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Kid space: Backyard play centres

Keep your kids happy this summer by giving them their own backyard play space! Here are some ideas for creating a kids’ play space in the comfort of your own yard.

Backyard playhouse - fort

Decide on a location

To make sure you give your kids and their friends ample room to play, the first step in creating a backyard play area is to map out a location. The location you choose will be dependent on a number of things:

  • The type of play equipment you plan to outfit the space with. Standard swing sets and play centres typically require a wide perimeter of space, not only for swings and long slides, but also to allow enough running-around room for the kids! Make sure to give it a wide berth from walls and fences.
  • The lay of the land. As general rule, play equipment needs to be set up on a flat, smooth surface, so avoid hilly or unstable land areas.
  • Proximity to other backyard “zones.” In your yard, you may have a flower or vegetable garden, an outdoor patio for entertaining or a gazebo for quiet relaxation, for example, so consider the placement of the play space in relation to other important backyard areas, and plan accordingly.
  • Safety issues. Keep the play space away from areas of potential danger, such as overhead power lines, hot tubs and pools and low-lying tree branches.

Play space ideas

Now that you have a location, it’s time to create the play space. Be sure to keep in mind your child’s age, then fuel their imagination and desire for fun with these ideas:

  • Add a playhouse. A mini-size house is a perfect space for young children. For a DIY expert, it’s easy to find a workable design, or opt for a prefabricated version with options that include everything but the kitchen sink — and sometimes even that!
  • Build a tree fort or house. This is a classic that kids of all ages will love.
  • Add a play centre structure. These are readily available for purchase over the spring and summer months and come in almost any style and price range. It’s easy to find the one that’s right for your family, with such fun add-ons as climbing walls, swings, tire swings, fireman poles, built-in sandboxes, slides and play forts. Take it one step further with a theme-inspired centre, such as the popular ship idea.
  • Buy a trampoline. This is another fun idea for all ages! For safety’s sake, though, keep it on a flat surface and within an enclosure.
  • Add the simple favourites. A jungle gym and a swing set are two fun ideas that kids always love.

More on your backyard

Favourite trees to plant in your yard this spring
How to turn your backyard into a chill space
Small backyard fun, toddler style

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