Wondering how to lessen your kids’ screen time this summer and get them outside enjoying the sunshine and warm weather? Spending time outdoors is an essential element of your child’s growth. An extension to their learning space can be found right outside your door.
With so many creative ways for your kids to play right in your own backyard, you won’t have to leave the house just to get your little ones outside and having fun. Now, creating the ultimate backyard play area doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars buying expensive playground equipment or materials. You’ll be surprised how something really simple can create tons of hours of fun and excitement for your kids.
16 Unique Ways to Create Outdoor Play Areas for Kids that They’ll Love
Creative play outdoors also allows your child to discover a wide range of activities that utilizes their imaginations. Having a backyard play area provides a safe, stimulating environment that they can use at their convenience. Did you know that there are tons of benefits that come from playing outside? The most obvious benefit is allowing your child to get moving and exercising.
Not only is exercise good for their bodies, but it also makes them more focused, reduces stress and fights fatigue. There also really isn’t any structure during outside play like most types of indoor play, so allowing your child to choose how they play in nature means they have the power to control their own actions building their self-confidence along the way. Along with building self-confidence, playing outdoors also teaches children responsibility by caring for the environment around them.
While screen time is the easy escape, it’s so important to set aside time for outdoor play. To make your backyard a great play space for entertainment, check out these wonderful outdoor play areas that can transform your backyard into the ultimate paradise for play.
1. Backyard Construction Zone for Dramatic Play
Finding ways to keep your kids entertained can be challenging. Creating a super fun sensory pit is a great way to let your little ones engage in free play all while containing the mess. What I love most about a sensory pit is that you can always change it up. Instead of rocks you can use sand, water, beans, rice or any other miscellaneous items you may have on hand.
2. Weatherproof Sandbox with Built-In Seats and Lid
This outdoor play addition brings the best of both worlds. A fun little area full of sand with the benefit of withstanding any weather that comes your way. The last thing you want is to spend time crafting an awesome play design only to have the wind or rain destroy it. This sandbox features a strong lid that’s sturdy enough to transform into bench-style seating when opened.
3. Outdoor Play Space that Sparks Curiosity and Adventure
Having an outdoor play house truly brings so much versatility to your backyard. Not only are they quite simple to construct, they also allow your little one to get a bit creative as to how to use their new quaint space. A few ideas to spark curiosity and bring adventure include using their new playhouse as a lounge area, a cozy reading nook, a store-front setting with play kitchen, arts and crafts area or any other activities that brings your child joy.
4. Intimate Up-cycled Sand Box with Removable Lid
You wouldn’t believe all of the things you can create out of unused furniture laying around the house or in the garage collecting dust. This up-cycled sand box was created from an old dresser! The transformation is incredible and provides such a cozy, intimate setting for your child to play in the sand for as long as their little heart desire.
5. A Construction-Themed Rock Box Sensory Bin
What child doesn’t love things that go? This construction themed sensory bin full of rocks and sand is the perfect opportunity for your child to dig and zoom their way to free play. Sensory bins are an easy and inexpensive way to incorporate sensory play which allows your child to discover, imagine, create and explore on their own all while engaging their senses. This will be such a big hit in the backyard!
6. Multi-Purpose Half Deck, Half Sand Box Play Area
The versatility of sandboxes these days is really quite impressive. This beautiful sandbox features a hinged cover that when both opened and closed serves as a deck. When opened, this sandbox provides the best of both worlds with an area for seating and an area for playing in the sand.
7. The Ultimate Outdoor Getaway for Kids of All Ages
If you have the yard space, this ultimate outdoor play space is the perfect area for entertaining kids of all ages. Laying down artificial turf is the perfect choice to separate the kids’ play area with the rest of the yard, not to mention less lawn care to keep up with. Fill this area with your child’s existing toys like their water table, sandbox, play house or even create a little sports zone with miniature golf or a soccer goal.
8. A New Take on an Outdoor Tree House
Would you love to build the ultimate tree house for your kids, but lack a tree in your backyard deck? That’s not a problem with this outdoor play platform. This simple fort provides a space for kids to play underneath and above. You can have a variety of ways to play with this structure like including a ladder, rope, slide and more.
9. Versatile Outdoor Table and Hammock Retreat
Why not combine two ways to play in one with an outdoor table and hammock retreat! Utilize the table space for eating and crafting and attach a hammock to the bottom for a comfy, cozy nook to read, nap or just enjoy all of the sights and sounds of the great outdoors.
10. The Good Old Traditional Tire Swing
When thinking back to all of those childhood memories, most adults will be quick to tell you about their summers spent on a tire swing. This is such a fun, traditional and inexpensive way to bring some fun to your backyard. This design is built for hours of fun while taking up little space with just a sturdy tree branch.
11. Outdoor Play Station for Endless Fun
This is a great way to up-cycle and re-purpose things you can easily find while thrifting or scavenging during a weekend garage sale trip. This beautiful and rather creative play station features a sink that can be used for both sand and water play along with plenty of storage space underneath to keep everything neat and tidy.
12. Bring the Park to Your Backyard
If you have a large yard, why not bring all of the inspirations and ideas that are at the park home to your own backyard. This large play area is perfect for your child to explore and play independently for hours on end. Featuring a swing set, slide, climbing tires and sand box your little one will be begging for more time to play outside.
13. Budget-Friendly Patio Play Space
If yard space is limited, why not utilize your patio for a play area your kids will love! Place a water table and sand box in the corner and then make the most of your space by using the backside for additional play items like a chalkboard, captain’s wheel, gravel pit and balance beam.
14. Simple Tire and Slide Climbing Set
Tires are such an easy item to use when creating any outdoor play area. They are easy to find (most often free), hold up well outside and serve many purposes. Use them for jumping over, as an obstacle course, for climbing or as a ladder like for this outdoor play set.
15. Nature Escape with a Hill Slide
Take the idea of playing with dirt to the next level with a dirt mound hill slide in your backyard. You can often find salvageable slides for free or a reasonable price, so by adding a few steps your little ones will have their own dirt hill to slide down. With a little landscaping, you can turn an eye-sore mound of dirt into a beautiful oasis in no time!
16. Learning and Exploring Through Play with a Mud Kitchen
You may be wondering what is a mud kitchen? It’s basically an outdoor space equipped with bowls, utensils, a sink, water and you guessed it… mud. This play area will allow your child the freedom to make and create using natural elements all while developing new skills such as mixing, pouring, sorting, scooping, splashing and more!