Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Summer Fun

Why the Backyard is the Best for Summer Fun

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


The backyard is the one classic playground with endless potential for summer fun. Barbecues, water slides, balloon fights, digging in the garden and more await your family, and beyond that, all you need is a little imagination.

Kids may be tired of barbecues and the same old stuff. Give your kids the tools they need to use their imagination to turn the backyard playground potential around.

Welcome to the Station for Summer Fun

Have old shelving lying around? Stick it out on the back deck or in your outdoor building for children to rummage through.

Kids have a place to put their indoor toys. So it makes since that their outdoor toys should have a spot, too. Your shelving will just upgrade their selection with more creativity and types of fun, with labeled buckets for various smaller supplies. Try these suggestions:

  • The coloring bucket: Collect superhero, Disney princess, nature and other coloring books for your kids to color in.
  • Free style art bucket: Along with an empty sketch pad, have each child take turns dressing up and posing as a model for the resident child artist. This bucket can also be filled with miscellaneous crafts for each child to make unique artworks or inventions.
  • The sports bucket: Fill this bucket with tennis rackets, baseball gloves, soccer balls and balls of various sizes. Don’t forget jump ropes and hula hoops.
  • The “just being a kid” bucket: Fill this one with bubbles, side walk chalk and more!

What else can you think of to include in the station for summer fun? How about musical instruments or puzzles? Keep your child’s interests in mind when building the station for summer fun.

DIY Backyard Water Park

Remember when a garden hose was the adult version of the water park? Nowadays, you can make it bigger and better with water balloons, water guns and a slip and slide.

Some store-bought slip and slides are flimsy, but you can create your own with baby shampoo and plastic sheeting. Suspend water balloons from an elevated area, such as monkey bars, on your swing set or underneath the bars of a porch railing, and let the rubber bats swing. Make those old water balloons even more interesting by having a softball game or dodgeball game.

If worried about the environmental impact of water balloons, make water bombs with regular house sponges, which are soft upon impact but pack a wallop when they catch you off guard.

Host a Best Bike Show

Car shows are popular in the summer. Why not host a backyard bike show? Have kids decorate their bikes and shine them up to win Best in Show, Most Creative and other fun awards.

This is a wonderful opportunity for parents to teach their children how to upkeep their bike with proper maintenance, such as lubricating and cleaning the bike chain at least once a month.

Have a cookout where you make veggie burgers, hamburgers and hotdogs. Ice cream stands and healthy drink items, such as homemade fruit punch and water, are good ways to keep the kids cool and nourished during the show.

Build a Backyard Obstacle Course

To create a fun backyard obstacle course for the kids, all you need are a few items from the area dollar store and home improvement store.

Grab a few pool noodles, garden stakes and balls to kick to create an obstacle course that engages all parts of the body. It’s like combining kickball and croquet and is perfect for kids of all ages!

Family Outdoor Game Night

Designate one night out of the week as family outdoor game night, and get together with other families for a competitive night of fun backyard games. From corn hole to a hula hoop competition, combine classic games with new ones for an unforgettable and active summer:

  • Create a course out of sidewalk chalk with challenges such as “the stomp and roar,” as the kids move through each segment.
  • Paint multiple larger sticks for a giant game of pick up sticks.
  • Play crab soccer by getting in a crab walk position and playing regular soccer.
  • Use lawn-friendly spray paint to paint various colors on the grass to play backyard Twister.
  • Host a game of dodgeball with dads and daughters vs moms and sons.

Rent a Playground

Some parents are skilled at building their own backyard playgrounds, but ensure child safety and fun by renting a playground. All children play in unique ways and love to swing on the swing set or play in the water park. Renting a playground brings the playground to you, and a team will come in to set up and break it all down, without you worrying about what gear goes with what thingamabob.

Does your kid prefer the swings or to play in the water? Let your child have fun with friends, and order pizza without having to worry about cleaning up the yard or your kitchen.

While you could go to a park or playground, nothing beats classic fun and games in the backyard. It’s a space filled with childhood memories and the potential for vibrant imaginings.

In the backyard, your child can be a prince or princess or live in a bygone era as a dinosaur. Your child will roar and stomp as they run through obstacle courses and build upon their mental and physical skills. Face it — the backyard wins when it comes to summer fun.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.