You can create an amazing Backyard Fun Zone that your kids and all the neighborhood kids will love and never want to leave this summer. You will become the super summer mom and create amazing memories inexpensively right in your own backyard!
Some of my children’s favorite summer memories are not of expensive vacations or day trips. It’s the days they played with the hose and created mud pits in the back yard using only items they found from the neighboring woods.
How to create a backyard fun zone this summer.
Add a fire pit
Buy or build a fire pit if you don’t already have one. This addition is going to be loved by adults and kids alike. Picture it going in the evening, kids running around the yard with glow sticks, adults laughing and talking, and s’mores ready to be toasted – you want one now, right?
Once two of my younger children spent the entire day building a fire pit from leftover pavers we had around our yard. They were so proud of their accomplishment. We enjoyed marshmallows that evening and many future evenings well into the fall.
To me, a fire is the ultimate centerpiece for backyard entertaining whether you have a crowd or just the family.
Create an obstacle course
Use what you have on hand or pick up a few dollar store items to create a simple or complex backyard obstacle course. Use boards as a balance beam, tires, jump ropes, hula hoops, tables, chairs, and anything else you can find to encourage jumping, running, climbing, crawling, and other maneuvers.
And remember to change it up often. My kids set up a huge obstacle course in our last house. They would spend hours timing each other to see who could get through the course the fastest.
Fill it up with fun toys
When summer hits, I head to the Dollar Tree or somewhere similar to stock up on cheap fun! Grab items like bubbles, water guns, hula hoops, water balloons, gliders, kites, sidewalk chalk (not just for concrete – it works great on wood fences too!), pool noodles, balls, etc.
We toss ours in a big bucket with holes in the bottom to drain summer rain, or you can store the bucket in a shed.
Just add water
Hot summer days call for water fun in your backyard fun zone! Even if you don’t have a pool, you can add many water activities to your backyard.
- Kiddie pool
- Water balloons
- Slip n’ Slide
- Water guns
- Buckets of water & sponge balls
- Backyard hose
For extra fun this summer try making a dunk bucket.
Make a fairy garden
By fairy garden I don’t mean a little pot tucked away in a corner somewhere that never gets touched. Take a container and fill it with foam. Add soil to the top, and let it become an ever changing, fun spot for the kids.
You can make many homemade items for it or pick up small fairies and accessories at craft stores.
Create an outdoor reading nook
You can toss a quilt on the hammock and add a throw pillow or two, make a pallet in their playhouse, or add a teepee with giant pillows. Then, keep a basket of books ready to take outdoors when they need a rest. This way they still get the benefits of fresh air and sunshine even when resting and hiding from the heat of the day. Mom can enjoy an outdoor reading nook as well!
Check out our resources to encourage your child to read this summer.
Catch some bugs
Most summers my backyard was filled with lizard homes, tadpole bowls, ant farms and more.
You can purchase an inexpensive bug cage or let your kids destroy your tupperware making their own.
Make a mud restaurant
Add water to a some dirt and create a mud play area. Let the kids use some of your not-so-nice dishes and make some delicious mud pies. They can even serve them up to their siblings or neighbors.
Let them create
I did a lot of things wrong when my kids were little, however one thing I did right was give my kids lots of space to just be kids. Many of the ideas listed above are things they thought of and created on their own.
Some of my kids’ best days were days I sent them out said and told them to stay outside until lunchtime or dinner. They created all sorts of backyard fun zones for themselves and didn’t need any fancy toys or games to keep busy.
Join the fun
Get out there yourself! A sure fire way to get the kids laughing, playing, and having a ball in your backyard fun zone is to get out there yourself and play right along with them. Kick a soccer ball, throw a water balloon or two, turn over rocks to look for bugs, fly a kite, etc. They will never forget those memories.