We know that children who often play outdoors have better social skills, executive functions, and behavioral skills than those who stay indoors. Studies have shown that outdoor settings reduce ADHD symptoms in children, a condition which affects approximately 11 percent of children 4-17 years old, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, perhaps most importantly, outdoor playtime helps limit kids’ screen time to the recommended 1-2 hours per day.
But outdoor playtime is not without its hazards, especially during the summer season when temperatures often exceed 90º F in many parts of the country, at which point most weather guidelines recommend parents use caution and closely observe their kids for signs of heat injury.
The good news is that there are many fantastic products that can help you create the perfect kid-friendly backyard playground to maximize the benefits of outdoor playtime this summer.
Give your kids a chalkboard to draw on
Don’t wait for your kids to turn one of your walls into an art project -- give them an outdoor chalkboard to draw on instead. You can buy a large chalkboard and install it on the fence, get a nice chalkboard easel, or buy a small chalkboard and let your kids carry it around wherever they want. An added benefit of a smaller chalkboard is that you can easily display your kids' creations at home when their drawing touches your heart so much that erasing it simply isn’t an option.
Turn your backyard into a beach
If you want to see your kids’ faces light up, surprise them with a spacious pool, such as this one from Intex. The pool also includes a removable ladder with slip-resistant steps and a handy debris cover that helps keep the pool water fresh and clean. Don’t forget to give your kids a selection of floats and pool toys to play with. And while you’re at it, why not turn your backyard into a beach by adding a DIY sandbox? While you could build your own with some basic tools and a few planks, you can also take the easy way out and just buy a small plastic kiddie pool and fill it with some bags of sand. Now you can give your kids a pretty cool backyard beach -- and a fantastic reason to go outside and play.
Set up an inflatable water slide
The only thing better than regular inflatable bounce houses are inflatables with a water slide. Depending on where you live, you might want to choose an inflatable with an open design so it doesn’t get too hot inside. Or, better yet, get an inflatable with a pool area to make it easy for your kids to splash themselves with water even with they are too young to slide.
A backyard campsite for the perfect adventure
Try to remember what activities you loved the most when you were a kid, and we'll bet camping was one of them. While your kids might have grown up with computers and smartphones, we guarantee they’ll quickly forget about them if you create a backyard campsite where they can experience memorable summer adventures without venturing too far from home. A tent that your kids can turn into their operating base is a must, but you should also consider a hammock, a few chairs, or perhaps even a tree house.
Keep it cool with an evaporative air cooler
Unlike fans which only circulate existing air, evaporative air coolers cool air through the evaporation of water, which makes them extremely energy-efficient and suitable for hot summer months, when the air is often uncomfortably dry. Best of all, evaporative air coolers are weather-resistant and easily portable, making them a perfect choice for outdoors. Choose a model with powerful airflow for your porch or backyard to enjoy summer afternoons with your family.
With numerous best-selling products, Honeywell is a popular manufacturer with a variety of indoor and outdoor consumer products, and its evaporative air coolers never disappoint with their reliability, affordability, and variety of features.
Build a gazebo for extra shade
A cozy gazebo adds a shielded play area for your backyard, allowing your kids to play in the shade when the sun becomes unbearable. There are plenty of fantastic modern gazebo ideas on the Internet, and you can even purchase ready-to-assemble gazebos from Amazon and other online retailers.
A great example of a high-quality gazebo that you can order, assemble, and put straight to use is the Cedar Framed Gazebo from Sunjoy. This gazebo is made from premium cedar and comes with a sturdy, rust-resistant, powder-coated steel roof top.