Toys for the great outdoors

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LAURE GREMION Garden Swings & play sets
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Most parents would probably rather see their kids playing outdoors in the garden than sitting in front of a screen all day. The trouble is, sometimes it takes quite a lot of encouragement to get them to leave the comfort of their rooms – even though they tend to enjoy it once they do. It’s possible to help your kids towards a healthier lifestyle with more fresh air and physical activity by providing material inducements for them. No, we’re not talking about giving them money for every lap of the garden they manage to run; we’re just talking about putting fun stuff in the garden, so they’ll actually choose to go there of their own volition. Some of the toys and play sets seen below are practical no matter your space and budget concerns, some are less so, but all offer a more wholesome alternative to zoning out in front of the TV all day.

​Pulling out all the stops

What do you get the child who has everything? Well, this “luxe” playhouse might be a good place to start. Aptly named, it is indeed the height of luxury, featuring real thatched roofs, glazed windows and a slide for those occasions when exiting a building by its door just seems too dreadfully dull to contemplate. It combines the imagination-boosting environment of a tree house or Wendy house with the more physical play opportunities of an adventure playground, and it takes up almost the same amount of space – and is probably just about as easy to live in – as an actual house. You might even find yourself wanting to move in.

​Slide, crawl and climb

Most children love sliding as much as they love crawling and sliding. Fortunately, this multi-purpose play set covers all three bases, providing a system of net tunnels for them to clamber through. The slide – which can, of course, only be reached by climbing – is the reward at the end of all their hard work.

​Go crazy

This portable crazy golf set is ideal not just for the garden, but for any outdoor space – even the street, as seen here, if you happen to live in an area away from busy roads.  It can easily be packed up and brought along to picnics or other events. Unlike the previous two toys, which have been designed to fit children and children only, this one has no size restrictions so adults can join in the game as well.

​The simple things

Most children’s imaginations need only minimal stimuli to get working. A simple hideout such as this one is usually more than enough. In this wicker den they can be bears in a cave, bees in a hive or superheroes tucked away in a secret lair. They can form secret clubs and camp out beneath the stars (at least until they get too cold and decide they need to come in, that is).

Up in the air

No expense or effort has been spared here in creating the kind of treetop den that kids will flock from miles around to play in. If you build your child something like this, be prepared for a lot of stories of jealous friends.

​A pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled

Another toy for all ages, this simple sledge has been designed to hook together with others of its type so you can share your death-defying hurtle downhill with several friends at once.

Here it is in action (with the models’ expressions proving this is just as exhilarating for 30-year-olds as for 13-year-olds).

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