CHILD-FRIENDLY GARDEN FOR SMALL CHILDREN

CHILD-FRIENDLY GARDEN FOR SMALL CHILDREN

 


In the garden literature and even on the internet there is not too much to be found about child-friendly gardens.

And certainly not especially about gardens in which children from 0-5 years feel comfortable. Young children are often almost not afraid of anything and want to discover everything. They do that at a fast pace. Small children develop very quickly. They will change almost from week to week, examining themselves and their environment.

CHILD-FRIENDLY GARDEN FOR SMALL CHILDREN

In principle, children can entertain themselves excellently as long as they encounter enough stimuli (challenges, interesting things) . Children are often very easily distracted, but what they do they do very concentrated. A small child can very intensively look at something, feel it and then want to put it in the mouth, but two seconds later it can see something else that gets all the attention again. What was the first thing to do is then completely forgotten. As long as something is not completely known, that 'something' can be discovered again and again.

You know that from a baby who is discovering its own body. A hand can just fly by that it can't control yet. That remains interesting until the baby discovers that it can control that moving thing. This in turn provides a new 'playground' until mastering that movement has been repeated so often that it is no longer interesting. That's how it is with everything. The challenging circle with everything that is already in it is getting bigger and bigger. This 'everything' also includes parents and/or other caregivers. They also belong to that increasingly familiar circle around the new person who is exploring the world. That little universe gets bigger as the crawling and then the walking begins. Everything is interesting, everything is fun. Except for the things that were already introduced in a negative way.

A GARDEN OF DISCOVERY

A garden for small children should be a garden of discovery, in which they can gain real experiences, also encounter limits, but make sure that the environment is safe. Don't make it a 'children's place' that is hidden somewhere in your beautifully landscaped ornamental garden. Keep the playground close. Small children feel safe when they can be constantly close to the people they have already learned to trust. Those are the people who take care of them. They should be able to contact them immediately if there is something, if they want to show something, or if they need help.

A play area for young children should therefore be close to home and/or a terrace. There must also be a direct view of it from the living room or kitchen and this place must contain sufficient incentives to remain fascinating for a long time. There must be enough (always) to discover that is so versatile that it can be played with for years to come. That is, for example, a property of play sand. That's much more fun than any invented toy. The same goes for water. A child can play with it endlessly, but then the weather must be very nice.

PROVIDE SHADE

A playground for children develops with age. As long as a baby is placed outside in a cot or pram, this can in principle be done anywhere. Due to the increasing intensity of UV radiation in sunlight, it is wise to do this in a slightly shaded spot. So fresh air, but not full sun. And under a mosquito net against insects and curious cats and/or other animals. To create those good conditions it's nice if in that placea treeView plantPlatanus x acerifolia - Roof planegrows that shade with its leaves. The playground can then be further developed in the same place. It can also be under a so-called that it filters light and repels UV radiation.

MAKE ROOM FOR A LAWN

It is very important that it grows! It is soft and therefore feels pleasant (also for bare children's feet) . Never take artificial grass where small children have to play. Rubber granules are used in artificial grass, which a child should not come into contact with. For slightly older children, such an artificial grass lawn is not so bad (but also less recommended for other reasons) , but small children put everything in their mouths.

BE CAREFUL WITH PAVEMENT

If you work with tiles at the children's playground, for example as a border around the sandbox (to make it easy to scoop the sand back) or as a play terrace, do not use dark-colored tiles. They can get quite hot in the sun. Choose a lighter color. This is also possible with rubber tiles. It must of course be a smooth tile, but designed in such a way that you do not slip on it when walking on it when it is wet. Make your patio an interesting area for tricycles and sidewalk chalk (and not too hard on knees) .

A SANDBOX

A sandbox is definitely the most important play element up to the age of 3 to 4 years. Make it above ground level (with a raised seat edge) to keep the sand as dry as possible. A sandbox buried in the ground stays wet for much longer. Also provide a handy cover (cover) for when the box is not in use (eg because cats like to do their needs in open ground; that is not very hygienic) .

Only use good, coarse-grained play sand as a sandbox filling. It is nice to build with, but if it is dry it can also run between the fingers, which is also very exciting. Do not make the sand layer deeper than 50 cm to prevent accidents!

Give a child the opportunity to get dirty, they need that. But if that dirt can be knocked off, that's so nice!

A WATER ELEMENT FOR HOT SUMMER DAYS

The other main game element is . That can only provide great fun outside in the summer, but also keep it safe. Do not make the water layer in the bath or tub deep. A child can easily drown in 10 cm deep water. Therefore, always stay with it as a child or when children are playing in and with water!

PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT FOR EXTRA FUN

The next play element to be installed is usually a . It is not about the thing, but about the sensation of the movement. Provide a safe construction and a soft surface to break any falls. Also make sure that slides are always supervised when they are used, especially if more children are playing at the same time.

As soon as a child can keep his balance sufficiently, a swing also becomes interesting. Always use it under supervision. Place one in such a way that it is visible from all sides and that no one can easily walk into it. Not even when the swing swings out. There are plenty of construction options. Make the construction so strong that it cannot come loose or fall over. A swing with a hard seat increases the risk of accidents than a swing made with, for example, a car tire. And the latter is often even more fun.

A climbing frame can also be a lot of fun. Climbing and clambering is an absolute necessity. The seesaw has fallen into disuse. Sometimes it is handled too hard and the chance that fingers or legs get caught is not imaginary.

What is increasing strongly is the installation of trampolines in play areas. In that case, opt for a version in which the tension springs around the jumping mat are well protected and always ensure a net jumping cage built up on the edge. Never allow small children to play on a trampoline unsupervised. Due to the different jumping movements (especially if several children jump on them at the same time) , very unexpected things can happen.

Never forget that play is discovery and development, so looking for unexpected effects is the challenge!

MAKE A HAPPY FENCE

Sometimes it is very useful to separate the play area from the rest of the garden with a low fence. For example, to prevent digging in places where you would rather not. A nice can be very attractive. There must also be good separation around the entire garden.

ANIMALS FOR AN EXTRA HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT

Not directly in front of the playground, but very nice for children are animals in the garden: a rabbit or guinea pig, chickens, etc. They can't take care of them yet, but they can learn to deal with them and to love them. Also good for healthy development.

WATCH OUT FOR POISONOUS PLANTS

Do not put poisonous plants in your garden! You can find some lists about this on our website. Remember that tooboxwood leafsee productBuxus sempervirens (Palm tree, Hedge palm)is poisonous (which is sometimes recommended in children's gardens) . Also avoid plants that can cause skin irritation when touched. These include:

  • arum ;
  • Clematis ;
  • spurge species ;
  • Primroses ;
  • Buttercups ;
  • Anemones .

The worst is Giant Hogweed!

STORAGE SPACE FOR TOYS

Provide a waterproof box close to the playground or in which children's toys can easily be stored. Only give small children new toys when you notice that they have seen the old ones and are no longer doing anything with them. Then don't keep it, give it away. Good reuse is the future!

FINALLY..

Choose the playground for young children close to home, but do it in such a way that it can easily be integrated into the rest of the garden later in a different shape. In the past it would soon be a piece of (play) lawn or a lawn(swimming) pondsee productSwimming pond Designnow it could become an ideal place to make a wadi in the garden, a place where excess rainwater can sink into the ground, a kind of sunken rock or prairie garden (with a very attractive survival climbing course) .

Don't make it up from the past, but for the future.
Plenty of options!

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