Guest blog by: Danny Knight
Danny is a dad living in Philadelphia. He enjoys DIY projects almost as much as raising his two children. He is the co-creator of FixItDads.com, which offers tips for home improvement projects.
When it is summer, it can be difficult to make sure your child stays safe in your backyard while still having fun, particularly in warm weather. With a little extra care and attention, though, it is possible to create a safe, sunny backyard play space for your child. Here are a few ways you can get started.
The importance of play
Play is critical for any child, helping to foster independence, sociability, and confidence. Playtime can also help develop fine motor skills, balance, and, the ability to manage many different types of stimuli coming at once. When building a backyard for your child, then, you should consider each of those needs. An outdoor playspace allows your child to choose how to play. For children, the power of choice, even on a small scale, is very important. Because of this, you should try to include a variety of play opportunities in your backyard.
Prevent wandering with fencing
One of the most important things you can do for your child, is to prevent them from wandering around out of your backyard. Children should always be supervised, but we know as parents, sometimes our attention can be pulled away. Therefore, you should always fence in your backyard high enough that your child cannot reach over the top. Make sure to move any boxes or ladders they could use to climb up over the fence. You may want to plant some large bushes around the fence to prevent your child from getting too close.
Create new sensory experiences
Children often love experimenting with new textures in a controlled setting. Try creating a sensory play area with a small sandbox, water table, or homemade slime. It is important to let your child choose how he wants to play. Instead, gently show him the different textures and behaviors of sand. If your child enjoys getting his hands dirty, why not start a small herb garden together? Gardens are relaxing and offer a great opportunity for you to bond with your child while teaching them about different plants. Add to the sensory experience by choosing plants with interesting textures and shapes. As you and your child become more involved with the garden, let your child pick out a pair of garden gloves to call his own and keep his hands safe.
Childproof your pool
Pools are another great way to introduce your child to new experiences. Start by gradually introducing your child to water, perhaps through a kiddie pool or a water table. Once they are used to the sensation, you can start teaching them how to swim. Start as early as possible to familiarize your child with the process. You may want to consider enrolling your child in swim classes. Even if your child swims well, you’ll still need to childproof your pool to ensure their safety. First, never leave your child unattended in the pool. Install an alarm in your pool that will alert you whenever someone jumps or falls in. Prevent your child from wandering into the pool by installing a small, locked fence around the water and only opening it up at set times. Children respond well to routines and rules if they are explained in a manner they understand. Keep them safe in the water itself with kickboards, floatation devices, goggles, and ear protection.
Backyards can be great fun for your child, particularly in warmer seasons. By following basic care procedures and making sure to always supervise your child, you can allow your child to have a spectacular playtime each day.
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