I’ve had this post in my mind for ages, but now’s the time to get round to writing it given we’ve had some beautiful weather for the start of June. We’ve been enjoying the garden more especially after work and after nursery. But it definitely helps having the right outdoor play equipment suitable for your age of children.
Climbing frame saga
The big news for us was that finally N’s climbing frame has been built.
I was bought in December in readiness for a joint birthday and Christmas present, and delivered in early February. It took so long because they only deliver when they’ve got more than one in the area (we’re only an hour or so away, not the other end of the country), and I wasn’t going to be in on any of the days they proposed. Then of course, was the debate on how to build it. I’d planned to build it myself. I can do flat pack with no problems, so why not a climbing frame. Until it arrived with minimal holes pre-drilled and no labels to say which wood or screws were which. Three hours later I didn’t have much more built than 4 uprights, a platform and a few rungs in place.
Next I planned to get my brother to help, but weather and coordinating dates just didn’t work. So it’s been in pieces in the garden for months.
Then my father-in-law and sister-in-law’s father gave it a go, and built half of it. But the strong winds caught it and knocked it over, with nailed in rungs of the monkey bars coming apart. I was despairing that we would ever get it built. Eventually, the OH must have got bored of seeing it in pieces in the garden, and yesterday we arrived home to find him building the rest of it. The only bits missing were the anchors which we can’t get in the ground (usual lack of farmer concern about health and safety).
N was excited, and it looked great. My next step is a shed so I can’t tidy up all the outdoor toys and get them out of the utility room and playroom. It’s just deciding on where and what sort to get, and what won’t create an eyesore because it would need to be on the grass and visible rather than on the gravel at the corner out of sight which floods in bad rain.
Since I bought the climbing frame, I thought lot about outdoor play and what outdoor toys are brilliant for children of all ages. There might be water tables, croquet, bikes, scooters and climbing frames, but it comes down to the 5 S’s.
Outdoor play equipment for children
Children love slides*, and you can’t go wrong having one in the garden. They’re great for gross motor skills for toddlers learning to climb steps, brilliant for preschoolers testing out the best footwear for climbing up the slides, and of course older children like to experiment with different ways of sliding down. N is definitely loving his wavy slide, after his old second hand faded toddler slide was broken by one of his cousins not realising how fragile it way.
N does love swings and we do have an ancient plank of wood one down by the farmyard, hanging from a tree branch. Hopefully with the adjustable ones on the climbing frame, he’ll get the hang of body movement making himself swing, rather than just sticking his legs forward and back.
Sand always makes you think of summer, and when you’ve sunny weather, a sandpit is a brilliant draw for kids of all ages. We don’t have a sandpit (he gets to play in them at both nurseries, and bring all the sand home in shoes, trouser hems and toys that he’s taken to nursery).
Well football, but that doesn’t fit my list!
Most kids (and big kids) love a kick around and it’s great fun whether there’s only 2 of you or a whole garden full. A few years ago at a family party, we had a mass football game in the garden. It was very amusing watching the dads thinking they were brilliant, being totally wiped out by the kids. It doesn’t take much to add a football goal* and ball.
5. Swimming (or paddling) pool
Not many of us get to have a swimming pool in the garden, but a paddling pool is essential during hot summer months. We have a great little frame one that N loved last year. Unfortunately it doesn’t get brought out often due to the fact that it takes forever to be filled, especially because the outdoor tap on our house is on the side of the garden which is the lodgers’ (they’re in the converted garage). So we have to do a bit of a steal and borrow their hose. It’s a real treat when it gets brought out though.
There’s lots more outdoor activities we love to do…I can’t wait until N can throw a frisbee. That’s great of an evening for a bit of exercise.
What would you have on your outdoor toys or equipment list?