Are you trying to create a safe, fun play space in your yard? The right backyard setting will invite your children to be active and play creatively while keeping them safe from harm. Explore the following four essentials for designing the perfect outdoor play space.
A Hazard-Free Zone
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Make your yard a hazard-free zone by following the tips outlined below.
- Young children need to be supervised, no matter how safe you make the space.
- Make sure your grill and its fuel are out of children’s reach.
- Don’t let children play near swimming pools, ponds, or fountains without close supervision. Fence off these areas to protect your own children and the neighborhood kids.
- Store garbage cans in the garage or corral them to keep them upright and secure.
- If you don’t have a fenced yard, make sure your children understand the boundaries.
- Don’t spray toxic chemicals, such as pesticides or weed killers, anywhere near the areas where your children may play.
- Check your yard for common poisonous plants and teach your children never to eat wild plants. Plants are a leading cause of poisoning among preschoolers.
- Sandboxes offer a tempting place for animals to bury droppings, so keep sandboxes covered when you’re not using them.
A Variety of Play Surfaces
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Grassy areas are safe places to play tag or kickball. Sandy spaces are great for building objects and playing with toys. Hard surfaces such as those formed from interlocking pavers offer the right areas for riding toys, bikes, and remote control vehicles.
Safe Play Structures
Swing sets, slides, and other equipment offer many opportunities for creative, active play — but they can also be dangerous. WebMD offers some household tips to keep your kids safe when they’re at play:
- Keep platforms under 6 feet for school-age children and 4 feet for preschoolers.
- Swing seats should feature sturdy material.
- Hang no more than two swings in the same section of a play structure.
- Make sure ladder rungs are either closer than 3 1/2 inches or farther than 9 inches apart.
- Keep rough bolts from getting exposed.
- Don’t attach ropes or cords to play equipment. Ropes and cords could get caught under children’s chins or wrapped around their necks or limbs.
- Locate your play structures in full shade if possible. Equipment that gets full sun can become hot enough to cause burns.
- Safety professionals recommend having a 9- to 12-inch layer of shock-absorbing material such as sand, rubber, or mulch under play equipment.
Image Source: Pixabay
Make your yard more fun by providing open-ended play structures. Fill a weatherproof box or cooler with a rotating selection of supplies such as sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, bubbles, building blocks, and pretend picnic foods. Make some tents or tepees available. Create a child-size seating nook with a sun cover for reading, conversation, or games. Add whimsical yard ornaments, wind chimes, and whirligigs to make your yard feel magical and appealing to children.
A safe, well-equipped play area can help your kids develop a lifelong love of being active and enjoying the outdoors. An investment in your backyard is an investment in your kids’ safety and future.