It’s not good for kids to be cooped up in front of TV’s, Xboxes and computer screens for hours on end, but if you want to save money, the easiest and cheapest option for an afternoon out is often to go to down to the local park.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your kids could be entertained at home, but outdoors to make the most of the season?
Image by Chris Penny
The new generation of children’s play areas for the home are designed to incorporate into the adult environment, so that they don’t look out of place in your well maintained garden and lawns, and can be transformed into adult spaces when required.
Here are three of the best ideas.
3. A Trampoline
I’m not talking about those large, clumpy, space sapping trampolines that have been all the rage for a while now. It’s a simple solution, but now the more stylish option is to have a sunken trampoline, which lies level with the lawn.
This is a genius idea, which means the trampoline is made ultra safe, no need for the six-foot nets (which were an eyesore, frankly) and no more tears, as no-one can fall off.
The other benefit of this is that it is more aesthetically pleasing, and frees up space in the garden. When the kids are not playing on it, it can be fitted with a lid. The lid can even be made of decking, providing another outside area for seating, or even make the lid from artificial grass so that no-one would guess you’re concealing a child’s play area!
2. A Sand Pit
Kids can get busy for hours playing in a sand pit. They can imagine they are on a distant beach, or on a desert island, and the beauty of having one in your back garden is that it will keep them quiet for ages!
As it’s outside you need to look for a shady place, but while you might head for a spot under trees, be aware that you have to dig down quite far, so you don’t want to be where the roots will be. In fact, you can even build a canvas canopy over the space if you position it correctly.
An area of 5 or 6 foot square should be enough for two small children, and you have to dig to at least a depth of a foot, maybe more. You decide. Once the hole is made, you must line the hole with a membrane of some kind, so that plants can’t grow up through it.
Another tip: hide a couple of bits of “treasure” for the kids to find on their first time in the sand pit – they will love it and it will encourage them to use it often!
1. A Log Cabin
A garden log cabin can fulfil many purposes and therefore be a place where adults and kids alike can enjoy, relax and play, as well as being a very handy, versatile space to boot.
Placed at the bottom of the garden or in a secluded nook, a log cabin has a timeless appeal to children; it’s, a bolt hole, a hideaway, a secret place to play out all their imaginary scenarios of castles, forts and houses. Log cabins can be painted to personal taste, and made more individual. Try brighter colours to appeal further to the children.
It’s also the perfect place to put all their garden-based toys, tents, balls etc, so that the garden isn’t spoilt by kids paraphernalia scattered everywhere. If the space has plenty of storage, it can double as an office or sewing room, or art studio when it’s not being used by the kids.
If it is built properly, with proper windows and doors, then it can also serve the practical purpose of being a spare room when people come to stay, or when the kids want to camp-out.
The possibilities are endless!
Chris Fallen is a middle aged rocker with a love of real Ale! He keeps busy with his wife, Suzy and three kids. He is a IT nerd by day and in his spare time likes to make stuff out of wood, go out to restaurants and tinker with his motorbike. He also blogs regularly for Dunster House.