Our back yard is a major work in progress. We don't own our house, but I've always been a fixer-upper of my living spaces, regardless of whether or not they are technically mine. What matters, as far as I'm concerned, is that we enjoy and really inhabit our home; the walls can return to white when we're ready to leave.
This summer will be George's first as an appreciator of the outdoors. Last summer he was pretty little and we spent some time outside but the hats' chinstraps were annoying and he'd grown so adept at shoving things into his mouth in a single motion that, when surrounded by grass and pebbles and mulch, Mama and Papa didn't stand a chance in the battle against mouthfuls of nature. This time around, he's more trustworthy on his own and I'm looking forward to watching his sandy hair turn yellower in the sun while we play with the chickens and spray each other instead of watering the garden. I decided he needed some backyard activities, and the obvious choices were a given: sand box, water table. But somewhere I saw a photo of kids playing with an oversized chalkboard and it looked like just the creative outlet to complete our backyard kid oasis.
It was simple and the materials cheaply bought: $8 for the paint and $6 for the board, plus a bucket and a package of sidewalk chalk from the dollar store, bringing the total to $16. We had the rope and screws, but I suppose if you didn't, it would be another dollar or so. I wanted it to be steady, as our yard isn't the most level surface, so we drilled it into the fence and nailed the rope into the fence behind the chalkboard.
George is big into putting things away, so half the fun seems to be in choosing a chalk, then putting it back in the bucket and choosing another. He took to it with no direction, which is, to me, the hallmark of a good play space, one that will actually get use.
Hanging out with the whole family outside this evening was so fun, and made the coming warm months even more exciting. I can't wait until our garden is in full effect, when we can pick dinner from the ground while the baby colors in chalk and the chickens cluck around our feet, pecking for bugs.
Feel free to stop by; we'll just be chillaxin' out back.