The virtue of getting our children off their screens, into the playground, and generally encouraging them to be active in the wider world is something that gets touted and encouraged in the parenting community. This often involves trips out and visiting places, but just as the phrase goes ‘charity begins at home’ so too does play. If we want to get our kids into the idea that outside is fun and that enjoyment isn’t just confined to screens and consoles, the following are a great set of ideas for making your garden into a palace of fun, all of which you can build yourself.
A classic of the self-built garden playground. All you will need is some rope, a tyre, and a sufficiently sturdy overhanging tree branch. If that isn’t available, then a reliable alternative could be a supply of sturdy wood and a way of making sure it securely stays in the ground. There’s a very visceral and elemental thrill that children enjoy when swinging back and forth at high speed on a rope and rubber arrangement like this.
For the more ambitious DIY sorts out there, a treehouse is every child’s dream. Reaching high up into the branches and making a base of skyward adventure will always be something fun. Whether it’s the kind of place that they go camping or imaginary games. It is certainly a lot of effort to build, but children can enjoy being a part of that process and will teach them the value of planning and hard work. If you are looking for a way to get your children involved in something constructive, this could be a great way forward.
A slightly less ambitious version of the treehouse, but it still has all the similar benefits. Building a set of battlements outside, with ramps up to get to the higher level, could be the perfect way for your children to imagine themselves as the kings and queens of the righteous kingdom, and fighting to repel the evil dragons. While the fun factor of the games that can be enjoyed is, of course, a big draw, another is the safety factor. This will be very appealing to parents who are less than sure about letting their kids climb up rope ladders into trees.
This might be something you think you can only do with a big budget and a lot of spare industrial piping, but in truth, there is much that can be done with just the right amount of wood, rope, and spare turf. Since a tunnel realistically only needs to be wide enough to crawl through, triangular wooden props can support a network of ropes laced with turf, leaves, and any other detritus to make a curious overall covering. A perfect channel for all kinds of adventure, this is truly a tunnel that is actually a road to anywhere.
Balance bars and Stepping blocks
That wonderful game of ‘the floor is lava’ is just the beginning of what your children might get up to outside if a well-spaced set of stepping blocks have been deployed strategically across the lawn. With a balance bar or two, at a height just the right side of safe, there are all kinds of rope bridges and ravines that could be being crossed in an imaginary land. Not only that, but both these ideas are easy to build, simple to understand, and do wonders for your child’s hand-eye coordination and balance practice. If you want to get some of that exciting playground feel in your garden, but aren’t looking to push the boat out too far just yet, balance bars and stepping blocks are an excellent way to start.
However your kids like to play, a good part of that should be outdoors. We should never let our children stop being kids, and consoles and computers shouldn’t be taking their memories away. If you can build your garden into a place they will remember, both the building and the afterwards is something to be relished.