Plant a Green Space
Kids love to run and chase and play catch. All of those actions need a smooth, fall-safe landing zone. The best place to play soccer, freeze tag, and to lay down and look at the passing clouds is definitely a lawn. It doesn’t have to be an acre in size, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. You are raising kids, not grass, after all.
If you’re lucky enough to be starting from scratch, find a grass seed or sod that is drought tolerant. That way you won’t be a slave to watering. Also, seriously think about installing a sprinkler system so that you can water at the absolute best times. You could set the system to water the lawn early in the morning, before the sun can interfere by causing evaporation.
Build a Hideaway
Create a kid-sized hideaway. There are so many ways you could do this: sheets from a thrift store over a clothesline make a great tent. For a temporary fort, a refrigerator or other large appliance box is fun, with the added bonus that it can be painted or drawn on with other various art supplies. If you’re super handy with tools, and have an appropriate tree, build a tree house. You could even make a growing teepee out of cut tree branches and green beans.
Whatever the hideaway is made from or wherever it is located, you’ll want to furnish it with items that appeal to your kids. Little places to sit and play are always welcome, whether they are pillows or logs. Snacks are far better when eaten in a kids only secret space and even the most boring toys are new again.
Keep it Cool
When the summer heat hits, you need to make sure the kiddos are not roasting away. Provide as much shade as possible and use sunscreen liberally. The heat isn’t what causes the sunburn, obviously, but there are lots less clothes to protect that sensitive skin. Patio umbrellas are a quick solution for places without natural shade. You might want to consider moving the play area to the spot that receives the most afternoon shade. Simply switching to the other side of your house could provide all the shade you need.
Let them play in with water. Kiddie pools and summer go hand-in-hand, it seems. There are tons more ways to introduce water play. Teach them the super fun water balloon toss game. The only special equipment needed is a water balloon, which can be found in packaged with at least one hundred of its closest friends at a dollar store near you. Washing the car is even fun, for some reason, when you let them get as drenched as they possibly can.