Ideas to Create a Backyard Play Area Your Kids Will LOVE

We’ve all been there – especially in the past six months. Too much time indoors makes any kid (and their mamas!) go just a little bit crazy. Since most of us are still trying to maintain a degree of “social distance” in our lives, creating a backyard play area that your kids enjoy can be a game-changer! Even as the weather cools off, sending your kids outside (or going outside with them!) is a great way to restore calm in a household of chaos. Fresh air is magical – especially fall fresh air. It just smells better.

There are lots of ways to create a backyard play area that your children love – even on a budget! The key is to make sure that there is something for everyone outside to let imaginations run wild. To save money, shop thrift stores, garage sales, or even Facebook Marketplace for awesome outdoor toys! Bonus if you or your spouse is handy and able to build things yourself!

Photo Credit: @xomrsmitchell

Backyard play area ideas for a mobile baby

You don’t need much outside except the items they normally play with inside! Add a play mat to create a soft surface and to keep the toys semi-contained, and you’re set! Because your little one is starting to move around, a portable play yard is perfect for outdoors. It keeps them contained, shaded, and off the grass (ideal for the kiddos that HATE grass).

For a little added fun, a small bucket of water can be very entertaining! Plus, when they stick it in their mouth, it is just water.

Photo Credit: @anniemarie_plus_3

Backyard play area ideas for toddlers and preschoolers

Sensory bins, sensory bins, sensory bins! Sand tables, water tables, and bins are all fantastic additions to your backyard paradise! If you don’t want to buy a sandbox or water table, you can also make one with items found around the house or at a local thrift store. Think discarded sinks for a water table, a small bookshelf laid on its back for a sandbox, or even a wheelbarrow to mix up mud in! The backyard is also a great place to do sensory bins that you normally do indoors: colored rice, those little balls that expand in water, or shaving cream.

Photo Credit: @ocomomlife

Backyard play area ideas for preschool and elementary-aged kids

For bigger kids, add any imaginative play items or athletic items you think they might enjoy! We didn’t want to buy a playhouse for our kiddos (they can be pretty expensive), so my husband turned our storage shed into one! He cleaned it out, added some cheap kids’ furniture, and built a little deck leading up to the door. At a thrift store we purchased kitchen items to put in the shed, and it honestly keeps them busy forever. They have their own little house out there – furnished completely by secondhand stores!

We don’t have trees big enough to hold a swing, but he WAS able to fashion a little “zipline” from one medium-sized tree to the storage shed! We also tied a rope between two trees to use as a tightrope. I can’t say that it has actually improved my kids’ coordination, but they do enjoy trying! If you ARE lucky enough to have big trees, there are so many awesome swings on the market now! Platform swings, spider swings, tire swings, and more. They are well worth the investment and can often be found secondhand online. Same with slides.

What do you have in YOUR backyard? I’ve seen families create whole rock-climbing walls and obstacle courses in their backyards! We are not quite that handy, but they look amazing! Whatever you do, take the time for you and your kiddos to get fresh air each day. It’s truly a sanity-saver!

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