12 Incredible DIY Backyard Playground Ideas Your Kids Will Love

children playing in dirt

Having a playground in your backyard is the dream for any child. They can stay there all day long without having to worry about going home too soon since they’re already at home. Of course, you can choose one of the best outdoor playsets you can find on the market, but it’s a good idea to go for some DIY projects as well. If you’re a fan of the latter suggestion, you’re going to enjoy the DIY backyard playground ideas we’re presenting you in this article.

DIY Backyard Playground Ideas to Serve as Inspiration

1. Mud Pit

A mud pit in your backyard is an excellent idea for the kids to get dirty when you want them to be close to home. However, we understand if you don’t want to ruin your lawn by setting up such a playground. As such, it’s great to use an old tub, a wheelbarrow or any metallic container you have. If you have such an item and you don’t need it anymore, convert it into a mud pit for the children. Make the mud by following this recipe:

Mix it all together and let the children play!

Close up of a yellow toy bucket and shovel filled with sand next to a sandbox
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2. Chalkboard Walls

Many parents already know the struggle of a child who feels creative and draws on the walls inside the house. In this case, it’s a good idea to install some chalkboard walls in your garden. It’s simple to install it, just attach it to one of your fences. The best thing is that you can choose it as big as your kids want it since you have plenty of space on the fence. Extra tip: set aside a small bucket for your DIY backyard playground for your kids to store their chalk, sponge, etc.

3. Play Stumps and Logs

If you happened to cut down a tree recently (or you know someone who did), it’s a great idea to use some stumps and logs for your DIY backyard playground project. Luckily, these can be used in plenty of ways, depending on your children’s preferences. You can set up a jumping and climbing area for them to exercise, for instance. Alternatively, they can use them as surfaces to cook, write, draw, etc.

However, here it’s important to make sure they are safely anchored in the ground. Dig a little into the soil and toss some sand before placing the logs. It’s a good idea to jump on them yourself and see if they support your weight and don’t move.

Log mound next to a tree in the backyard for kids to play with
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4. Pool Noodle Abacus

If you have toddlers who barely learn to count or even older children who love to play with pool noodles, it’s a great idea to have a pool noodle abacus. You just need to tie some rope from different poles in your backyard. Cut the pool noodles into pieces of various sizes and then cut them lengthwise. Thus, you’ll be able to set them on the ropes and let kids play with them. The best part is that they will also be able to take them out and play with them separately, so it’s a good challenge for their creativity.

5. Zipline

One of the most successful DIY backyard playground ideas is to learn how to build a zipline in your backyard. It’s an inexpensive idea, but you must make sure that everything is safe for the children. It’s great because you can also turn it into an adult zipline if you want, so as not to exclude adults from your DIY backyard playground. All your children’s friends will envy their home activities for sure if you choose this awesome idea!

Man using a zipline tied to a playhouse in a backyard, with another woman in the background and trees behind them
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6. White Board

If you have a whiteboard lying around, it’s a pity to throw it away. Instead, take it out to the backyard and let your children test their creativity on it. Even if the board is too marked up, kids can draw with mud or paint on it, for example.

7. Backyard Tent

Let’s be honest, how many of us didn’t love to hide under the table and build a tent of our own there? You can get some inspiration from here and build a tent in the backyard. The principle behind it is simple: you need to put together three poles and wrap them in a sheet. Anchor the sheet to the ground as well, and make sure the entire construction is safe. Add big pillows and blankets inside and you’re set. Extra tip: build this up around a fire pit for a magical experience.

Several colorful children teepees in a backyard with green lawn
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8. A Bucket Pulley

It might sound boring, but kids will be fascinated if you set up a bucket pulley in the yard. Most likely, your DIY backyard playground includes at least one tree, which is enough for this idea. Get a bucket and tie a rope to its handle. Take the other end of the rope and toss it over one of the branches of the tree. Make sure you secure the loose end to something found at ground level, such as the base of the tree or a clothesline pole. Then, simply let your children play with it. Most of the times, they will fill it up with toys, rocks, wood, or anything they can find, and then try to lift it up in the air. Not only this is a fun pastime, but it’s also a good physical exercise for them.

9. Hanging Chairs

This is one of the most difficult DIY backyard playground ideas, but it’s suitable for the entire family. Ideally, you should get some round chairs, which you can find in any special furniture store. Most of them already have a hanging system that comes with them, so you must figure out where to put it. Whatever you choose, make sure everything is secure to avoid any other accidents. Adults can sit here while they’re supervising the children at the playground, or you can invite your guests to enjoy some fresh air in the garden.

10. Water Wall

Kids will absolutely love your DIY backyard playground if you add this play area since it’s fun and easy to understand. You just need to get two boards and it’s even better if you recycle something you already have, like a bench, a chair, a table, etc. Next, use bottles, hoses, small buckets cut at the bottom and attach them to the boards. Test out the entire system: pour some water at the top and make sure it flows through your bottles, hoses, and so on until it reaches the bottom.

If the system is not working at first, change the arrangement. It’s recommended to place another tray or bucket at the end. This helps with saving some water and not making a mess of your lawn with all the potential mud. As it seems, people who tested this project said that their children were fascinated about the entire process. Moreover, it’s a good opportunity to teach them about gravity and other scientific aspects. Extra tip: You can replace water with sand if it’s too cold outside or you simply want to save the water.

Blonde girl in a white and blue dress swinging on a tire swing against a yellow grass background
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11. Tire Swing

This isn’t a new idea, but it surely is a fun one. You will need to have a strong tree to hang the swing from or at least a secure pole. Add some solid rope or a metal chain. Ideally, you should reuse an old tire that isn’t suitable for the car anymore. A good alternative, if you don’t have any tires around, is to go to an auto shop and ask them for one. Most likely, they will give you one they don’t use anymore for free.

12. Tree House

Of course, we couldn’t finish our DIY backyard playground ideas list without mentioning the most successful project ever: a treehouse. It’s slightly more difficult to do, but there’s a reason why it is so popular. Basically, you need plenty of 2×6” pieces, 6-8” screws or nails and a hand saw. First, choose a solid tree in your yard. It doesn’t have to be too thick, and its branches should start rather higher up. Then, attach two big pieces horizontally. Use plenty of screws or nails to make sure it is solid enough.

Next, add the cross boards and screw them in as well. Leave one side of the tree free since that’s the spot where you will put the entrance. Add some thick branches to the tree trunk to serve as steps. You might want to secure them extra well since they’ll be supporting everybody’s weight. This is the simplest idea for a tree house, without even adding a roof. But of course, feel free to customize it and add everything you need: from pillows and blankets to toys, books, a roof, windows, etc.

Children treehouse built on a strong old tree, with a white house in the background
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Making your DIY backyard playground may sound a little complicated. However, if you put your imagination to work, you can come up with some interesting ideas, like the ones we presented you. From a tire swing to water or sand walls, everything is easy to do and it doesn’t require too much time. The best part is that you can use any scrap materials you have available and save some money as well. Not to mention that the children would be delighted to help you out with some of the projects.

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