2017 Holiday Gifts: Outdoor Play Spaces

Epic outdoor play spaces give your kids a reason to choose fresh air over screen time.

With toddlers wielding smartphones and pre-teens Snapchatting throughout the day, it’s never been more important (or more difficult) to get your kids outside and playing. Research shows the extreme benefits of playing outdoors.

The Journal of Environmental Psychology recent study, ‘Time spent outdoors during preschool: Links with children's cognitive and behavioral development’, revealed that children who spend more time outdoors have better executive function and display fewer inattention and hyperactivity symptoms.

Further studies suggest outdoor play may improve eyesight. Access to nature has been linked to decreasing stress levels. And, playing outside has been linked to a, “42% reduction in children’s risk of obesity,” according to a 2015 study published in the US National Library of Medicine national Institutes of Health.

Making Their Backyard Play Spaces Fun

You may very well have kept yourself occupied with a stick and a rock for hours on end. Today’s youth are bombarded by constant stimuli. A stick and a rock aren’t going to cut it.

If you want your kids to put down their devices and go outside voluntarily, their backyard play spaces need to be fun! Outdoor activities increase motor skills, but only if those motor skills are being flexed.

While you may think of outdoor living as BBQs and lounging by the pool, that’s your space. Build them a play structure loaded with lively activities and features that can be their space.

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7 Awesome Outdoor Play Space Ideas

1. Climbing Structures

Climbing teaches kids critical problem-solving skills. It helps them learn to focus. And, if builds strength. This is why climbing structures make a fabulous addition to an outdoor play space. This could be in the form of a climbing wall. Also fun are rope ladders and/or rope spider walls.

2. Treehouse or Lookout Perch

Treehouses have become the rage these days with elaborate designs that are doubling as homes. But these modernized structures have quite humble roots in the children who were simply looking for a space to call their own.

That’s what a treehouse is. It’s the ultimate in outdoor play areas. It’s the space that your kids can call their own. By incorporating a treehouse or a perch into your outdoor play structure, you instantly transform the outdoors into a destination.

3. Recessed Trampoline

And all the kids sang, “Jump. Jump. Jump around.

Or maybe not. After all, that song was released in 1992. But that doesn’t mean your kids won’t love jumping around. A recessed trampoline gives them all the delight of jumping sky high without the worry of them ‘falling off’.

4. Shade

We don’t have to tell you how warm it is here in the Tucson area. You feel Mother Nature’s rays just like we do. This is home.

Which means, you know how vital shade can be. It protects us and during the warmer months, it makes being outside bearable. This is why, we always recommend clients incorporate shade into their backyard play areas.

5. Zip Line

There’s no thrill quite like flying, suspended through the air. Zip lines can give your kids a sense of freedom. During their early years this many be a feature you either don’t want to add or deem off limits. However, as they get older, the zip line might just make your house the ‘it’ house for playdates!

6. Bucket on a Pulley

Whether your kids are passing notes to one another or collaborating on an art project at the top of your play structure, a bucket and a pulley leads to instant imagination.

7. Swings

Kids love swings. You can go with the classic single plank seat. Or you can get more creative. You may want to turn a chair into a wing. Maybe you want to add a tire swing. Or perhaps you want to just create a simple rope swing.

Additional Outdoor Play Structure Tips

Natural Materials Help It Blend In

Worried about your outdoor play structure sticking out like a sore thumb? Stick to natural materials. This will help it blend into your yard’s landscaping. Additionally, by creating a natural outdoor play space, you help introduce your children to the idea of exploring the outdoors. This can encourage them to want to visit local parks and got for hikes.

Wood Keeps Surfaces from Overheating

Heat is always a major concern for parents in the Tucson area – especially when we’re talking about outdoor activities. While wood can definitely get warm, it doesn’t become nearly as hot as plastic and metal.

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