Creating an Outdoor Play Area
Your garden can be a source of fun and adventure for your children. Designing an outdoor play area doesn’t need to be expensive but it can increase the space your children have to play in and help them get outdoors and get active.
How can I design an outdoor play area?
If you want an outdoor play area for your children the first stage is to design it. Firstly look at your limitations – what is your budget and how much space do you have to dedicate to the play area? Then look at the space you do have available, are there different levels? Is there sun and shade? Are there natural features, such as trees that you can incorporate? Think creatively about how children play and how you can maximise the space already there. Next you will need to consider what equipment you would like to provide, swing sets or play sets are popular options to buy or you could consider a sand box or water play area. A wendy house is also a great outdoor play area that will provide shade and warmth through the year while your child plays outside.
How can I create a great outdoor play area on a budget?
Creating space for your children to play in doesn’t need to be expensive, consider using recycled products, tyres for example can make great swings and obstacle courses. Think about what features you could create yourself for example a sand pit or water play area are both easy DIY jobs that can amuse your child for hours. You could combine education and play by setting up a small vegetable garden or pond where your child can learn more about the environment by seeing and doing.
How can I build my own sand pit or water play area?
The principle for building a sand pit or water play area is the same and both are extremely easy DIY jobs. All you need is plywood, a waterproof vinyl lining and the filling. Firstly you need to create a frame using the plywood, then place the frame where you want the sand pit to go, raised above ground or half set in the ground are both good options although one will require some light digging! Once in position even out the soil in the area, you may wish to put some sand down to cushion the lining or tarp which is then laid over the structure and fastened on the outside of the frame. Think carefully about what you fasten the liner with, nails or tacks are suitable as long as they are flush with the wood; be careful there are no sharp edges. Then simply fill with sand or water as desired.
How can I ensure my child’s play area is safe?
Of course safety is a big consideration when building a play area. If you are planning on using swings, slides and climbing equipment it is best to use ground cover for example wood chipping, these can be made from recycled products and don’t need to be expensive but will give you the peace of mind that a fall won’t result in serious injury. When buying play equipment make sure that is age appropriate, can handle the weight of the children and is properly secured so that it won’t tip. Furthermore you should always be careful around water – both in play areas and in ponds. If you own a sand pit keep it clean and free from hazards by investing in a cover that can be pulled over when not in use – keeping it dry and cat-litter free.
Even the smallest of gardens can be transformed into a fun, outdoor play area for children. A swing, slide or sand pit could provide hours of entertainment and encourage your children to spend more time outdoors away from the computer and television. The transformation doesn’t need to be expensive but don’t buy poor quality playsets at the expense of your child’s safety and always make sure that what you buy and build is age appropriate for your child.