It has long been understood that play forms a crucial element of development and enables young children to develop key physical, mental and social skills that will prepare them for year ahead. In fact, studies have also shown that the benefits of playing will continue into adulthood, where adults who engage in a range of more advanced playful activities continue to learn new abilities and skills.
As advantageous as play can be, parents know how hard it can sometimes be to get the kids playing outdoors, especially after a long and cold winter where much of their playful activities take place indoors. Toys can often be a parent's best ally in these situations and there are a range of garden toys and games that are nearly guaranteed to gets the boys playing outside.
1. The Good Old Trampoline. It is often surprising how something that seems repetitive and mundane can be a source of intrigue for children for hours. The trampoline is one of the classical outdoor toys with the first modern trampolines being enjoyed since 1936.
2. Action Figures. While this might seem a surprising choice, the action figures of today are mostly plastic, practically waterproof, due to the propensity of children for putting them in their mouths, and highly resilient. A small collection of even old action figures with a couple of boxes and some garden sand can be a fertile environment for creative play, keeping the little tigers occupied till past sunset.
3. Water Guns. Depending on where you live and the climate, these might have to wait for summer but water pistols are a welcome alternative to the likes of a BB gun, which tends to be less kind on the eyes and sometimes windows making it one my all time favourite outdoor toys. Be sure to keep a towel close to the door or handy to ensure your boys don't hydrate, and muddy up, the house.
4. A Footy Net. Granted there are many of us who don't have the space for a mini football net, or may not want to tempt the football meeting the back, or front, garden windows. An alternative could be to use a soft blown up ball, or even one of those oversized tennis balls which can be kinder on the exterior house glass. These footy nets are often quickly disassembled and put in a small travel bag, making them ideal for a visit to the local park.
5. Swingball. This is a great toy because it means your boy can work on his hand to eye coordination by engaging in a tennis style game that only needs one person to make it fun. Having the ball attached to the main stand by way of a rope means that it won't go missing or find its way through the kitchen window. It's a great way for the little lads to express any pent up anger, which might be the case when you drag them away from the warmth of the house and their Playstation.
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