You can turn your backyard into a kid’s oasis with some basic materials and the right add-ons. Kids love anything that gets their imaginations going and their hearts pumping. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a factory-produced structure. Get creative and make your backyard the prime hangout spot of the neighborhood!
Set Up a Play Structure
You can purchase and assemble an all-inclusive play structure for your kids, but they are expensive and tend to be less durable. If you want to save some money and make a unique play structure that will be the envy of the neighborhood, consider throwing something together with a few basic materials. You can create a play castle with wood slats, posts, and a slide with very basic carpentry skills. The same goes for a treehouse. Old tires make excellent tire balance beams and swings. Tree swings can also be made from PVC pipe and nylon webbing, as well as wooden planks and beads. Search the web for fun DIY play structure ideas and instructions.
Build a Climbing Structure
Do you have a kid you are convinced is part monkey, climbing anything and everything in sight? Give him or her an outlet for their need to climb with an outdoor climbing structure. Kids love to climb, and it is great for building strength in their arms, legs, and core. Make a rock climbing tower by building a sturdy wooden A-frame structure and attaching rock climbing holds.
Another simple option is a tire tower. This is made by securely attaching up to 4 tires at intervals along three or four vertical posts. Of course, any climbing structure should be built carefully, with safety as the top priority.
What kid doesn’t love to play in the water? Harness water’s entertainment power by building a water structure suitable for your kids’ ages. There are limitless possibilities, including a water table, a mud kitchen, or a DIY splash pad. If you are a skilled landscape artist, the sky’s the limit. Put your skills to good use by creating a beautiful and natural-looking backyard river. You can also put your fence to good use by building a water trough along it. Simply attach a rain gutter alongside your fence or exterior wall of your house. When it's time to play, turn on the hose and watch your toddler stay entertained for hours!
Make a Sandbox
Sand is well-known for its therapeutic properties. It is soothing and relaxing, offers sensory stimulation, helps your kids develop their fine motor skills, and provides ample opportunity to exercise their gross motor skills as well. Sand is also an excellent tool for developing a child’s imagination. Playing in the sand even introduces basic mathematical skills, such as volume and capacity. You can build a contained sandbox or a natural sandy play area–the choice is yours. Either way, a sandy play area is engaging and educational for kids of all ages.
Invest in Non-Permanent Structures
Kids grow so fast it can feel like a waste of money to invest in permanent structures that will have to be replaced as the kids grow. While outdoor play is so valuable that nothing is a waste of money if it gets your kids outside, you still might want to invest in some non-permanent structures instead. These can be set up and taken down as needed. Here are a few kid-approved, non-permanent structures that your kids are sure to love.
Trampolines offer hours of fun as well as incredible strength and cardiovascular benefits. They lend themselves to both group and individual play, and there are hundreds of different activities that can be done on a trampoline. Trampolines are great for all ages–your teens (or maybe even adult children) will use it. Just be sure to enclose the trampoline for safety and follow all of the safety guidelines that come with your trampoline.
A Gaga Ball Pit
Gaga Ball has been taking the nation’s parks, scout camps, and elementary schools by storm. It is fast-paced and competitive, but anyone can play. The game is played in a large pit. Players try to hit each other below the knees with a playground ball. If you get hit below the knee by the ball, you are out. The last person in the pit wins. Castle Sports offers a portable and durable gaga ball pit at an affordable price. Watch as your kids become absolutely addicted to this intense game!
9 Square is another game that is gaining popularity across the country. A mix between foursquare and volleyball, the objective of the game is to get people out while moving up squares until you reach the king’s square. It is great for all ages and athletic levels–and it is positively addicting.
You can have a backyard that entices kids outdoors and is the envy of all the neighbors–all without spending a fortune on a fancy get-up. With a little bit of creativity and some elbow grease, you can create the yard of your–and your kids'–dreams!
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