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On hot, sunny days, you might have a battle to keep the little ones outside direct sunlight, but there are ways to encourage them to enjoy the outdoors and remain in the shade.
Small children will adore having a playhouse but if your budget doesn't stretch that far, play tents can be bought very reasonably. Many toy retailers sell themed 'pop up' tents such as castles or shops. These store away neatly when you want them away as they fold down into a flat bag and can live behind a door or the sofa. Kids camping style tents and sun shade tents can also be purchased very cheaply these days.
For a more grand design, shade sails are making their way to the UK. First created in Australia, shade sails are large fabric sails that attach to posts. You can buy these in bright colours or in more subtle shades. This is not a cheap option, but for the professional childminding setting, you can establish a great looking area of shade.
A cheaper alternative to shade sails is to buy a play parachute - these come in an array of sizes from 2m to 6m. Peg this out in the garden and this will create a large shady area.
If you have any old sheets or blankets, these too can be turned into an impromptu, and shady, camp in the garden. Use your washing line or clothes dryer, airers, garden furniture or trees or bushes as anchor points and use clothes pegs to fix a 'camp' arrangement into place.
As well as keeping your children safe from the sun, your little ones can have a lot of fun playing pretend games in their new setting. Don't forget always to keep your children covered with sun cream and covered with clothes to protect their delicate skin. The sun will still reach them even if they are confined to shade, so keep them safely protected at all times.
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