You may be eyeing the mother of all playsets for your backyard, but will your kids play in it? To come up with kid-friendly backyard ideas for your crew, think about what your kids like to do.
For example, consider a jungle gym if your kids are scaling the furniture. If they love diggers, build them a sandbox. We’ve put together a list of 23 backyard ideas for kids that we think will inspire you.
Playsets are a great way for children to get physical activity while having fun. For a structure like this, you’ll need to make sure you have space for one. Check out the rating system we’ve developed for our playset reviews.
When it comes to backyard ideas for kids, this one can be a bit pricey, but it’s an investment. With play elements like swings, slides, and forts, your kids should get hard playtime out of it for years.
Sandbox or Sand Table
Sandboxes and tables are versatile, making them one of our favorite kid-friendly backyard ideas. Go all out and build a sandbox with seats, storage compartments, and a cover. You can also DIY a compact sandbox for smaller spaces or purchase a premade one.
If you need something less permanent, think about a sand table. Construct one over a weekend or purchase one. Sand tables are a great idea for smaller children.
Classic overhead climbers, or jungle gyms, come in all shapes and sizes. Your kids will climb and swing on them all day. Developmental experts will tell you that jungle gyms are a safe way to encourage children’s muscle development, balance, and coordination.
Find jungle gyms made of steel, plastic, or wood, usually in grid or dome constructions. Assembly is generally pretty straightforward, but you’ll need an extra set of hands for this one.
The perfect getaway, treehouses are incredible for making memories. On the technical side of things, make sure you are well-versed in building something on this scale. If not, get the help of someone who is.
Treehouses can be fun when they are safe. Construct your treehouse in a healthy tree, no more than ten feet off the ground. Think about ground cover for the off-chance that someone falls out. Other than that, always supervise kids when they’re inside. Or climb in with them and have fun!
Next on our list of backyard ideas for kids, trampolines can be a lot of fun for the family. They can be a hassle to set up, but once you’re done, you’re set for the life of the trampoline.
Choose a trampoline with UV netting around it for safety, and place your trampoline in a soft, grassy part of the yard away from any hard surfaces. We recommend getting a toddler trampoline with a stability rail if you have young children.
Read our article on how to buy a trampoline for more tips!
Get a bounce house for unique backyard fun. It’s easy to set up and to take down. A kit will include things like lawn stakes and patches for holes.
Inflate it when you’re in the backyard or take it to the park. They’re cheaper than playsets with much less commitment. Plus, you can find them in all kinds of fun configurations. Check out our bounce house buying guide for tips on finding the right one.
Install a zipline for an exciting kid-friendly activity if you have sturdy trees. Set up is a breeze and takes less than an hour. You can even construct a zipline without trees. All you need is open space and a kid zipline kit.
These days you can find well-made kits for backyards. Check out our guide for buying a zipline kit. And take the time to teach everyone the appropriate way to use your new outdoor equipment.
Like a zipline, a slackline is one of those fun backyard ideas for kids that is usually anchored to trees. You can still construct a slackline if you don’t have trees or don’t want to use them.
This activity is great for kids, especially those in gymnastics and other highly-physical sports. You can safely customize the height, and it’s easy to take down.
If your kid loves to cook or plays pretend all the time, build them an outdoor kitchen. On our list of backyard ideas for kids, this one can be as big as you want to go. Buy a premade kitchen or fully construct one yourself.
An outdoor kitchen is an excellent addition to your backyard, especially if your little ones love to get dirty. Include mixing bowls and other containers. Add dirt or play sand. Keep everything near the water hose. The kids will have a blast making mud pies. Just rinse everyone off before they go inside!
We love how much gravel pits involve imagination on the list of backyard ideas for kids. Though similar to a sandbox, a gravel pit can be a completely different sensory experience. Toss in some diggers and dump trucks, and you have a miniature construction site.
Gravel pits are great for backyards because they are relatively small. They’re easy to construct, and the rocks won’t damage your yard.
Create a garden in your backyard to make it more inviting for the whole family. Give your kids a garden of their own. They don’t have to be an adult-only zone. It’s an excellent opportunity to teach them about nature and will help them develop a sense of responsibility.
Gardens are perfect for all kinds of backyards. Give them a shelf with herbs in pots or fence off a lot at the back of the yard to grow wildflowers from seeds.
When it comes to fun backyard ideas for kids, think child-sized. Build a wooden picnic table just for your little ones, or buy a premade plastic one. Add an umbrella for shade or fun placemats.
In a backyard, you might find a grill or shed that kids aren’t allowed to touch. This kind of project makes children feel like they belong.
Kiddie Pool or Splash Pad
Kiddie pools and splash pads are great backyard ideas for kids because they don’t require much construction. While a pool has to be maintained, this only takes turning on a hose. Water the yard while you have the hose out. Pack things up for easy storage when you’re done!
Slip ‘n’ Slide
Think about how much fun it was to use a slip ‘n’ slide when you were a kid. They are pretty much made the same way today, but you can find some rather elaborate ones!
Keep in mind that there will be some damage to your grass, but nothing permanent. Don’t use a slip ‘n’ slide in the same spot all the time. Tend to your grass in the days after using it.
Outdoor Chalkboard or Easel
An outdoor chalkboard is a simple build that can fit a variety of spaces. Apply chalkboard paint to wood, and you’re halfway there. Mount your chalkboard to a wooden fence and place a container of chalk nearby.
Buy a wooden or inflatable easel online for messy paint projects. Some are made to mount paint, have clear acrylic for a cool effect, or use plastic surfaces for painting.
Next on our list is a fun twist on hopscotch. You could draw a hopscotch grid on concrete, but why? Create a permanent grid for your kids to explore over and over again.
Paint different colored squares on your back porch for a kid-friendly activity that takes up no space. Place bricks flush with the grass and paint numbers on them for another fun twist.
Create a balance beam from a few pieces of wood. Take a few hours to build it, and you have an activity your kids will keep coming back to.
Balance beams are another great physical activity for growing bodies. If you have toddlers, keep your beam resting on the ground. A few feet can be challenging for older children unless they are in gymnastics. Then you can go up to the standard 4 feet.
Why take the kids to the park when they can go to the backyard? DIY your own see-saw for a fun backyard space that needs something new.
You’d be surprised how customizable this one is. Make a toddler see-saw from a used tire and a piece of wood. Build a full-sized wooden see-saw and paint it or stain it for a project that you’ll be proud of.
Next on our list of fun backyard ideas for kids, don’t be limited by imagination. If your kid loves playing with cars, think about all the things you could use to create a track!
Paint bricks or concrete pavers with yellow or white lines and line them up. Draw a track on your patio with chalk—an instant race track. For a more permanent play space, find a patch of dirt and pour a circle of concrete!
A tire swing is one of those classic kid-friendly backyard ideas that make you nostalgic. It’s a great addition to any backyard with mature hardwood trees. Select a healthy tree with a sturdy branch that’s at least 6 inches in diameter.
Make sure you have about two and a half feet of clearance from the tree when you swing the tire. Decide if you will use nylon rope or chain. Rope is better for a vertical tire swing than a chain.
For kids you can’t keep on the ground, encourage their physical talents outdoors. Create a climbing wall! This project takes a few hours and is fun to look at.
You can find all kinds of quality rock climbing wall kits online. Find a sturdy wall you don’t mind drilling into. Now you have a kid-friendly backyard activity that takes up no space in your yard.
Next on our list is a simple soccer goal. A soccer goal is perfect for a child who needs to burn energy or practice before the big game.
Find a soccer goal appropriate for the age of your child. Smaller goals are easy to store away. You can find larger ones that are collapsible. Add some orange cones for drills, if you want.
Disc Golf Target
Unlike some backyard ideas for kids, disc golf comes with equipment that doesn’t take up any square footage. Purchase a disc golf set premade, or if you have frisbees, create a simple target.
Take a wire tomato cage and place a round basket in the opening. The rim of the basket will secure it in the cage. Now you have a disc golf target that won’t ruin your lawn and can be easily removed.
We hope this list has sparked your imagination to create an amazing backyard for your kids. Do you have other ideas? Let us know and we can potentially add them to our list! If you have a small backyard, also be sure to check out our list of small backyard ideas for kids. Here of some of our other ideas as well: