American children are now in the habit of indulging in seven hours of screen time every day. This shocking average must surely jolt us into action. What better way to tear your youngster away from these screens than creating the ultimate adventure playground outdoors – in your own backyard? Online gaming and TV shows will pale into insignificance when your outdoor space can offer an exciting, more natural, alternative that will boost your child’s wellbeing and offer hours of endless enjoyment.
Tempt Teens Outside With Outdoor Adventures for All Ages
Enhance your existing playground equipment by including a variety of natural landscaping and even a homemade water feature. Children will love to watch frogspawn develop into tiny hoppers, or newts set up home alongside dragonflies in your very own mini pond. An old bathtub buried to surface level, or a discarded plant pot or container with rocks stacked to the top for steps create a no-fuss, low maintenance watery home for a variety of mini-beasts depending on the space you have. For the larger garden and budget, a stream could meander softly around your swings from one pond to another to create hours of pond dipping and wading fun for your children to impress their friends with.
Or how about creating the ultimate teen sleepover by designing a space for camping at the bottom of your garden? Toddlers and teens alike will relish the opportunity to ditch the screens and sleep outdoors in an exciting twist on traditional sleepovers. After a busy day playing on the swings and slides, little ones will love to snuggle up to their parents in cozy sleeping bags tucked away in a corner of your outdoor wonderland, with a backdrop of subtle lighting, listening to a cacophony of unfamiliar sounds of nighttime creatures. Imagine the bedtime stories.
Give Children Ownership of Their Own Space
Den building captures the interests of children of all ages. Depending on the space you have, a small canopy suspended between fence posts can provide children with a secluded spot to play and pretend. You could even utilize your climbing frame or slide with strategically placed sheets to create a cute little hidey-hole. Children love to feel ‘ownership’ of their own little den – strictly no parents allowed! If you can give a little more space over to the mysterious hideout then seating in the form of bean bags, benches or stools could even tempt your teen outdoors to relax when the little ones have gone to bed.
Invite Dragons and Fairies into Your Child’s Adventure
Old tires filled with soil and topped with colorful stones can be adorned with tiny decorations and toys to create a mythical fantasy garden on a minuscule scale. Capture your child’s imagination with a visual representation of fiery lava or fairy dust with carefully chosen plants and flowers that will add color and texture to this sensory adventure. Paint old logs or rocks to create an enticing stepping-stone pathway to your mini-wonderland. Upturned pots make wonderful ladybugs or honey bees when creatively designed and painted by your children.
Visualize the future you want for your child; filled with sensory experiences and outdoor adventures rather than online worlds and TV shows. Help them to connect with nature and make their souls happy; the benefits will be as boundless as your child’s imagination.
Swing Kingdom would like to thank Sally Dawson, a former child psychologist, for her contribution to our website by providing us with this informative piece.