When you first designed your patio or deck space, you made it an outdoor haven for adult entertainment — with a prominent fire pit, a grilling station, a backyard bar and more. But, now that you have one or more little ones running around, you might be interested in making your patio or deck area more appropriate for the kids.
If you put effort into making your outdoor spaces more child-friendly, your little ones might be more tempted to spend more time in the Great Outdoors. To that end, here are a few ideas to help you refresh your deck or patio for your growing family.
Keep up With Maintenance
Dozens of different types of hazards can arise when you do not take the time to maintain your patio space. Pavers can rise or sink, creating trip hazards; wood can rot and metal can rust, compromising the integrity of your patio cover; pests can move in, increasing the chances of dangerous bites and stings. Thus, even if you do nothing else on this list, you need to prioritize patio cleaning and maintenance if you want your little ones to be safe outside. Some key maintenance concerns include:
- Sweeping away dirt and debris
- Cleaning and sealing the floor
- Painting and retouching patio covers
- Spraying or trapping dangerous pests
Integrate Toddler and Kid Outdoor Furniture
Little ones want to sit in chairs just like adults, but it is not always easy or safe for them to use adult patio furniture. Adult chairs can tip over when kids try to clamber into them, and kids can often dirty adult furniture, making it unsuitable for you to use.
An easy and fun fix is investing in a few outdoor furniture pieces expressly for your little ones. You can buy or make almost any style of chairs and stools for outdoor use, and there are many different varieties of toddler table — like activity tables, water tables and picnic tables — that your kids will find endlessly fun.
Even if the temperatures never get too high in your area, you need to give your little ones a safe space out of the sun. The best solution is to erect some kind of patio cover, which in addition to providing shade will also protect your patio somewhat from the harsh outdoor elements. To make your patio an even more comfortable space, you might install modern ceiling fans underneath the patio cover to create more airflow and help your little ones cool off during the height of the summer.
Of course, if you are renting or lack the budget for a patio cover, there are other ways to provide your little ones with shade. You might hang a shade cloth or canopy from your patio to a nearby fence, or you can place one or more umbrellas around your yard. Then, you can stress less about sunburn and heat stroke as your little ones enjoy the outdoors.
Build Spaces for Specific Outdoor Activities
Kids can find ways to have fun in almost any environment, but to help them stay outdoors and enjoy your yard, you might create some spaces specially dedicated to your little ones. Even if you don’t have enough yard space for an outdoor playset, you can make your patio fun for your little ones with areas like:
- A chalk wall, where they can draw, write or do anything else they desire with chalk
- A climbing wall, where they can get out their urge to test their vertical limits
- An oversized game, like chess or checkers, tumbling blocks, four-in-a-row and more
Create a Kid-friendly Garden Space
A garden is a perfect learning space for children, who love to have responsibility and love to watch things grow. You can build or buy containers to house some hardy outdoor plants, which your children will be tasked with nurturing throughout the year. You might ask your little ones what type of plants they want to grow and make a gardening station with small tools available to them whenever they are on your patio.
Find Toy Storage Solutions
Finally, there is no stopping the inevitable creep of toys onto your patio. Because the outdoor elements can ruin toys faster than your kids might understand, you will need a storage solution that organizes and protects their precious outdoor playthings. The best solution is storage furniture, which hides storage compartments underneath cushions and tabletops. However, you can also find patio boxes that blend into the background and are accessible by little hands.
By taking steps to make your patio kid-friendly, you increase not only the safety but the enjoyment of your children in the outdoors.
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