Author: Joseph Welsh
It’s the quintessential Australian dream to have your own backyard, possibly with a white picket fence around the edge. But once you’ve got it, what do you do with it? Well, that’s where your own lifestyle and imagination comes in, doesn’t it? One of the most common additions to many a suburban backyard is the inclusion of play equipment for the kids. If you’ve got children and are looking to make the outdoors a more inviting space for them, then take a glance at our list for the five best pieces of outdoor play equipment.
If it weren’t for the fact that trampolines have a couple of safety drawbacks, they would easily come top of this list. There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as wasting hours of an afternoon practicing your acrobatics on a trampoline, and there’s a very good reason why the classic backyard staple has remained so incredibly popular through the years.
Most of us would remember growing up with trampolines that used edge mounted springs, and many of us would also be able to remember the bumps, bruises and occasional broken bones that came along with them. While the fun was usually worth the risk, today most trampolines incorporate safer designs. Unfortunately, most of these struggle to replicate the same incredible bounce sensation of older models, but the tradeoff is worth it for most people. After all, a modern trampoline might not be quite as sensational as an older one, but it’s still a trampoline and therefore a ton of fun. Regardless, a trampoline is a must have for any backyard.
Hours of classic and reliable fun are a given when you invest in a swing set. Unlike the trampoline, swings have never really felt the need for upgrades, revisions or improvements because, let’s face it, they’re damn near perfect as they are. The swing is a basic concept, but when something’s this fun, why would you mess with it?
The great thing about a fort is it can be whatever you (or more importantly, the kids) want it to be. Not only are there are a range of sizes and styles out there to suit any budget, space or need, but you also have access to myriad of customisation options into the bargain. Why not add a slide? How about a set of monkey bars? You can add rope, turrets, climbing frames and anything else you can think of until the monstrosity in your backyard has more square footage than your house!
2: Art Wall
Every kid loves drawing and while you may at times have to squint pretty hard to appreciate it, every piece is a masterwork. Whether you’ve got the next DaVinci running about or just a kid who likes scribbling on the walls, an outdoor art space is a great way to let them get their creativity out. As a bonus, when the works are done they can be wiped away and you needn’t feel guilty about not taking up anymore space on the front of your fridge.
There are multiple ways to set up an art wall. You could of course just delegate a section of wall or pavement to art pursuits, but you can go a little further as well. Blackboard paint is an awesome product that can be sprayed directly onto a surface, instantly turning it into a blackboard just like the ones you had at school.
Blackboard paint has a few benefits to plain old concrete or brick. It’s much easier to draw on, pictures show up more clearly and it can be more easily wiped clean when the chalk gets put away. Combine it with supplies of playdough or clay and you’ve got a burgeoning art workshop going already.
The humble sandpit is perhaps not quite as trendy as it once was, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be carving out a space for one in your backyard. Honestly, for pure creative freedom few things can beat a sandpit. Castles, skyscrapers, roads, animals can appear in a few short minutes; just add water for lakes, rivers and oceans. Stage epic battles between battalions of knights on horseback and little green Army Men. A sandpit isn’t so much a piece of play equipment as it is a blank stage for the creation of entire worlds.
Those are our picks for the five best additions you can make to your backyard for the kids, but they’re certainly not the only ones. No one ever said you need to leave the outdoors as a blank stretch of lawn, so why not get creative with it?
This article was written by child play equipment and outdoor entertainment experts, Aarons Outdoor Living.