Our kids love taking advantage of all that summer has to offer: long days, lots of sunlight, and weeks of freedom to play and explore. But it can be a challenge finding enough activities to keep them occupied—especially when you can’t take them on a beach holiday every day or send them to camp every week.
Luckily, your own backyard has everything you need to entertain your kids—and get them involved in making their own fun.
So when the kids get antsy for something to do, stay calm. We’ve rounded up some DIY tips and projects for transforming your backyard into a playground wonderland (with a little help from the little ones)!
Get a jumbo blackboard from a local department store, or cover a sheet of plywood with chalkboard paint. Then buy some big pieces of colourful sidewalk chalk and set them up in a bucket next to it. Challenge your kids to draw a new piece of art every day, and take pictures of their creations. You may even want to set up an Instagram account or digital photo album to showcase them all.
Collect some round stones from the backyard and have the kids paint and decorate them. Number each of stones and hide them around the backyard. Time the kids while they try to find them all, and challenge them to find better hiding places to make the hunt trickier next time. Keep track of your fastest and longest times on your artist station blackboard.
Put the title of Ultimate Bounce Champion on the line. Hold a family contest to see who can bounce the highest, the longest, or the most times in five minutes, on your Springfree Trampoline. Keep track of the reigning champs on your artist’s station chalkboard for added competition, or just focus on everyone having a good time and don’t keep score at all—the summer is all about having fun together!
You can use paint or sidewalk chalk to colour alternating stones on the back patio in an 8 x 8 area, or lay down a checkerboard of 32 stone tiles in the backyard to create an alternating pattern of stone and grass. That will give you a giant board to play games like chess or checkers on. Some department stores or outdoor stores sell jumbo game pieces for backyard sets, or you can design your own by painting stones.
Clear out all deadwood and debris in a space away away from the house and any thick foliage. Have the kids help you dig a one-foot pit and line it with a circle of stones. Then gather kindling and firewood, or purchase firewood from a nearby outdoor store. When the sun starts to go down, start up a fire for roasting marshmallows or hotdogs. Just remember to practice campfire safety, check local fire regulations, and always keep a bucket of sand or water on hand to douse the flames.
Did you know you can create your own backyard party games out of wooden 2x4s? You’ll need about 42 feet of wood (or a little more than that to account for measurement mistakes) to make your own woodblock tower game. Cut your wood into down into 10.5” lengths. Invite your kids to paint and decorate the blocks, which will make them all the more fun to pile up (and knock down)! You can also set aside 28 of the blocks to paint as jumbo dominoes for epic games that will take over the whole back lawn. Just remember to store your game pieces somewhere dry so they don’t warp and lose their stackability!
Bouncing is extra fun when you’ve taken the time to make your Springfree Trampoline look beautiful. You could use themed decorations to celebrate the summer Olympics, or to transform your bouncing area into outer space or a jungle hideaway. Paper streamers, pool noodles, and silly string make for excellent decorations that don’t pose a safety hazard for bouncers.
Purchase a sheet of plywood from the hardware store, and saw out one small hole, one medium-sized hole, and one large hole. (Or ask the hardware store to saw these for you!) Have your kids paint the board and label the holes worth 100, 50 and 25 points. Set up the board at one end of the yard leaned against a block of wood and try to throw beanbags into the openings from a distance.
Collect some of your children’s outdoor plastic toys and try freezing them inside a bucket or an ice block. When the kids are getting hot or bored, bring out the ice block and challenge them to excavate the toys together like they’re Arctic explorers. This will help them cool down and discover new imaginative play with old toys!
Collect old tires and set up an obstacle course in the backyard. You can also tie strings between trees to create a “laser grid” they have to duck and weave their way through. Challenge your kids to design tunnels and mazes out of cardboard boxes to extend the course. For an added challenge, include your Springfree Trampoline in your obstacle course, requiring ever competitor to complete fifteen bounces before they can move on.
Combine all your backyard fun into a day of activities for the community. Invite your neighbours over to enjoy all the games you’ve designed together. Consider hosting a barbeque, or collecting entry donations to your backyard wonderland for a local charity. Just remember to have bouncers go one at a time on the trampoline—everybody’s going to want a turn!