of doors.
You don’t need a thousand dollar swing set or in-ground pool to provide a place for the kids this summer. The following ideas are easy to do, affordable to make, and will provide many imaginative play hours for your kids brought to you by Storage Units for Rent in Rock Springs WY.
1. A Covered Sandbox
This may seem a little obvious, but in my experience as a mom of four little kids, I can always underestimate the calming effect that sand will have on them. If you want a pre-made sandbox, I’ve found that the classic Little Tikes Turtle sandbox is the best at keeping water out (others we’ve tried have leaked).
For a little DIY project, or if you need a larger sand area because of the amount or ages of your kids, consider building one that can also be covered when not in use. This keeps water out, sand in, and will ensure that it doesn’t get used as a litter box during the night (gross). This plan from Young House Love is water- and weed-proof, and can hold a number of kids.
Don’t skimp on getting the right kind of sand, either. Normal types of sand contain some elements that aren’t the safest for long-term use by children. Find sands that are “play” worthy–clean and sanitized, free of harmful chemicals.
2. A Mud Kitchen
By scouring thrift stores, you can find the materials to make a mud kitchen that will entertain your kids for hours and get them using their imaginations! You can provide some old metal tables and chairs, and then stock the “kitchen” with various metal utensils, pots and pans, and dishes that you find at garage sales or thrift stores. You don’t have to worry about them breaking, and you’re also not loaning out your nice kitchenware for the kids to get dirty.
Every once in a while, have a “washing day”. Provide a bucket of soapy water and a water hose, and let the kids give their kitchen a good rinse down. While a bit messy, a mud kitchen is a great way for children to connect with and explore nature, and keep the mess outside!
3. An Obstacle Course
Once when my kids’ climbing on the furniture was driving me crazy, I looked into building a ninja-worthy obstacle course that would be challenging enough to keep them climbing and jumping for a while. There are some premade rope courses that can be installed, some obstacle courses for little-ninjas, and then this one which can be fun for adults and older kids alike–a true workout! These are great, and more affordable, alternatives to a fancy jungle gym, which I find doesn’t really hold my kids’ attention anyways. I’d rather have them climbing and getting strong on an obstacle course that we built ourselves!
4. A Car and Truck Play Area
Is your house overrun with all things trucks and cars? How about making a specialized area for your little ones to drive and haul to their heart’s content? Using some cheap pavers, you can make a little road and parking area for vehicles. Include a bag of pea gravel for hauling and dumping!
While all of these are more “guided play” that you, as the parent, initiate, it’s also fun just to provide some natural materials to your kids and see what they come up with! Things like rocks, wood, rope, hammer and nails, and other building materials will allow your kids to explore materials, architecture, engineering, and cooperative building–all in the beauty of the outdoors.
At Self Assured Storage, we care about our customers and their families. We want you to have more time to spend exploring the great outdoors with your kids, by taking care of all the stuff that is overtaking your life. We offer storage units for rent in Rock Springs WY, and our caring and helpful staff are ready to help you take control of your spaces and keep your belongings safe and secure until you need them again. Give us a call today to let us help you get the house under control so you can be out with the kids more!