Backyard Play Area Ideas

If you have kids, you know that they love spending time outdoors once the weather starts getting warmer. Whether they’re young or old, they’ll take any chance they can get to get out of the house and into the fresh air. If your backyard is currently less than kid friendly and you’re looking to make some changes, using these 10 tips as guidelines can help turn your backyard into a kiddie paradise.

1. First off, if your backyard isn’t fenced in – it’s something to take into consideration. Installing a fence not only provides extra privacy, but it gives parents the piece of mind knowing that younger children won’t be able to wander off. If you have pets, it will also give them more freedom in the yard without having to be chained up at all times when they’re outdoors.

2. Adding a sandbox is an easy and fun investment for kids. Sandboxes teach younger kids necessary motor skills while giving older kids the opportunity to experiment with building and digging. Choosing items for the yard that grow with your kids will save you time and money down the line. By choosing a sandbox with a small shelter over top of it, or purchasing a cover for the box, you’ll be able to keep it relatively clean, cutting down on the amount of maintenance you’ll have to perform.

3. Adding a picnic table to the backyard may seem extremely simple, but it can provide multiple uses for your entire family. Kids will have outdoor space to work on projects or homework while the whole family will be able to enjoy the occasional outdoor dinner together.

4. If you have older kids, allowing them to plant and maintain a small garden in the yard will give them a project that will last throughout the entire summer. Letting them choose what they’d like to plant and letting them take care of their flowers or vegetables will give them a whole new sense of responsibility. They’ll also be able to show family and friends their progress and have a sense of pride in their project.

5. Limiting which toys can be played with in the backyard will prevent any expensive toys from getting ruined from rough outdoor play or rain. Keeping a lockable toy bin on the porch or patio will let your kids know what toys they can keep outside and which ones they can’t. They’ll also keep them in a convenient location so kids can easily clean up after themselves.

6. When landscaping a yard that you know kids will use, stay away from any sharp or dangerous lawn decorations or rocks. By keeping the backyard as “fall friendly” as you can, you can let kids run around and enjoy themselves without having to worry about an injury happening every time.

7. Letting kids create decorations for the backyard or porch will provide them with a fun afternoon project while they create some great accent pieces. Whether you’re letting them paint stepping stones for the garden or customize their own birdhouse, personalized touches like these can help kids feel like they’ve truly made their backyard “their own”.

8. If you have younger kids, making sure that you have a shady area for them to play in during hot summer days is a good idea. Whether you purchase a small kid sized canopy or choose to go a bigger route by installing something like a gazebo – you’ll keep kids protected from the sun’s harmful rays while still allowing them to enjoy the fresh summer air.

9. Buying some simple, fun yard games for kids depending on their age will provide hours of summer fun that parents can also join in on. Whether it’s a bean bag toss game, a wiffleball set, or even sidewalk chalk – you can get older kids out from in front of the TV while younger kids will benefit from the motor skills that these activities will help them develop. Making an investment like this will be one that you’ll be able to enjoy season after season.

10. Finally, encouraging your kids to play outside is the most important step. With technology among youth becoming more and more popular – too many parents are letting their kids spend their days indoors playing video or computer games. By getting kids out of the house and into their family friendly backyard, you’ll be creating lasting memories for them.

Jonathan works for Your Home Supply (YHS) the definitive website for home improvement tools, and gardening supplies. Your Home Supply offers a wide range of garden tools and home hardware to help customers with their home remodeling ventures..

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Backyard Play Area

It does not matter what the weather is, children love to be outside. Your children will most likely entertain other family members and neighbors quite often. You will want to design a backyard play area that is safe and one that you can be proud of. Having a well thought out play area that you can be proud of will make play time more enjoyable for all.

Creating a play area means defining and creating an area for children that is fit for any weather. It does not matter if it rained a few hours ago or hasn’t rained for weeks, children are anxious to get outside, so the ground in the play area needs to be mud-free, safe and should allow for firm footing.

Decide what type of equipment will be used in the play area and where it will be placed. Many parents make the mistake of not measuring enough ground space for setting play equipment. You will need to measure and level off enough space for the base of whatever it is you are going to be putting in but you also need to leave enough room around each piece of equipment to allow enough space for any moving pieces.

Now that you have the measurements that you will need for your design, the next step in the process is to decide where to locate the play area. An easy way to visualize the area is to use spray paint on the grass. Spray paint is highly visible and will be removed the next time that the grass is cut.

Since it will be children that will use your new backyard play area, you want to be sure that water does not puddle inside the area and that there is plenty of groundcover to keep them from tracking mud inside. Good ground cover inside the play area will dress up your yard and allow children to get back to playing more quickly after a storm.

If the space to be used is not level, or the grass coverage is thin, there are several good options available to choose from. These include:

– rubber mulch,

– wood mulch,

– matting, and

– Pebble stone.

With any variety of mulch or pebble stone, the biggest issue will be keeping it inside the play space and out of the rest of the yard. Using the wood mulch means that it can be tracked into the house more easily.

The easiest way to keep most of the flooring material inside the play area is to outline the area with pressure treated 4 x 4s. This allows you to build the area up a few inches and keep most of the material inside the boundary. You can keep the wood boundaries in place by staking them into the ground with special rods made for this purpose or digging a trench around the area and laying the wood beams inside the trenches. If you use stakes be sure that no part of them extends to the surface of the lumber. The trench method may be safer since it doesn’t use the metal stakes, but it is also more likely that the lumber will shift as the children play.

When designing a backyard play area for your yard, take your time. Mark out the area that you would like to use. Use a hose or sprinkler and thoroughly soak the area that you have marked to check the drainage. If there is an issue, and you have the space, you may want to move to another part of the yard and try again.

Remember that the goal is to define an area that is mud-free, safe and will allow for firm footing. If your play area fills these requirements, all that’s left to do is to add your equipment.

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Backyard Play Area

Children want everything that they see, whether it is on television, or in a neighbor’s yard. If your children have been asking for something it is because they have seen it somewhere. Trampolines certainly look like a lot of fun, but the question is – When considering playground equipment for your backyard play area, should you buy a trampoline?

A trampoline is a hazardous addition to your playground and must be treated as such. There are potential risks and recommended guidelines involved with using a trampoline. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that in 2001 there were 91,870 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms that were directly related to trampolines. About 93 percent of those injured were under the age of 15, and about 11 percent of those were under the age of 5.

There have been 6 reports of deaths of children younger than 15 involving trampolines since 1990.

Over a 20 year period, that number is not alarming by itself when you consider the number of deaths each year from bicycles, swimming, falls and other play related activities. Still, the number of injuries and the types of injuries sustained are serious enough to warrant a closer look.

Injuries and deaths have been caused by:

Falling onto the trampoline frame or springs

Landing badly or falling while doing stunts

2 or more persons using the trampoline at the same time and colliding

Jumping or inadvertently falling off the trampoline

While most injuries are relatively minor, they can be serious. Trampoline injuries include:

– sprains

– fractures

– head injuries

– neck injuries

– muscle strains

The risk of some type of injury is high enough that the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against having trampolines at schools, outdoor playgrounds, even in your own backyard. This is a good recommendation because children usually get carried away and bend the rules of play in any unsupervised setting.

Even though the risks are high, children and adults continue to use and enjoy trampolines. They provide entertainment and exercise for everyone that uses it. Children don’t usually outgrow a trampoline as quickly as they do some other types of playground equipment so a trampoline may help keep them playing at home longer.

The trampoline industry, together with the CPSC has generated a list of standards to help educate the public and keep injuries down. These standards include:

– Padding must cover the entire metal frame, hooks and springs

– Labels on trampolines stating that any trampoline over 20 inches tall is not recommended for children under 6

– Ladders cannot be sold with trampolines

– Warning labels on trampoline beds warning against somersaults and multiple jumpers

Safety netting and padding have long been available for trampolines. These items are usually sold as accessories leaving it up to the individual to realize the need for them. These are safety items that should be purchased and installed along with the trampoline.

The safety netting is designed to keep the user from falling or jumping from the trampoline. There are support rails for the netting that extend well above the heights achieved by most jumpers. The rails are padded in case of collision. Multiple ties keep the netting secured to the rails and the frame of the trampoline.

A tie down cover guards the exposed metal frame, springs and hooks. This cover not only helps pad the metal, but also keeps the jumper from inadvertently stepping through the holes between the springs.

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