Deciding what to include in your backyard for kids can be a challenge. Trampolines are a popular choice, providing loads of active fun and entertainment! However, they aren’t the best option for every family.
Whether you have young children, kids with disabilities, a small backyard, or safety concerns, worry not – there are plenty of trampoline alternatives that offer just as much play time! Active outdoor toys are not only fun, but they also help kids improve their proprioception, strength, and balance.
Read on to explore The Backyartisan roundup of great substitutions for backyard trampolines!
Water Toys (Slip n Slide, Mini Pool)
They say that when your kids are having a rough time, “just add water.” And it’s true! A drink, a bath, or playtime can do wonders to turn the day around. Backyard water toys come in all shapes and sizes and can provide endless summer fun for kids. Little splash pads for the tikes, wading pools for toddlers, or slip’n’slides for the older kids give you plenty of options!
A platform swing is a unique take on a classic backyard toy. The large surface area makes this a great choice for kids that have trouble staying on a seated swing by themselves. Especially great for the child that needs a lot of vestibular stimulation, these swings can be used for anything from relaxation to play.
Another swing-like option for an active outdoor toy is the hanging net tunnel! This tunnel would be a great addition to your backyard if you have two sturdy trees. It’s an even better choice for balance-challenged kids, as it doesn’t involve any unstable free-motion that may lead to falling. Yet, children will still be able to feel wobbliness while climbing through the tunnel, which will help in improving balance senses. It also makes a pretty rad hammock, too!
Turn your backyard into a fun house with a giant rocking seesaw! This big wobble disc can fit up to four kids at a time and hold 500lbs. Rock back and forth, wobble around, or lean back and relax for some comfy cloud watching. It’s almost like a trampoline without the frame. That makes it easier to manage and much more portable!
Slacklines are all the rage and aren’t just for collegiate rock climbers – kids love them too! Affordable, packable, and adjustable, slacklines are a versatile, yet stationary yard toy. With an overhead balance strap, kids don’t need any prior experience or gymnastic-level skill to enjoy this activity. Bring it along for your next park outing to watch the kids have fun and be active simultaneously! Can a trampoline fit in your picnic basket? I think not.
Giant Inflatable Bubble Ball
For one child or even a group, a giant ball could be all you need for an afternoon of outdoor play! Easy to deflate and pack up for storage, this ball is always accessible and easy to set up. You can run around the yard with it, and kids can also climb inside and enjoy a kaleidoscope-like dome of fun!
Ninja Warrior Course
If your little ninja needs more variety than a simple slackline, an obstacle course kit could be just your ticket to endless play! Climbing, swinging, spinning, and jumping are all included in this hanging gymnastics yard set. What’s even more fun is how customizable these courses are. Once your little climber masters the obstacle course you’ve set, switch around the attachments to create an entirely new puzzle to solve.
There’s nothing quite like flying through the air, is there? A backyard zip line can give you just that, without the fall risk that a trampoline comes with. You get to manage how high the line is situated above the ground, allowing you to adjust the height for the age and ability of your child. Various holds (also known as trolleys), like a trapeze, stander, or seat, also give you adjustability in this toy. If stopping is a concern for you, you can add a braking system to increase the safety!
Let your kids be the creators with a set of moveable stepping stones or sensory-bin walks! Fill some shallow bins with stones, gravel, dry leaves, or water for kids to tread through. Pretend the ground is lava, make a path from one corner to another, or have some fun stacking time. Backyard stepping stones come in all sorts of styles. The benefit is their great portability and customization. Our favorite part is that kids don’t need any adult help to play. So, sit back and relax and let the kids have fun!
Inflatable Rolling Wheel
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Inflatable yard toys are a unique choice for backyard activities! Kids love them because they feel special…like something you’d enjoy at a carnival! A giant rolling wheel is just that, with loads of fun running, jumping, and rolling. Two kids can fit inside for competitive games or easy-going entertainment. You definitely want to have some free yard space for this one, as the point of the roller is to cover some ground!
Yard Games (Spikeball, Giant Connect Four, Jenga)
Puzzle-lovers will enjoy a giant yard game in their backyard! These activities are great for parties or family fun and make board games an active sport! Your kids will have to stand up, lift, and reach to play along with games like giant connect four, Jenga, Kubb, and ring toss. You can even get a giant set of yard dice for even more play opportunities!
Tree Climber Straps
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If you have a tree in your backyard, but it isn’t ideal for a swing or treehouse, you can use tree climbing straps! These tree-friendly attachments wrap around the trunk and position rock climbing holds for kids to climb on. They are fun, adjustable, and removable. You can set the height limit so kids aren’t climbing too high. Make it more challenging by spacing out the straps!
One of the best choices for children with balance issues or disabilities is the hugglepod swing! Very durable, comfortable, and safe, this swinging pod gives children a soothing place to experience the joy of swinging without the danger of falling. This toy is intended for relaxing and gentle swinging, not rough play. It’s a wonderful spot to enjoy a good book!
DIY Splash Pad
You’ve made it here to Backyartisan, so we know you’re a DIYer! Put your skills to the test and build your own splash pad! Yes, it’s a bit more permanent than a trampoline, but you’re certainly guaranteed to have the coolest house on the block this summer! It’s no secret that kids love splash pads. Why pack up the car and drive 20 minutes to your nearest park when you can have the same fun in your backyard?
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We already know that a great alternative to trampolines is inflatable toys! That’s because they are large-area, active play places that can provide the same kind of active time. An Air Fort is a new take on the trampoline substitution that has a bit more flexibility than your standard jumping mat frame. These fun sets can be used indoors or outside for tons of different activities. Pretend play, reading nook, toy space, picnic spot, or camping; your kids can decide how to play!
As you can see, there are so many alternatives to the backyard trampoline. You can create a fun and unique backyard experience for your kids wt ever feeling like you’re missing out. What your children really want is a safe place to explore and enjoy being active outdoors. With any of the options above, you’ll have all that, and more!