Every parent wants to get their kids out in the garden as much as possible. It’s the best way for them to get exercise and learn about the world. It’s certainly a better way to spend their time than sitting hunched in front of a computer.
Sadly, it isn’t always easy to get modern children outside. Technology provides so many entertainment options now that some youngsters would happily never use the garden. That’d be terrible from a health perspective. It would also see them missing out on all the joys of nature.
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That’s why many parents do whatever they can to create a family friendly garden which gets the children out at last. And, part of that often involves investing in outdoor toys.
From plastic slides to swing sets, we do what we can to prove that outside can be fun too. And, typically, these tactics work. The popularity of public parks alone is a testament to the fact that kids just can’t resist toys like these.
The only trouble is that, when outdoors toys belong to you, it’s your responsibility to clean them. And, that isn’t always an easy thing to do. Exposure to weather could lead to issues like mould while paddling pools can fall foul to algae. If you aren’t careful, then, time outside could see your children catching all sorts of nasty illnesses.
The good news is that it is in your power to make sure that doesn’t happen. All you need to do is put the following plans in place for keeping outdoor toys clean at all times.
Put toys away when they aren’t in use
Perhaps the best thing you can do is to put toys away when they aren’t in use. Given that you’d then only get them out during sunny play sessions, that alone can eliminate risks of issues like mould. Of course, you can’t very well fit large outdoor playthings into your home.
Even if you tried, you would end up with mess everywhere. Instead, then, consider storing these toys in a storage box or a shed. Bear in mind that you will need to make sure your storage solution keeps toys safe from damp.
If you plan to store them in a box, make sure to seek an airtight option which can withstand adverse weather. If you’re planning to keep toys in your shed, make sure to consider things like ventilation. Think, too, about sustainable ways to keep your shed cool so that mould spores don’t breed in damp corners. Then, all you would need to do is take a few minutes to put everything away after garden playtimes. As simple as that, you could keep garden toys clean and safe for years.
Invest in covers
In some instances, it won’t be possible to put outdoor toys into storage. Options like swing sets and sandboxes are fixed and heavy. As such, you may also want to invest in covers for these options where you can. There are plenty of these on the market, so it shouldn’t be a problem to get on top in this way. All you need to do is make sure you’re investing in a waterproof option which you can secure into place without worry.
You may also want to look for sturdy materials which can withstand any season. Then, you’ll never need to worry about rainfall causing issues here again. Just make sure that you take time to fit and secure those covers after every playtime. The second you let damp get in, even a cover could end up fighting a losing battle against damp and mould spores.
Know how to clean different materials
Despite your best efforts elsewhere, there will likely be times when you need to scrub outdoor toys clean. It’s inevitable that they’re going to get a little muddy, after all. That’s half the fun of outdoor play. But, even if you cover them or put them inside, toys which are left muddy could cause problems.
When it comes to cleaning outdoor toys by hand, though, it’s vital you know which methods work on each material. For plastic outdoor options, for instance, a soapy water and vinegar spray works best for removing marks and germs with a soft cloth.
On a wooden slide or swing set, however, that would make for a pretty ineffectual clean. In that instance, you should use a soft-bristled brush and a gentle soap water mix to protect your wood. As a general rule, you should search for solutions if you’re in doubt. That way, you’ll be able to hand clean any outdoor toy with ease in no time.
Make sure your kids are clean before use
In some instances, it also pays to make sure that your kids are clean(ish) before using their outdoor toys. This is especially the case with options like sandboxes and paddling pools.
If kids get in with filthy feet, you’re looking at having to replace those contents entirely to keep safe. Instead, keep a bowl of water handy, and get your kids to wash off beforehand. This will only take a second, and it could save you significant work in the long term.
If it helps to get your kids involved, make this a part of the game. Treat that bowl as a kind of pre-swim play. Or, pretend that the bowl is an ocean they have to get through to reach the sand. Either way, wash and clean your kid’s feet to ensure they don’t get their outdoor toys mucky beyond repair!
Despite what you might imagine, it really isn’t difficult to keep outdoor toys clean at all times. Once you get on top with each of these methods, you should be able to spend no more than five minutes on this each time.
As well as ensuring safety and hygiene, each of these pointers can also help to prolong the life of any outdoor toy. If nothing else, then, that should motivate you to spare a little thought here from now on.