If you have children, then you're more than likely aware how having adequate outdoor space for them to play in is important. Kids love being outside where they can explore, use up their boundless energy and benefit from fresh air and exercise. Whether your garden is enormous or more compact, it's important to have a safe and healthy environment with plenty of child-free spaces to keep your kids engaged.
As far as ideal environments for children's play goes, daycare centres are a great place to look for inspiration. They're dedicated to making sure that children in their care are secure, protected and have the stimulation they need to encourage their development and growth. Here are two great ideas that are commonly found in daycare centres that you can use in your own garden.
1. A shade sail
The Australian sun can be fierce and it's vital to protect children's skin from the damaging effects of UV rays. As well as making sure they use sunscreen and wear a hat, it's a great idea to provide shade for their play area to shield them from the sun and provide a cooler environment on hot summer days.
Shade sails are an excellent way to do this. These large sheets of UV resistant material can be installed over a large area of your garden for increased shade. They can be installed using their own poles or you can attach them to the side of your house to extend your existing covered outdoor area. Shade sails are ideal because they still allow the breeze to flow and will allow plenty of natural light through.
2. A sandpit
Sandpits are an almost ubiquitous feature in daycare centres and make a great addition to a home-based play area too. These simple features can provide hours of imaginative play for children of all ages and are easy to install in your home. It's best to locate your sandpit under a sheltered area to prevent it from becoming waterlogged and then it can still be used during wet weather.
You can purchase pre-made sandpits from most hardware stores or toy stores. If you're into DIY, you can construct one yourself using a basic timber frame with a layer of plastic sheeting at the base. Sand for your sandpit can also be purchased in pre-packaged bags from a hardware store or you can have it delivered by a building supply company if your sandpit is a large one.