How a play cubby can transform your yard into a childrens wonderland and improve your relationship with your kids
Summer is here. For most Australians with kids, that means more opportunity to spend time outdoors. It’s great that we take our kids to the park and the beach, but many of us under utilise the space we have right there in our yards – which can be a huge lost opportunity. A play cubby is the perfect way to turn things around.
From a child’s perspective: a play cubby can transform a boring empty space into an exciting world of fun. It becomes a reason to go outside, and it forms a base for all manner of outdoor activities.
For parents: a play cubby gives our kids the space they need to make important childhood developments, both physical and mental. And the best part, it happens right there in the safety and convenience of your own yard.
Why are outdoor play cubbies important for childhood development
1) They foster independence and responsibility
Just like having their own bedroom or indoor playroom, an outdoor play cubby provides kids with a place they can take ownership of. This is important for fostering a sense of responsibility. Many parents report their kids becoming more mindful of keeping clean around the house, sometimes even offering to do chores that were otherwise done by parents. Since the play cubby is outside the home, it gives kids an even greater sense of independence. As they do things like host visitors, children improve their communication, develop empathy, and build important relationship-building skills.
2) They encourage imagination and creativity
A play cubby is a fundamentally different space than almost everything else in a child’s world. While the rest of the world is designed for adults, play cubbies are unequivocally made for kids. In many cases, they are too small for an adult to even fit inside – and this is a good thing. In addition to bolstering that sense of independence, the radically “different” nature of a play cubby sparks imagination in the minds of children. Freed of the constraints of the normal world, kids’ imaginations can run wild. What looks to an adult like a generic play cubby is, in the mind of a child, everything from a pirate ship to a princess’ castle. Entire days are spent building stories and playing roles – exactly the kind of mental activity many kids are missing in the digital age.
3) They provide more opportunities for family interaction and connection
Much of family life in Australia, especially in summer, revolves around the yard – or at least it can. There’s gardening, BBQs, working on that project in the shed, and more. All of these activities are great learning opportunities for children, and great ways for parents to connect with their kids. But, as every parent knows, it can be a real challenge to find the right balance between engaging with your kids and getting real work done, or having nuanced conversations with other adults. Having a play cubby in your yard makes it easier to find that balance because your kids are free to move back and forth between interaction with you, and doing their “own thing.” This provides both you and your kids with the space you need to meaningfully engage when you’re next to each other, then focus on your own thing when you’re not.
What kind of play cubby should you build
As long as it’s sturdy and safe, even a very simple play cubby can bring all of the above-listed benefits. Remember: it’s mostly about providing that focal point to get kids outside in a space that fosters creativity and responsibility.
As with all additions to your yard, you’ll of course face space and budget constraints, as well as aesthetic considerations. If you do have the space, and you’re willing to invest a little more, integrating a swing or “jungle-gym” type features – like a slide, platform, or bridge – can add an extra element of fun, along with the opportunity for your kids to engage in more physical play.
The experts at SteelChief are standing by to help. With 40 years designing and building outdoor lifefstyle products like garden sheds, aviaries and pet enclosures, and cubbies, we have now created Little Chief Play, which specialises in children’s cubbies and play equipment. We can advise on choosing the right play cubby for your unique space, making sure it fits in with your home’s aesthetic.
Little Chief Play’s cubbies are Australian made and guaranteed to last a lifetime. You can choose one of our premade models or work with our experts to design a tailor-made solution. Either way, you’ll get expert advice when you contact us and professional installation of an important and long-lasting element for your kids’ development.