Have you been stuck in lockdown with kids recently and are now determined to create the best kids’ backyard play area? Or are you planning a backyard renovation and are considering a dedicated play area? There are so many wonderful options to spark kids’ imaginations and get them outside and off screens. Whatever your budget or timeframe, we’ve put together a list of great options for both little kids and primary school-age kids.
DIY outdoor play areas
Whether you’re looking to transform a small corner of the yard as a dedicated space just for the kids to enjoy or are happy to transform your entire backyard, the following are a few DIY options if you’re feeling up to the challenge.
If you have smaller children, an outdoor chalkboard is a fantastic way for the kids to be creative without getting chalk everywhere inside. Remember to think about the kids’ height and hang the chalkboard where they can comfortably use it. You can also add a bright coloured frame and shelf along the bottom to hold the chalk. Chalkboard colours don’t have to be black or green these days; Porters Paints have several great colour options, so get creative! Alternatively, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making a chalkboard, you can simply paint a ModularWalls panel in your boundary wall or fence, and you will have a fabulous chalkboard the kids will love. Don’t forget to accessorise – add a kids’ table and chair set, some colourful hanging plants, an outdoor mat and cushions, and you’re all set.
Always a hit, you can’t go wrong with a sandpit. However, a cover is equally important to ensure it doesn’t become a giant kitty litter tray for local cats. Eek! A portable sandpit with a trapdoor or sliding cover gives you the freedom to move the sandpit when not in use or simply shut the lid and make use of the space for other activities. If you have any old drawers, they make great mini sandpits or combine them to make a large one. Or, for example, build a square pit on castors, and you have a mobile sandpit. Alternatively, if you’re handy enough to build a frame with legs, two large plastic storage containers with lids make the perfect sandpit or water play table! Just don’t forget some shade to protect the kids from the sun and the diggers, buckets and spades.
DIY not for you? Check out this sandpit at Bunnings!
Kids love water play, and this is a relatively easy DIY job. Whether you create a permanent bench for a large tray of water or create a portable water table to move around the yard, this doesn’t need to be expensive. Think large plastic under bed storage containers or an old sink on a homemade frame. Old sinks are great as you can drain out the water making it easy to keep clean.
DIY not for you? Check out these great water tables at Step2
The cubbyhouse has come a long way with some amazing products available such as the Piper Cubby House from Hipkids. The possibilities for imaginative play are endless with a great cubby house, from cafes to pirate forts, fire brigade headquarters, the list goes on. Plus, you could add a deck, awning, slide, climbing wall or rope ladder to take the cubbyhouse to the next level! If you have any budding performers at your place, why not add a stage for the kids to put on a show. Don’t forget the accessories like colourful plants, kids’ chairs or beanbags, cushions, rug, welcome mat, letterbox and solar fairy lights.
Other options for younger children include:
- An art and craft table with butcher’s paper, texters, crayons and stickers
- A racetrack on the sandpit lid using road tape, or dig out a section in the corner of your yard and use pavers and paint to create the track. Give the kids a connection to the task by making the stop signs and traffic lights from cardboard and paper-towel rolls.
- Lastly, a swing and slide combination won’t take up too much space in your backyard (unless you want it to) and is always a winner with the kids.
It’s time to bring in the professionals
If you have primary school-age kids and want to create the ultimate kids’ backyard, it’s probably best to bring in the professionals. At this point, you need to decide what to include in your design and set your budget. Although, if you’re short on space, then perhaps a multi-purpose area is the solution.
Every childhood should experience the fun a trampoline can bring. If designing your kids’ backyard play area, why not include a sunken trampoline? By having a built-in trampoline, you have the freedom to cover it when not in use and make the most of your backyard space. A great solution if you are hosting a large garden party. The covered trampoline could quickly become the dance floor!
An example of a multi-purpose area could include a putting green or bocce court with a climbing wall. If looking to incorporate a climbing wall into your existing fence, a ModularWalls custom solution could be the answer. ModularWalls can customise the climbing panels to ensure the t-nuts and holds are secure.
Alternatively, if you have space and want to wow the kids, then an obstacle course and flying fox could be on the cards. As an example, Vulyplay has a range of monkey bar options, including flying fox and climbing ladders. But why stop there? For instance, add in a few grassy mounds using a lawn alternative like Zoysia tenuifolia, add in a rope course and a few tunnels to up the intensity and put the kids to the test. However, if obstacle courses aren’t for you, then perhaps an inbuilt skate ramp is the answer. It might earn you bonus points with the kids!
However, if you’re looking for something a little less daring, then perhaps a giant game of snakes and ladders, Connect 4, or rock, paper, scissors from Yard Games is more to your liking?
Overall, whichever type of kids’ backyard play area you choose to create, undoubtedly with a little planning and creativity, you’ll make something the kids will enjoy.