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Tips for Building Your Perfect Backyard Playground

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The kids have been bugging you about it for a long time. Their friends have fun play equipment in their yard, and yours is inadequate or non-existent. They’re old enough to enjoy unsupervised play on their school playground, so it’s time they get their own big kid toys at home.

How you accommodate their desires is a matter of time, space and money, just like most everything else. You don’t have to break your budget providing your children with fun things to do in your backyard — but with all that’s available, you certainly could!

Getting children outdoors to play is not only good for them physically, but it’s also beneficial for their mental health. Children can come up with creative ways to amuse themselves, but as they get older, they may want something more exciting and challenging. Give them a reason to invite their friends over by building them a perfect playground. Try out these six ideas to make your kids’ yard the best of all their friends’.

Add a Playhouse

Give your children their dream space — a fort or playhouse where they can have their own clubs, conduct secret meetings and play their favorite outdoor games. If you have room, try attaching a swing set to the structure. Tack on a chalkboard outside where they can draw goofy pictures and write statements. You could also set up a table where they can enjoy lemonade or arts and crafts.

Build A Swing Set

Swing sets come in a few different materials. They can be quite simple, or require professional installation — it just depends on the type you want. Anyone with limited skills can easily install a simple wood swing set. If you want to make one adults can enjoy, as well, it may require cementing in the bars that hold the swings.

You’ll be tempted to swing on your kids’ set anyway, so get one you can swing on, too. It will be worth the extra expense some day when you come home from work and just want to relax and feel the soothing breeze.

The best wood for a swing set is red cedar. You don’t need to treat the wood with any chemicals or stains, so your swing will be environmentally friendly, as well. You can also get metal pre-constructed sets that just require some assembly and labor.

Buy and Install a Play Structure

Play structures or play systems provide several different activities in one unit. Play structures come with the attachments of your choice, including slides, bridges, swings and forts. You’ll have some choices to make — don’t get overwhelmed. Just pick out the things your children will enjoy. Keep in mind they’ll grow into the things they may not be ready for yet. You want to get your money’s worth.

The first step is to decide how big you want your structure to be. That’s a choice you’ll have to make depending on how big your yard is and how much of it you want to give up. Also, consider your children's abilities. Some kids are more adventurous than others, and some agiler than others. Gauge what size playground you should build by estimating how much of it they’d use.

Next, pick out a base for your structure. A square comes with a picnic table, sand box and a play house. There’s also room to attach a slide or climbing wall. An angular base allows for swings and ropes. It’s more open at the bottom but doesn’t allow for a fort. However, your kids can make one up on their own. These are just two different designs that mostly offer the same activities.

Next, choose which add-ons and combinations you want. You can have a swing set, a regular slide or a spiral slide. If you opted for the angular base, you could add a sky loft so the kids can make a fort out of it. There are several different types of equipment you can add. Choose the accessories which meet your children’s expectations and imaginations.

Build a Tree Fort

If you have a large tree in your yard, you can build your kids a treehouse. You’re only limited by your tree and your carpentry skills. You can buy pre-made tree forts, and you can always pay to have one installed. But don’t feel like you have to get too elaborate — a few boards to sit on with a roof for cover, along with your children’s imagination, can make for an enjoyable fort.

Hang a Tire Swing

If you have that big tree, save one branch for a tire swing. If you’re lucky, you can find a decent tire someone has discarded, or you can put one aside the next time you get new tires — just make sure it’s clean and durable. You can also buy an actual tire swing.

Making your own tire swing is easy and only requires a few parts. Use good, strong thick rope which doesn’t splinter or shred — nylon works well. Be sure to inspect the arc of the swing, so you aren’t sending your children flying over the house, another tree or your neighbor’s fence.

Make a Sandbox

If swings and play structures are too much for you, or if you just want a calm spot for your children to play in your yard, give them a sandbox. You can buy pre-made plastic models, often in bold colors and shaped like sea turtles or fish. You can also build a wooden framed box and either attach a bottom or let the ground be the bottom. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

With no bottom, the sand eventually mixes with the dirt, and you’re more likely to have bugs intrude. A box with a bottom will keep the sand cleaner, but the bottom will eventfully decay in the ground. Also, a flat surface is a must, or the bottom will crack. Use beach sand if you have it, or buy specially formulated play sand from your local hardware or home improvement store.

Outdoor play can be a fun physical activity for your children they can enjoy at home. It's also an excellent way to get outside and socialize with friends and neighbors. Having a fun place to play will make your children want to invite their friends over and form long-lasting friendships. You’ll know where they are, and they’ll develop strength and agility without even trying.

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