As the beautiful weather of summer really kicks in, the sunshine and pleasant days are like a magnet drawing kids outside to play.
Back when I was young (ahem, a while ago) – there was no better play space than the wide concrete expanse of our driveway. I rollerskated on it, drew on it with chalk and rode my bike up and down. I don’t think it ever occurred to my parents or to me that driveways are not a great place for kids to play. In fact, every year children are injured (sometimes fatally) in driveways. Saddest of all, in most cases the driver involved is a family member or friend, driving slowly and carefully – and the child is only out of eyesight for a split second.
The best way to avoid this situation is to set up and encourage good habits for outside play time. That means making the driveway off limits for play and setting up safe spaces where kids can really let their imaginations run wild.
Here are four ideas to get your kids playing safely outside. Let’s go outdoors!
1. Cubby house
Every kid loves a cubby house, whether it’s a fancy top-of-the-range type or something more humbly put together.
Take some time to set your child up for comfort and fun and you’re not only guaranteed at least a few minutes of dedicated play time, you’re sure to help your child make some happy memories too.
2. Camp kid
Head outside and pitch a tent in the backyard! Your child can bunker down inside, having adventures and making up stories. A large sheet suspended from the clothesline also makes a pretty great tent.
You can station yourself nearby, keeping watch, but maybe also sipping a cuppa and have a little bit of quiet time, too.
3. Little green thumbs
Grab your shovel and get your little one digging up weeds and helping you plant some summer-loving veggies or blooms.
Gardening together is not only wonderful for kids’ development and education, it’s a lovely way to pass the time and have some special one-on-one chats.
4. Family picnic
Fling a blanket under a shady tree, let your child help you pack a picnic and head into the great backyard outdoors for a special, home turf picnic together. Bring out the favourite dolls or teddies to join the action and you’re virtually guaranteed an hour of peace. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Top tips for child safety in driveways
Most driveway accidents happen in the blink of an eye. The best way to prevent them is for the whole family to develop good habits which keep kids out of harm’s way. You should also talk with friends and family about these ‘house rules’. After all, your kids are counting on you to keep them safe!
- Supervise – supervise your kids in the driveway. Reinforce that it isn’t a play space and make sure your eye is on them whenever they’re there.
- Separate – set up a barrier between the child and the driveway so that they don’t accidentally wander. For many families this might be a locked screen door – but also check your side access, gates and fences to make sure that wandering youngsters don’t wander where they shouldn’t.
- See – don’t make assumptions about where your child is when you get into the car. Make a habit of walking the whole way around the car before you get into it and checking nobody is anywhere they shouldn’t be. It only takes seconds to check, and your children will thank you for it.
We hope you have lots of fun playing with your kiddos outside! Here’s to lazy summer days and lots of memorable backyard adventures!
(This is a sponsored post for Transport for NSW)