Play centres are the best way to make your backyard as interesting as a park. There are many sizes and types of play centres. The smallest metal centres that include a swing or two and a slide usually cost about $200. Others, made of wood, can include playhouses, chalkboards, sandboxes and other activities and can cost up to $2500. Several shops and craftsmen sell play centres, and it is a good idea to shop wisely and look for deals.
Playhouses and gazebos are the perfect shelters for children who imagine restaurant counters when they are young and have some privacy when they get older. If your backyard is too small for playhouses and tree houses, you can use a camping tent now and again; your kids will appreciate it.
If you have a big tree with strong branches, attach a swing where children will play when they get bored. You can also use a tire but make sure to attach it at three anchorage points to avoid water infiltrations as still water attracts insects and repels children.
Place a little table in your playhouse, gazebo or on tiles. This table will allow them to do some crafting with branches and leaves and to play board games. It will also be the perfect place to use their tea set. That way, they will not always be told to go away because of the barbecue and other grown-up stuff.
Some toys are perfect for any children, from the city to the open spaces of the countryside. Skipping ropes, Frisbees, chalk, hula-hoops, soap bubbles and balloons will entertain your children for a long time if they are properly stored and remain available to their tiny hands. Place them in a box that does not fear rain, and you will soon see your children move from one activity to another without ever getting bored.
If you have active children and if they get bored easily, you can spread the activities in different points of the yard. Use the balcony for wall climbing, use a stone path for hopscotch and separate the swing from the slide. They will always feel like there’s something new to do. You can also install a Tarzan rope if you have mature trees and create all sorts of activities in these little corners that are left unused.
If you have plenty of space behind your house, buy a net that will allow children to play badminton and volleyball. Those who have small yards can buy a basketball hoop. If you are in the city and have access to backstreets where there is little traffic and many children, buy a hockey or soccer goal that all the kids in the neighbourhood will use.
Do not hesitate to get water games for your children. Sprinklers, hoses, water guns and other fun games will amuse and refresh your children at the same time.
The sandbox is a must for all parents who have already had one or who grew up near the beach. Choose one that you can cover so that cats will not turn it into a huge litter box during the night and buy everything you need to make castles. Your kids will play with it for hours.
If your children are older, give them a little parcel of land where they will remove rocks, turn the soil and install a small fence to grow plants. Let them choose and plant some flowers, tomatoes and herbs. They can check their small plot regularly to remove weeds. Suggest mint and edible plants. Mint grows fast and can be use in ice cream or tea and eatable plants will motivate them.