Want more time with your children? Build an outdoor space.

September 3rd 2013
Glen Goldberg

Outdoor Spaces for Family

Before X-box and PlayStation, moms told kids to be home when the streetlights went on. We spent our days outside, on the playground, and always on our bikes, coming home a little dirty, hungry, and ready to spend the evening with the family playing games or watching our lone TV together.

But times change; kids are more likely to prefer days spent playing video games in air-conditioned comfort over heading to the playground. They are inside and separate from the rest of us. Indoor entertainment is replacing outdoor activity.

“If you want your children to eat spinach, plant spinach.”

I won’t romanticize the good old days, but if you want the kids to spend more time outside and want to spend more time with them, create an outdoor space that makes that happen.

Did you know that today’s children can recognize roughly 1,000 corporate logos but, on average, can only name ten plant and animal species that are native to their region?

Anyone who grew up working in the garden with their parents or grandparents knows the joy of being outside and tending to the plants. There is great satisfaction in growing anything. Kids will be drawn to the outdoors if you incorporate edibles into your landscape design, even a container garden of herbs or tomatoes. There’s the expression, “If you want your children to eat spinach, plant spinach.”

Turn off the video games and all the TVs. Put everyone’s cell phone on the counter inside and get outside in the daylight or the moonlight. Build a fire in the fire pit; roast some corn with marshmallows. Create a space for gathering your extended family. Let the kids hear the family history, stories, and tales of your youth, told as only a favorite uncle can.

Outdoor spaces do more than beautify a landscape. They set the stage for special moments.