If you’re one of the lucky moms with a backyard, then you better make the most out of it. We’ve kept our kiddos at home for the past year or so because of the pandemic, and while staying in is still the mandate until further notice, this doesn’t mean our kids can’t spend some time in our yards to get some much-needed fresh air.
Your backyard can be the gateway to so many possibilities for your child. You can nurture their interests and shape who they become simply by making over your backyard. And if not, at least they’re going to get some much-needed vitamin D and sunlight while playing in them.
Here are some ideas for your next backyard project:
For the future Grand Slam champ
I know what you’re thinking. How am I supposed to set up an entire tennis court in my backyard? Actually, you can, and we’re not talking about a half-court where your child can practice bouncing off balls against a wall (even though that is a perfectly valid and acceptable form of practice).
In case you’re not familiar with this, there are variations of tennis that require smaller equipment and smaller courts. These forms of mini tennis are a great way of introducing the sport to young kids, and they can also be legit competitive sports played by grown-ups in global tournaments.
One such format is touch tennis. It was invented in the UK in 2002, and it involves the use of foam balls, 21-inch racquets, on a 39×20 foot court. Take note that these supersized dimensions are the ones actually used by the grown-ups in the sport’s Slams and Masters tournaments. It’s a legit and accessible way to get your kids into tennis.
For the little camper
If your backyard is just a flat open space with not much else, then think of it as your blank canvas. With a little imagination and extra lifting, you can turn your empty yard into a mini forest where your kids can go on little adventures.
This project will require a lot of landscaping and planting, but the first thing to do is to imagine how you’d like to lay out your mini forest. Add some variation in elevation by installing retaining walls, and create little pathways by lining them up with tree seedlings.
A flat open space in the middle can serve as your little ones’ campsite, and when the weather is fine, you can pitch a tent and sleep outside for an overnight camping trip at home.
For the sous chefs
At home, mom or dad may be the head chef, but the kids can be the chefs-in-training.
As you share with them the joys of cooking, why not look beyond the kitchen and cook outdoors? Apart from cooking at the aforementioned campsite, you can also set up outdoor cooking facilities to make mealtimes more fun and interactive for your kids.
You can start by setting up a simple barbecue area where you can have your kids assist you in grilling their favorite hotdogs and burgers. You can even level this up by building a simple fire pit. It’s great for those mildly chilly nights when you can gather around as a family and make s’mores the authentic way.
Another outdoor cooking facility you can build is a brick oven. It requires more time, budget, and expertise, but it will all pay off when you see the smile on your kids’ faces when they’re rolling dough and sprinkling cheese over their homemade pizzas.
These are fun, enriching activities for your kids, but please make sure to keep safety as a priority and to never leave these outdoor kitchens running unsupervised.
For the agri-kids
Whether they’re going to be future botanists or running an organic farm, it’s never too early to get your kids into plants.
Start small by building simple plant beds in your yard. There are many tutorials online on how to build them, from simple plastic box conversions to wooden raised beds that require some carpentry skills.
Take your kids through each step of the plant growing process. Make them take part by letting them bury the seeds, helping you water the plants daily, and of course, picking the first fruits of your harvest.
These activities will teach them not only how to grow plants but also the value of caring for and respecting Mother Nature.
Your backyard may just be an empty space right now, but with the right mindset and effort, you can turn it into the best, most enriching playground your kids will ever have.