MOM’S CORNER : Give your kids a comfortable playing area

The importance of having facilities at home where children can play and be creative cannot be over emphasized. A well thought-out play area encourages imagination and invites children to explore. It also gives the youngsters a bagful of exciting challenges and adventure as well as numerous opportunities to learn and play in a safe and healthy environment.

The importance of having facilities at home where children can play and be creative cannot be over emphasized. A well thought-out play area encourages imagination and invites children to explore.

It also gives the youngsters a bagful of exciting challenges and adventure as well as numerous opportunities to learn and play in a safe and healthy environment.

Contrary to common practice, play areas are not all about seesaws, swings, slides, climbing frames and bouncing castles.

Grassy mounds, innovative planting, water features, bridges and many other landscape features can be creatively incorporated to enhance and control child play as well as create additional interest for garden.

Good play areas also blend well into the rest of the landscape design. The greatest challenge lies in balancing play and safety concerns. Here are a few tips for creating a kids’ paradise right on your backyard.

Although you may not want to see a monkey bus or a sandpit right outside your kitchen window, children play areas need to be within sight from the house.

The distance from the house should be determined by the amount of supervision required for specific cases. For instance the younger kids will generally require more supervision and therefore their play areas should be nearer and more visible from the house. Some forms of play also require closer supervision.

A relatively flat lawn of reasonable size is desirable for locating a children’s play area. It offers a wide range of playing options and is quite flexible for other uses whenever necessary.

The lawn should be able to withstand a good amount of foot traffic and should be soft and comfortable under the feet.

Playground equipment not only increases playing options for kids, they also enhance the play areas’ design. They should be looked at in two ways: form and function. The form should be in keeping with the rest of the landscape.

The size of your yard for instance will determine the size of individual equipment as well as the number you can incorporate in the yard. Other parameters such as color and materials should also be considered before choosing the equipment.

As for function, first you need to decide what kind of activities you wish to accommodate. The decision depends on your personal as well as the kids’ preferences.

There is a very wide range; from the common swings to the more complex jungle gyms and waterslides-the list is large. It may be wise to involve the kids as well. This way, they will feel like they really own the place. 

Also safety concerns in the children’s playing area should never be overlooked. From the onset, the area should be well defined with some kind of a boundary.

A four-foot high fence is mandatory next to a busy road or driveway. Similarly, a fence around swimming pool areas is not an option. However, these should be subtle and well blended into the landscape design.

For less hazardous areas, other options are available for defining play areas and controlling movement. Grassy earth mounds will discourage movement out of a designated play area without looking harsh and unnatural.

dedantos2002@yahoo.com

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