There are dozens of things that your kids can do in the backyard which will keep them occupied for hours, learning crafts, and giving them some exercise at the same time in many cases.
One of the most obvious things to do in the backyard is gardening. If you are keen on gardening yourself, you probably have an ornamental yard, and you may also grow your own fruit and vegetables, depending on how much space you have. There is nothing nicer than picking fresh vegetables from the garden, rinsing them under the tap and putting them straight into the cooking pot. It is far healthier than the mass-produced stuff you buy from Walmart, grown as it is with a multitude of chemicals poured into the soil.
It is also lovely to sit in the yard enjoying a barbecue, and being surrounded by beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees.
However, this doesn’t happen by itself: there is a lot of work involved, and the earlier you get the kids started on it, the better.
You might want to give them their own little plot that they can look after and grow vegetables and cut flowers for the house. Start them off with things that are easy and grow quickly so that they can see results, which will encourage them.
One of the earliest things that they can sow in the spring is radishes. They grow very fast, and in a few short weeks your kids will be able to make their first contribution to a salad. Lettuces also grow quickly.
As for exercise, gardening gives you plenty. Not the least of it is when you dig the beds over in the autumn, adding compost or manure. You can get the kids to dig their own plot, or help you dig the rest of the yard. Hoeing in order to keep down weeds is another exercise. Teach your kids that the best time to hoe is before you see any weeds.
As they grow and begin to take an interest you can teach them more advanced techniques such as pruning shrubs, grafting, taking cuttings, and much, much more.
Build A Garden Shed
For older kids, why not get them to build a garden shed? They will learn basic carpentry techniques such as how to cut a joint, drill holes for screws, add roofing felt to the roof to waterproof it, and a lot more besides. Building a shed should keep them busy for several weekends.
If you have a wall that you want to cover with plants, get them to build a trellis. You might also want to construct a pergola up which they can grow climbing plants to give shade in the summer.
If you have cement tiles on a patio, you can get the kids to paint them in different colors in order to create a pattern: use latex floor paint,
You might have cut down an old tree and now have a tree stump in the garden. Certainly you can have it ground out by a contractor, but you could also have the kids turn it into a “gnome home” or fairy den. They will be kept busy hollowing it out, adding windows and a door, and a roof over the top.
Buy the kids a trampoline. That will give them plenty of exercise. As an extra safety precaution you can cut up foam tube of a suitable size and cover the springs with it.
Buy two pieces of timber 4’ long and get the kids to mark them up and cut them into stair risers. Fix the two sides together with cross pieces of around 2’ long. With the top screwed to a fence or supported against a wall you can place a planter of suitable length across each “step” and you now have a perfect herb garden of three or four “steps”, one planter above the next.
Buy some hanging baskets and supports. Get the kids to fix the supports to the uprights of fence posts, then plant up the hanging baskets with their choice of flowers from the nursery. This can make a fence look really attractive, especially if you don’t have space in the yard for flowers. It will also keep them busy watering the baskets as often as necessary, and pinching out any dead blooms.
Get the kids to collect a lot of pebbles from the beach. They can then spray them with glow-in-the-dark paint and use them to outline the edges of flower beds or paths.
There are dozens more things that your kids can do in the backyard. All it takes is a quick search on Google and you will find plenty of ideas to keep them occupied and stimulated.