Running around on the lawn during the summer months is enough for many kids to get some fresh air and exercise. However, some exterior play equipment can enliven outdoor play sessions and encourage children to play outside for longer. If your children like to play sociably with friends or siblings, making an imaginative game out of exterior play equipment is a good idea.
Thought provoking and themed play equipment, that inspires imagination, is always likely to be a favourite among children and will probably outlast other types. If you have a large garden that can accommodate a climbing frame or a set of swings, it can be tempting to hide them away in the furthest reaches of the grounds.
Try to avoid this if you can. Keep the play equipment in ear shot, even if you cannot see it directly, particularly if you have younger children. That usually means investing on more stylishly designed play equipment that will not look out of place closer to the home.
Ever popular, with older and younger children, play houses keep kids engaged with the outside. Even if the weather turns from perfect sunshine, children will be able to carry on using it. Play houses don’t need to be constructed in trees, but a raised one will create a sense of adventure when used.
They also integrate very well with climbing frames and platforms. Purposely designed play houses are available in kit form, or from bespoke specialists, but it is fairly easy to convert a garden shed into one, with a little DIY skill. And play houses can be stylish additions to a garden, not merely eyesores that you will want to pull down once the kids outgrow them.
Younger children should be catered for when it comes to garden play. However, much of the play equipment that is available requires some level of supervision from an adult. For toddlers, go for a sandpit which they can play in without you having to stand over them. Sandpits integrate well into patios and lawns. And you can convert them to fire pits once they are no longer useful as play areas.
Climbing is something most kids will take to naturally. It is beneficial to their coordination as well as their strength. Go for a climbing frame that has more than one approach to it. Ladders, steps and foot holes all present differing challenges that change with weather conditions and as the child grows in confidence. For younger kids, don’t forget a slide which operates as a reward for getting to the top. Even if you don’t have a lot of height to work with, a climbing area that focuses on traversing still builds confidence as well as muscles.
Everybody likes swings, even adults. Where you install swings make sure it is anchored thoroughly. It is a good idea to use bark to soften the impact on the ground, should there be any falls. This will define the area beneath the swings as a play area and create a safer environment. A strong frame can be converted to a swing seat, so opt for something that is permanent, rather than a flimsy temporary structure.
If you have older children or grandchildren, installing a play house or a climbing frame in your garden may not exactly hit the mark. Nevertheless, you will probably want to encourage them to get outside and enjoy the open space. Permanent outdoor concrete cast tables for table tennis are usually a hit with older kids. And, if you have room, a baseball enclosure will provide hours of outdoor play as your youngster hone their swing.