The backyard is usually a kid’s favorite part of his or her home. A good yard provides a safe area for a child to explore and learn.
Plant a Garden that is Safe and Fun for Kids
Avoid any plants that grow sharp thorns, such as roses. Or put a small portable gate around dangerous plants whenever your child plays outside.
Kids enjoy a garden filled with fruits and vegetable trees that are at their level for picking. Kids love picking cherry tomatoes, carrots, and snap peas from the garden. Miniature fruit trees are popular with children and are a good option for smaller yards. Grape vines are another popular fruit for backyards.
Some plants have leaves or flowers that are poisonous if eaten, so ask a professional at your local nursery about the plant before you purchase it if you have a child under three. Also ask about plants you already have established in your yard.
Remove any weeds that have sharp thorns or stickers from your yard, especially if you have a toddler or a baby who crawls.
Kids will appreciate having their own set of gardening tools. During the spring and early summer, many large garden and home improvement centers carry child sized rakes, shovels, and hoes.
Have Outdoor Activities Easily Accessible
Don’t hide outdoor toys or playthings in the garage. Find an attractive and durable container to store outdoor toys such as balls, bubbles, and jump ropes. You can also set up an iron or wood shelving system against the house to set toys on. Having toys out where kids can see them makes them more likely to play with them and less likely to come inside and say, “there’s nothing to do outside.”
Have Play Areas for Kids
A well-maintained lawn is a magnet for active kids. Keep a variety of balls for soccer, volleyball, whiffle ball and other outdoor sports. A croquet set or bocce ball set will also provide hours of entertainment for your family.
A sandbox is an inexpensive, yet popular addition to your yard. Plastic and wooden boxes are available for sale seasonally in most toy store and large department stores such as Target or Wal Mart. Or a box can easily be made from a few pieces of lumber.
Swing sets and climbers provide hours of entertainment for kids, but they can be costly. Check yard sales for inexpensive used sets that are still in good condition. Don’t install a large swing set until your child is old enough to play on it without constant supervision.
The backyard is also the best place to set up an arts and crafts station. Have an easel or table devoted exclusively to art and supply your child with a supply of paints, glitter, markers, glue, rubber stamps, and stickers. A plastic container with a tightly sealing lid will help keep art supplies protected from the elements.
Make Your Yard Safe
If you have a pool, put a tall fence all the way around it. Make sure that you install a lock on the gate to the pool area. Never allow kids to play inside the fence without adult supervision.
Lock any sheds or containers that have substances that can be harmful to kids if swallowed, including pesticides, herbicides, and plant food. Likewise, lock up any sharp gardening tools such as rakes, hoes, picks, shovels, and gardening stakes.
Make sure that gates that lead outside to the road are securely latched or locked. Also, consider installing an additional gate between the main yard and the utility side of the house where garbage cans, air conditioning units, and garden sheds are often located.