Play is an important aspect of child development. Not only does it provide relaxation but it also stimulates the brain and body, helping children learn more about the world, express themselves through pretend play and stay active with physical activity. Mr. Handyman carpenter Manfred Niemetscheck shares a few tips for building the ultimate play area for your kids to maximize their growth and development while keeping them safe.
Tip 1: Invest in quality building materials for outdoor play areas
When it comes to the safety of your children, never skimp on quality. Materials that are cheap tend to be less durable and could put your kids at risk if any part of your playground structure were to rot, break or fall apart. Sand down wood to avoid splinters and use lots of nails to keep everything in place. It’s always better to overbuild than to underbuild when you’re children’s safety is on the line, says the carpenter.
Tip 2: Paint indoor play-area walls with satin or semi-gloss paint
If you’ve got a budding Picasso on your hands, then the best paint to use for play-area walls would be a satin or semi-glossy paint. It’s much easier to clean up crayon drawings and scuff marks from anything bounced against the wall. You can also save yourself money on cleaning supplies with special paints made for crayons or magnets. Dry-erase paints and chalkboard paints can really spruce up any play area for maximum creativity.
Tip 3: For tree houses, build the first level at about five feet from the ground
Tree houses can be a lot of fun, but they can also be dangerous if you don’t take certain precautions. Mr. Handyman recommends starting the first level of your tree house at about eye level and within an arm’s reach. You want to be able to grab your child and bring him or her up and down with ease. It also needs to be high enough for it to be exciting for young children, but not too high in case there is a fall.
Tip 4: Include multiple elements in the play area for maximum engagement
Kids get bored easily, but you can keep them engaged with a variety of elements sure to entertain. Swings and slides are always great elements that will challenge their balance and coordination. You can turn an old tire into a swing using a knotted rope. Or you can use a piece of plywood to create a climbing wall so they can pretend to be mountain climbers.
Tip 5: Stimulate imagination with creative design elements
The best way to add flair to any play area is to get creative by turning everyday items into art projects. Collect cardboard tubes and build a rocket ship. Paint a tree stump so it looks like a mushroom. For smaller children, you can even turn a giant tire into a sandbox.
Niki Payne is a freelance writer covering all things Entertainment in Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.