Outdoor play offers a lot of benefits to our children. It can help them develop physically and get fresh air and exercise, but also to develop their independence and encourage them to try new activities, which can help boost their confidence. If you are lucky enough to have a garden attached to your home, you may wonder what you can do to make it more child-friendly. Look no further as this guide is here to help. Below are eight top tips that can help you transform your space so you and your children can enjoy it all year round. We discuss it all, from garden sheds to mud kitchens!
Designate An Area For Play Equipment
Designating an area for play equipment is a must if you want to make your garden more child-friendly. It gives your children their own space to play – while keeping your garden organised. You don’t have to worry about your children’s toys overcrowding the space. If you are completely redesigning your garden, think about where you might put a kids climbing frame or a sand pit. Play equipment can take up a lot of space so it’s good to have a garden plan designed so you can make the best use of whatever space you have, but it’s well worth it. Your children are sure to love it and it will encourage them to develop their confidence as they push themselves to try something new.
Build A Vegetable Patch
If you want to add character to your garden while giving your children a project to enjoy, consider building a vegetable patch. A vegetable patch is a learning opportunity for your children, as they learn what it takes to grow the fruits and vegetables they eat day-to-day. It is also really amazing to enjoy the fruits of your labour once you’ve had a successful harvest. If you are new to gardening, research vegetables that are easy to grow. Avoid anything too complicated if you want your children to get involved. If you are short on space for a vegetable patch in your garden, you can plant seeds in window boxes, get a mini greenhouse or just plant tomatoes in grow bags or strawberries in pots. It is a great way to maximise space while having the fun of growing your own produce.
Create Zones and Enforce Safety
If you want to make your garden more child-friendly, start thinking about the layout of your outdoor space. Although you want your children to enjoy your garden, you also want an area where you can relax and enjoy some time with friends. You can achieve this by creating zones. If you want a corner of your garden to be more private, use fencing. If you want a zone to relax while still being able to keep an eye on your children, install decking to add levels. Decking creates a new zone in your garden where you can socialise, but it is also a good space to watch your kids, so you can make sure they are safe. You can also zone off any areas using fences that you don’t want your children to access, like a pond or garden shed. Zones can make your garden safe as you can tell the kids that certain areas are off limits unless an adult is out there with them, or simply off limits completely, like the garden shed. Having a safe garden is really important too as you don’t want to be worried about them whilst they’re playing.
Ensure Gardening Tools Have Their Own Space
Carrying on from the theme of zones and safety, let’s talk about gardening tools. If you are a keen gardener, you may have a lot of gardening tools lying around. Rakes, sheers, and digging tools can be pretty sharp, and you don’t want your children to get hold of them. You also don’t want them to step on them. Therefore it can be a good idea to shop around for garden sheds. Garden sheds are a fantastic storage solution for your gardening tools, ensuring that everything has its own space. So, you can seek peace of mind that your children won’t get their hands on dangerous equipment. Check out this wide range of garden sheds from Buy Sheds Direct. They have various shapes and styles to suit your outdoor space and garden sheds that fit almost any budget. They can even install them for you. Buying a shed has never been easier!
Choose Plants Carefully
If you like to add greenery to your outdoor space using plants, you must approach them with caution. Some plants can be toxic and pose a risk to your children if they come into contact with them. If you have pets such as cats or dogs that will be in the garden you’ll also want to make sure your plants are not toxic to animals. Do a bit of research or ask for advice before deciding which plants you want to incorporate into your garden. Ideally you want to steer clear of plants like daffodils and foxgloves. These can irritate the skin, and some can be poisonous. Instead, choose plants like busy lizzies, which are deemed safe. If you struggle to find the right child-friendly plants for your garden, take a trip down to your local garden centre and ask for some guidance. Avoid taking a risk and planting something that you are unsure of.
Allowing your children to connect with nature and enjoy wildlife can be an enriching experience. It gives them an opportunity to be curious about the world around them and ask any questions they may have. This can expand their learning while teaching them that it is important to respect wildlife and what they can do to protect it. If you find that your garden is not teeming with wildlife, there are some things you can do to help. For example, you can hang bird boxes in the trees and build a bug hotel. You can find a DIY bug hotel tutorial online. These structures provide shelter for insects and can be an exciting project for you and your children to enjoy. You will find it rewarding to see how invested your children are in looking for new insects daily. It is a great way to get them excited about the prospect of playing outdoors.
I recently created a wildlife pond to accommodate the frogs that we had visiting our garden. Whilst doing this we even found we had newts. Building the pond and getting to interact with the wildlife was an amazing experience for our son.
Use Turf To Create A Soft Landing
Are the surfaces in your garden hard? Maybe you have patio stones or concrete surfaces? These are not very child-friendly, and if your child falls over on a hard surface, they may hurt themselves. To avoid this, you can consider using turf to help you create a soft landing. It gives you peace of mind that your children can roam free in the garden. If they do fall, they are less likely to hurt themselves. That being said, turf can be a bit expensive which is not ideal if you are on a tight budget. While saving for turf, you can consider incorporating soft furnishings into the space. Play mats, outdoor rugs and cushions can help you create a temporary soft landing – while putting some money aside for turf. It helps minimise the risk of any bumps or scrapes.
Make A Mud Kitchen
Most children like to get into the garden and play in the mud, and we should let them. Although it can be messy, it is a great way to get your children excited about the prospect of playing outside. You may already be familiar with mud kitchens. If not, let’s briefly explain the concept. A mud kitchen is a pretend-play cooking area located outdoors. Your children are encouraged to make pretend food combinations using mud, sand, and water. You can learn more about why mud kitchens are important by referring to some online resources. They encourage our children to get creative and use their imaginations. You can easily build a mud kitchen using old pallets – or you can buy one online if you aren’t a huge fan of DIY. Your children are sure to love it.
I hope these 8 tips on how to make your garden more child friendly have given you some inspiration. If you have other ways that you make your garden a safe and fun place for your children or grandchildren to play in, please leave a comment so others can be inspired too!