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5 Backyard Upgrades Your Kids Will Love

Posted by: NJ Kids Contributors - April 05, 2017

Getting your kids outside helps them achieve the one hour of physical activity a day recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 2014 study published by the National Center or Biotechnology Information found children who biked while watching a video screen of a forest scene experienced significantly decreased blood pressure and elevated mood compared to kids who biked while looking at a blank screen. The mere act of being out in nature is relaxing to children, which boosts exercise gains. 

Creating a backyard sanctuary for your children means they stay safe on your property. To motivate your children to get off the couch and do activities outside, here are five fun backyard additions that will entice kids outdoors.

Trampoline

This classic activity of bouncing up and down is fun for the whole family, providing benefits like increased core strength, improved coordination and calorie-burning aerobic activity. Trampolining is a low-impact exercise, which protects bones and joints.

Another beneficial aspect to trampolines is that they're always stimulating because kids are in control of their progress and can make new gymnastic gains the more they practice. A trampoline with enclosure protects rowdy little ones from hard falls, giving them more room to experiment and grow.

Giant Board Games

Give your young ones who are video game-obsessed a different option outdoors, with a life-size version of chess, checkers or backgammon. Kids will have to move around to complete an action, and lifting up heavy pieces provides strength training.

Backyard board games also encourage kids to be social with siblings and practice following rules. The mental aspect of board games sharpens critical thinking skills and pattern detection, as well, and provides learning opportunities while kids are competing.

Putt Putt

For both kids who are aspiring golfers and those who simply love mini-golf, a putt putt green offers the opportunity to practice golf and have some friendly competition. A bonus for the adults in your family who golf is that they'll get to hone their skills, too, and can practice side-by-side with their kids. Miniature golf provides health benefits including better balance and improved hand-eye coordination, as well as mental gains related to math and geometry as kids learn to master angles.

The most basic putt putt greens can be made more challenging by adding random obstacles to the green. Or, there are putting green products that are more elaborate and have barriers built in.

Sandbox

Sure, they can be messy, but sandboxes provide kids with ample opportunity to flex their imaginative muscles as they design and build sand creations. They can also get artistic and draw in the sand. This adaptable medium offers endless possibilities to kids for how to manipulate it, which increases sensory recognition and fine motor skills when tools like shovels and pails are used. Digging and scooping up sand is also a muscle-builder.

Sandboxes aren't just for preschoolers. Older kids can make more elaborate sandcastles and even use other materials to make more ornate artistic creations. If your family lives in a landlocked area, letting kids play in a sandbox is a way to give them a seaside escape when they're craving one. Keep a hose nearby for easy clean-up after play.

Garden

Taking care of a garden motivates physical activity such as planting seeds, gathering water for plants and lifting bags of dirt. Harvesting a garden is also a relaxing physical activity that requires precise focus.

Planting a garden with your kids gives you the chance to grow something together and educate your children about how to nurture something to fruition. Gains include an increased respect for the earth and the environment, more understanding about science and increased knowledge about food sources. Insects and birds that are attracted to a garden provide more ways kids can learn about nature. As the garden grows, kids will look forward to getting outside and checking on it regularly.

Whatever kind of interest your child has, whether it's athletic, artistic or science-inspired, outdoor activities abound that allow kids to explore their passions while exercising and learning. 

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Posted by: NJ Kids Contributors| April 05, 2017
Categories:  Parenting Tips
Keywords:  Parenting Tips
Copyright © NJ Kids Media Group, Inc. 2017