Build your child a play paradise

You don’t have to spend loads of money to creat a fun playground for your kids, Says Martie Pieterse, author of School Readiness Through Play (Metz Press). “Give your imagination free rein and use whatever you can lay your hands on,” she advises — but she stresses that safety is key. “Make sure no screws or nails are exposed, that ropes are tied well and that there are no rough edges which can cause injuries.”

• Make a rope ladder (or simply make knots in a thick rope) and tie it to a tree stump, so your child clamb up and down, hang or swing on it. The knots will make it easier to grasp and prevent his hands from slipping.

• Old car tyres are great fun for kids, but take their size into account. Your toddler should be able to crawl through them once they’ve been planted in the ground.

• Halved car tyres can be used for climbing over, scrambling from one tyre to another, running between tyres, etc.

• A tyre can also be tied to a tree trunk with a thick rope to make a swing.

• A large tractor tube, firmly inflated, makes a wonderful trampoline! It’s also great in swimming pools.

• Stitch up the sides of an old blankey so that your child can crawl through it.

• Use large coffee tins filled with concrete (or sand) for steps. Paint them in bright colours.

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