We all prefer our children to be outside playing when the weather is good, rather than glued to a screen. But it’s difficult to keep an eye on them all the time and make sure they’re safe.
So, creating a safe and secure garden play area will give you peace of mind. It means you don’t need to watch over them so closely, allowing you to get on with other important tasks. But what makes a play area safe and what changes should you look to make outside? Here are the essential steps to take.
Secure and set the boundaries
First of all, you need to make sure little ones are secure in your garden. So, there’s no chance they’ll wander off when your back is turned.
This doesn’t mean you need to build high barricades. Just make sure that boundaries such as fences are solid and well-maintained. It’s also wise to add a top latch or bolt to gates, to stop very young children from wandering out through them. For older kids, of course, it’s easier to teach them where they’re allowed to be.
If you feel that fences and walls seem a bit enclosed, try lifting them with paint. Painting a bright or nature-inspired mural makes a secure boundary feel more child-friendly and inviting. This leads nicely to the next step towards a safe garden play area.
Create soft play areas
Creating a dedicated play area using soft surfaces and featuring fun activities has many benefits. Many of us already have a lawn, but children do get bored easily and like to discover new things. This is why many children often get up to ‘mischief’. So, keeping children properly occupied in a safe environment keeps everyone happy.
Use soft surfaces such as grass, sand, and bark chippings for playing on. A mix of these will provide a bit of variety at playtimes. And add plenty of scope for activities such as games and crafts. An outdoor activity table, chalkboards, and simple play equipment such as outdoor game sets, stepping-stones, and mud kitchens enable imaginations to run wild and energy to be burnt off safely.
Be aware of hazards
The garden can be full of more hazards than just chemicals. We may think they’re safe, but children have a knack for proving us wrong. So, make sure you lock tools away in the shed after using them. Fix any loose steps and install handrails where levels change. Also, clear up breakages straight away. Things like broken terracotta pots can be very sharp. And soften permanent sharp edges such as paths and patios with lots of planting, or edging made from wood or rubber.
Keeping on top of garden maintenance will not only help with these hazards but will also prevent slippery surfaces from developing from moss and algae growth. You may be thinking that the best patio cleaner surely contains harsh chemicals, but that’s not necessarily the case. The easiest way to clean hard surfaces is by using a domestic pressure washer. And for stubborn problems, you can use a non-toxic, bleach-free patio cleaner if necessary. These eco-friendly solutions are better for plants, pets, and wildlife too.
Banish the chemicals
Without thinking about it, our gardens can be full of harmful chemicals. And kids’ outdoor play is incredibly tactile, which means their skin comes into contact with different surfaces all the time. So, it’s time to ditch those powerful pesticides and weedkillers and go for a more natural approach. Frequent weeding and hoeing will keep borders in check while naturally insect-repelling plants should reduce pests.
And if you want to go a step further, you can start encouraging more wildlife into the garden too. Birds are great for insect control, so adding boxes and feeders will not only save you from using chemical substances but will bring your kids closer to nature.