Kids need to spend time outside, but all too often, they prefer being cooped up inside, glued to technology and gaming consoles. One way to solve this problem is to make your outdoor patio a child-friendly place. Fortunately, this isn't too difficult, and it won't cost you a fortune.
Most Australian's use their patio as a multi-purpose space. It is a place to entertain, eat, and relax when it’s just too hot to sit out in the sun. A well-constructed patio is an asset to any home. If your patio roof is made using an insulating material, it should stay cooler in hot weather and warmer in early spring and late autumn. Siding panels will protect you from strong breezes if you live near the coast and provide a measure of privacy if your neighbours are nearby. The patio also needs to be large enough, so if your lean-to patio is past its best and you are thinking of investing in an upgrade, look at newer designs and consider extending the patio to allow for extra living space.
Once you have the basics, it is time to start transforming your patio into a pleasant place for kids to chill and play games.
Install a nice floor for your patio. Ceramic tiles are easy to clean and cool in hot weather. Reclaimed timber will look rustic and attractive, but watch out for stray nails and splinters if you have toddlers and babies. You might also consider installing an outdoor carpet, but it depends on the local climate. A good compromise is to throw some rugs down, so you can clean the floor, but the kids have something soft underfoot when they pad around in bare feet. Rugs are also nice for younger children, who like to lie on the floor and read or play games.
Older kids will want to plug in smartphones, games consoles, TVs and other electrical gadgets. There must be sufficient electrical outlets to cope with different devices, so if you don't have any outdoor sockets, hire an electrician to install some for you.
It can get extremely hot in the middle of summer, and even with an insulated roof, the heat will build up. A ceiling fan is an easy way to get hot air moving and cool things down a bit.
Provide some comfortable chairs or an old sofa for your kids. They can snuggle up with a book, iPad or laptop and stay out of your hair. If you don't want to invest in chairs, buy some large floor cushions or beanbags.
Fun and Games
Build a cupboard for storing games or fix some shelves to the wall where they can place toys out of harm's way. If you have room, let them have an air hockey table or pool table. These are usually too large for a house but are great for a patio games room.
If you make your dome patio attractive, you can encourage the kids to spend all their leisure time outdoors!
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