Just 51 percent of children participate in adult-supervised playtime outdoors each day, according to CBS News. Kids over the age of two should enjoy at least one hour of active play outside daily in order to reap optimal cognitive health and physical health benefits. One of the best ways to inspire children to spend more time outside is to make a home yard into an appealing play place. And what could be more magical than a garden den—a tiny fort for the smallest members of your family! We've put together some of our best ideas for creating these fun little spaces in your outdoor area. And the best news is, you don't even need much room for most of these! Here's how to create a garden den your children will want to spend hours in.
Constructing a simple Tee Pee out of bamboo poles, hollow poles made from aluminum, or PVC pipes is easy and fun...you just need to use a little creativity! Whichever frame material you select, you'll need six sticks, plus twine for securing the frame at the top. A spot in your yard that receives several hours of sunlight per day is an ideal location for your bean Tee Pee garden den.
Once the frame is complete, create a secret garden effect by adding climbing bean plants. Runner bean and pole bean plants are perfect options. Add bean seeds on both sides of every pole. Seeds should be a couple of inches below the ground. When the bean plants start to sprout, make sure that you water them regularly. When beans are matured, harvest them, as this will help the plants to continue flourishing. Children love crawling into bean plant Tee Pees for a little rest after running around their yards.
A more elaborate option is using a log cabin or shed as a garden den. A log cabin may be an ideal choice for a larger backyard. Riverwood Cabins offer many different sizes and layouts. Children may run in and out of a log cabin as they enjoy a yard. The log cabin may be stocked with outdoor toys that children may choose from, plus some indoor toys for rest breaks. A log cabin will do double-duty as an office that is steps from the house, or as an art studio or crafting room. Sheds can offer some of the same benefits on a smaller scale.
Parents who aren't into DIY projects and don't want to invest in log cabins or sheds may want to buy play tents that can be set up outdoors. There are many of these tents available for reasonable prices and they are typically very simple to put together. Play tents aren't designed for sleeping out. They are lightweight tents that are just right for daytime. Kids can spend time in their tents when they want a little break from the sunshine, or when they want to spend some quiet time reading books or chatting with pals.
Garden dens add charm and play value to yards. Parents who want to encourage more healthy outdoor time will love watching their children play, after they add garden dens to their outdoor spaces. These dens spark the imaginations of little ones. If you decide to add a garden den, be sure to spend time in the den with your child, as it's truly a great way to bond.