Even in our own backyards, kids can be adventurous, and as a mom, I love seeing my kids building forts in the backyard or collecting interesting looking rocks, but accidents can still happen and our children may not be as safe as we think. Before your little explorer goes outside, remember these five easy safety tips:
Supervision. It only takes seconds for a child to become seriously injured, so always have at least one adult present when your child is outside. If you casually watch from inside while watching TV, you may not notice when your child falls in the pool or falls from a tree.
Check your surroundings. Last summer, my son went outside literally seconds before me and discovered a nest in some bushes. He was so excited to see baby eggs, he got too close and the next thing I knew, I saw my son being chased by an irate bird. The bird thought he was going to steal the eggs, and of course went into defense-mode. Luckily, I was able to shoo the bird away, but my son could have easily been attacked or bitten. Even in our own backyards, there can be new things to discover, like this nest, so keep your eyes peeled so you aren’t sending your child into contact with danger.
Wear Sun Block. Even in relaxing 70-degree weather or cloudy days, sunburns are still a possibility, especially at the beginning of summer when most of us haven’t been as exposed to direct heat. To prevent sunburns, apply sun block to your little ones.
Bug Repellent. It may seem silly to apply bug repellent to a child at home, but bugs are in your backyard whether you like it or not, especially mosquitoes.
Water Look Out. If you have any water features in your backyard, such a pond, a pool, a plastic/rubber mini pool or any other device that collects water, inspect it before letting your child touch it. When it’s hot out, mosquitoes and other bugs will breed in these waters and we definitely don’t want our little ones exposed to that! I know I don’t. And don’t forget to empty it when done. A child can drown in a few inches of water.
With your safety precautions underway, try some fun outdoor games with your kids:
Scavenger Hunt. Kids love searching, so give them a list of items to search for. For instance, tell them to find you a three-leaf clover in the grass, or a rock with a brown spot on it, or a flower with white pedals. The list goes on and this challenges your children to think while playing.
Search for Treasure. Since we know kids love searching, make a treasure map for them using items already in your backyard – trees, bushes, rocks, etc. Depending on their age, make it as easy or as hard as you desire. Hide something a child would love to find—perhaps a couple of dollars or a small knick-knack from those 0.25 cent machines. Avoid hiding candy since we don’t want ants!
Cloud Watching. Tell your child to lie on their back and watch the clouds to discover the shapes and animals floating in the air.
Roasting Marshmallows. When it gets dark out, if your little ones still love being outdoors like my family, roast marshmallows around a fire and tell stories. If you don’t have a fire pit, the Gas Can by Campfire in a Can is safe and so easy to use! My family and I use it almost daily and even though we’re at home, it still feels like a little camping get-away.
I hope you found these backyard safety tips and games helpful, and in the words of Doctor Seuss, “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” Our backyard adventures don’t have to end today; the fun can last a life time.
Karen is an outdoor enthusiast who loves relaxing by the campfire ring with family on a chilly night at home. She has her own website, http://www.familyfirepit.com/ where she shares her knowledge on the latest fire pits and their safe use.