With the current generation of youngsters more technologically connected than ever before, using
iPods, smart phones and video games at unprecedented levels, many parents are searching for ways
to encourage healthy outdoor activities for their children. Creating a vibrant, exciting and kid friendly
backyard for your little ones to enjoy is the perfect way to nudge them away from sedentary video
screens and towards an active lifestyle. No matter what size your home’s backyard happens to be, there
are plenty of convenient and inexpensive ways to transform a fenced off patch of grass into an oasis of
fun and adventure for your family.
When you first begin envisioning a more kid friendly backyard, your first inclination may be to fill it to
the brim with toys, jungle gyms and swing sets. In actuality, carving out nooks and crannies of empty
space is the best way to go because the room to play and run around is essential. Of course, a selection
of hands on components like slides and swings are always welcomed, but be sure to spread your
stations out so that open space is always accentuated. One of the easiest ways to create the illusion
of space in cramped backyards is to turn the fences into windows to a new world. If you are artistically
inclined, spend a weekend with the kids painting the backyard fences according to their favorite themes.
You can create a cowboy themed Western landscape, surround the yard with your child’s favorite
cartoon characters or simply paint a scenic landscape to stimulate their imaginations.
A family garden in the corner of your backyard is another creative way to encourage your child to
spend time outside. With a pocket of beautiful flowers and vegetables growing through the spring and
summer, your kids will love contributing to the garden in their own ways. Teach them to plant seeds
and water them, watching all the while for the miracle of life to develop. A well maintained garden will
also quickly become a center of natural wonders, with honey bees buzzing to and fro from flower to
flower, grasshoppers and other critters crawling around and even birds dropping by to visit. Planting
and harvesting can become an annual tradition which will quickly become a way of life for your children,
showing them the true value of the natural world around them.
Purchasing a set of playground equipment can be a great way to get your kids away from the television
and out into the world. From a simple slide to a tire hung from a tree limb, the games we all enjoyed at
recess during our youth are just as enjoyable for kids today. You can locate affordable jungle gyms and
other playground favorites on Craigslist or eBay, which means creating a fun filled backyard experience
doesn’t have to break the bank. When your kids see a shiny new swing set in the backyard waiting for
them, the virtual reality of video games just won’t seem so appealing anymore.