How to Build an Outdoor Play Space for Your Young Children
Parents spend a good portion of their time at work, earning the money needed for their family. Children, on the other hand, either spend their time in school or at their job – playing. Learning how to build an outdoor play space for your young children will give them somewhere to use their imaginations as they play.
Young children need to have time for unstructured play. This means they can pretend to be whatever they want or however they want without input from adults. Depending upon the outdoor play space your children have available, it can actually encourage this type of play.
Before you begin building an outdoor play space, ask your children what their ‘dream’ play area would include. Perhaps they want to emphasize nature because they love to find bugs and chase after butterflies. Or they may want outdoor play equipment like a swing or climbing platform. Find out what they want and then try to incorporate those ideas in the space you create.
Find a level area in your yard in which to place the outdoor play space. Why is level important? If the area isn’t level, any equipment you purchase may not be able to be used correctly, there may be puddles which could cause problems, and having unlevel ground could possibly lead to accidents because your children trip more easily.
If you’re planning on adding outdoor play equipment, it is important to put mulch or another cushioning surface under the equipment and several feet beyond the equipment in case children fall. This will provide a softer landing than hard ground and could lessen the extent of any injuries.
Provide shade at one location on the play space. Young children can sunburn so easily, and it’s important to provide places for them to get out of the sun. Of course you’ll use sun screen to protect them, but having shade in the area will also help.
Choose outdoor play equipment which is age appropriate. If your children are very young, you won’t put in equipment which is meant for school-age or older children. You’ll also want to ensure that the equipment is safe for your children by not using equipment which has sharp edges or is made with chemically-infused wood.
It may also be a good idea to build a border around the play area. Use child-safe plastic edging to help keep the surface material inside the play area. If you do use the edging, make sure it is brightly colored so your children will recognize it and then avoid it so they don’t trip and get hurt.
There is so much to think about when trying to figure out how to build an outdoor play space for your young children. Safety is obviously going to be a primary concern. Don’t forget to ask your children what they want and try to use those ideas when the plans are made.