12 Simple Backyard Playground Ideas for Kids


A common problem we are often hearing from parents is that kids are spending way too much time on their cellphones or in front of the TV. A cool play area in the backyard can greatly increase the chance of getting children outside and away from those screens.

Outside play can benefit children in many ways, from increased physical activity to developing more resilience and sparking their imagination. Not to mention a better family bond if you let them participate in the planning and building of their own backyard playground.

Here are some cool, simple ideas to help you get started. Many of these are budget friendly and can be done in an afternoon family DIY session. If you are not the DIY type, you can also opt for just buying a playground equipment such as a trampoline or a playhouse.

1. Chalkboard

Putting up a chalkboard on the fence or in the backyard will certainly increase your popularity with the kids. Not only will it get them spending more time outside it also develops their creativity while saving you from the mess in-house. Buy a big box of colorful chalk and let them draw away.

2. Wooden Boat

Few topics are as integral part of children’s fantasies than pirates. A cool wooden boat will not only let kids play out their adventures on the fresh air, it can also make the entire backyard look better. You can go as simple or as detailed as you want, their imagination will fill in the gaps.

3. Swing

One of the oldest and simplest kids’ toys is a swing. It can come in many different forms and can be mounted to a tree, or to the side of another structure such as a play castle. The classic tire swing only requires a few simple items to make yet if will provide endless fun for your little ones.

4. Treehouse

The daddy of all backyard DIY projects, building a treehouse can be the perfect opportunity to create a longer bonding experience with your kids. Get them involved all the way from planning to sourcing the materials and building the structure itself. Of course, make sure to pay special attention to safety during the process. The end result will provide the kids with their own space they will appreciate for a long time.

5. Hammock

One of the simplest ideas on the list, a hammock can be bought online or in many local stores as well. All you need is a couple of trees or a patio to secure it on, this is one of those items you might find yourself using just as much as the kids. Perfect to have a nap on the fresh air – or to supervise the children while they are playing on one of the other items on the list!

6. Backyard Beach

If you aren’t living near a real beach, this backyard play area can provide the next best thing for your kids. From jumping around to building sandcastles and countless other shapes, a sand box can keep children occupied for hours at a time. Combine if with a mini pool or a water slide and you get a surefire winner.

7. Zip Line

This project is a little more advanced and we recommend it for bigger kids who already have some strength to hold on. It will be the most popular with boys who have friends they can play along with and lots of energy to burn.

8. Water Wall

A water wall is another perfect DIY family project that provides fun all the way from the planning and building to the operation of the numerous bottles, pots and containers involved. Apart from the time spent outside it will also teach kids physics in a fun way and can be reconstructed for basically free countless times.

9. Climbing Wall

A climbing wall is a fun way to tire children with boundless energy. It requires a little more supervision so we would only recommend it if you have the time to play with the kids often. Safety is paramount here so make sure adequate padding is provided on the ground.

10. Water Slide

Few things make really hot summer days better than playing with water. A water slide can be bought inexpensively and set up in just a few minutes. Get some soap ready, turn on the water and get ready to capture some seriously fun pictures with wide grins on the kids’ faces.

11. Hanging Chairs

Both kids and adults will appreciate hanging chairs. The perfect place to get some rest after an intense play session for the kids or to read and relax on the fresh air for the parents. Make sure to hang more than one, otherwise you will risk fierce competition for the best places in the backyard!

12. Skateboard Swing

Do you have an old skateboard lying around the house? You can repurpose it for a skateboard swing and get more fun out of it even after it’s been discarded. Just add a rope and handles to it and your cool factor has just increased significantly in the eyes of both your kids and their friends.

Susan Lee
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