Making Your Backyard Fun

July 19, 2008

Making Your Backyard Funby LISA AUSTEN

Playing outdoors is a favorite childhood pastime for many of us. However, with the proliferation of video games, home computers, and the Internet in recent times, many parents of small children find it difficult to get their kids outside to play, but they should try. There is no substitute for outdoor play. Playing outdoors will not only help keep your child physically fit and ensure that he or she gets much needed exercise, it has also been proven to affect a child’s cognitive development and may help improve your child’s ability to learn, understand, and be creative. However, while going to public parks, riding bikes, playing baseball and other outdoor activities are lots of fun for kids, they usually require an adult to transport and supervise the play. What’s more, in today’s busy world, it can be difficult for working parents to find the time to their engage kids in fun outdoor activities, and even if they do find the time, it is often a task unto itself to get them to leave the house.

What is the solution? Add a swing set to your backyard and get your children off the Internet and out in the sunshine. Bringing the simple fun of the public park into your own backyard makes it easy for your children to enjoy outdoor play and get a little exercise, all while under your supervision. Once you choose and install your swing set, see how your children take to it, if they enjoy it, and you find that they are spending more time outdoors as a result, consider adding more equipment to your backyard playground one by one. This is a practical and economical way to test the waters before spending a fortune on a playground set that your children will never use.

Swinging Safely

Now that you have decided to add a swing set to your backyard, you want to make sure it is safe for your

children to play on it, and the most important factor is education. True, there are certain things to consider when choosing a swing, such as making sure it is made of a soft material like rubber rather than metal or wood, either of which can make an accidental collision painful.

Once you choose the right swing, the next step is to educate your kids on how to use it. Unfortunately, it is all too common for children to injure themselves on a swing, and, although nothing is ever 100% fool proof, you can take a few simple precautions to reduce the possibility that your child will sustain an injury. These precautions include: showing your child how to sit properly in the swing and grasp the ropes with both hands to balance themselves, teaching your child to stay a fair distance from other swings in motion as to avoid a collision with the swing or a another child, and teaching your child to bring the swing to a complete stop before getting off slowly.

Start with a swing set, teach your child swing set safety, and see how it goes. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that your kids love playing outdoors now that you have made it so convenient, and if not, at least you didn’t waste a bunch of money on an entirely new backyard playground.

Lisa Austen is a mother of three from Sacramento, CA. She freelance writes in her spare time. For more information on swing sets
and other playground equipment, visit


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