Top 6 Backyard Play "Areas"
I’m very intentional on the materials that I include in my outdoor space.
Instead of getting the typical big playground/swing set.
I decided to include all the elements I valued most.
If all you can fit or want is a swing-set that’s great too!
One reason I decided against the swing set is because I don’t want to spend 10 years doing under-doggies. I’m sorry #notthatmom.
Second, there’s “rules“ typically that come with the swingsets…(don’t climb up the slide, one at a time on the ladder, one at a time on the swing, don’t walk in front of the swing, there’s not room for you right here, etc.)
I wanted play materials that allowed them to expand their imagination.
Here are my top 6 outdoor materials/toys.
Sometimes I add dirt, sometimes I add sand. One time I added rice, that was a terrible idea, just FYI. Sometimes it’s just filled with water. The sand/water table is so fun for so many ages. I have never seen these two play together with the same toy for so long, EVER. I stood back and watched. Charlie put the water toys in the sand, then washed the off. Later on the water had turned white… I heard him saying, “here’s some milk, I’m gonna get some milk“ and scooping up the milky water. I loved seeing his imagination run wild with something so simple.
2. Rope Swings, Rings, Ladder Climber
I’ve linked many different types of swings and bands to hang them with here.
I like these because they can have that fun swinging sensation, but swing THEMSELVES. They can do gross motor and practice balancing up the ladder or the rope swing. Paired with other equipment moved nearby it can become an obstacle course. You can use all 3 of these swinging pieces inside too.
If you are the homie putting everything together by yourself in the household (pay for professional set up), this thing came with like 75 poles and 100 nuts/bolts. Then when you lose 3 in the grass… you look like you’re a part of honey I shrunk the kids trying to finish the dang thing.
It’s safe for half the neighborhood to be climbing in and on at the same time. Plus it’s open-ended enough to be a castle, a hide out, a mountain, a fort, an igloo, a dog-house, a performing arts cave… it’s amazing.
This one looks like a mini trampoline with a tent over it. But it’s actually pretty incredible because it grows with the kids. We already have one child in a cast currently, so we will add the bars to extend the fort later on. If you have this, and you keep it tall, you might not even need the dome ever.
We don’t have a ton of cement in the backyard to ride bikes on. And living on a busy road, riding with toddlers in front isn’t super appealing. This roller-coaster gives them the joy of riding, and riding FAST without needing cement. PS, Step 2 kills it with durable indoor/outdoor PLASTIC toys. I like plastic for outside because its easier to clean off.
6. Mud Kitchen
How to make your own mud-kitchen. Grab a kitchen from the classifieds page or the DI. Take advantage of everyone “sparking joy“ in their lives and take old pots, pan, mixing bowls, spoons off their hand. Put it outside on the woodchips, in the sand, in the dirt, in the grass. And ALLOW water, mud, imagination to happen here.