12 Backyard Ideas for Kids: A Kid-Friendly Landscaping Guide

Backyard Ideas for Kids

To keep your kids happy, active, and playing safely in your backyard this summer, look into these backyard ideas for kids. 

Many are DIY or based on pre-fabricated kits available at home stores.

Some of these projects are temporary or at least moveable; others require a permanent installation, but in most cases, one that can help increase your property value.

1. Add a Play Structure

1. Add a Play Structure

The first of our backyard ideas for kids is adding a play structure to your backyard.

This does more than merely keep your children occupied and having fun.

It can serve as the beginning of a healthy lifelong habit of getting regular physical exercise outdoors.

Your backyard play structure can be as simple or complex as you want to make it, from swings and slides to multiple action stations.

To get as much out of your investment as possible, choose a style that can grow with your kids.

2. Build a Treehouse or Playhouse

2. Build a Treehouse or Playhouse 

Children need their own space to think and dream, read and play games, and be on their own while feeling safe and secure.

What better spot than a backyard treehouse or playhouse?

Fortunately, parents have plenty of options here. 

For treehouses, consider hiring a professional if you are not handy and experienced in building, as you’ll want to make sure it’s structurally sound. 

For playhouses, hire a professional or take advantage of the many pre-fab playhouse kits on the market.

Available at many home stores and online, these kits come in all kinds of styles, materials, and skill levels needed for putting them together.

3. Repurpose Household Items

3. Repurpose Household Items 

Instead of discarding old household goods, convert them into furnishings for your backyard play spaces. 

Worn pots and pans are perfect for outdoor kitchens.

Plastic cups and jars are as popular as shovels and pails in a sandbox.

Clothing, shoes, and jewelry you no longer wear can stock a playhouse dress-up corner or play theater on the covered patio. 

4. Install a Kid-Friendly Ground Cover

4. Install a Kid-Friendly Ground Cover

One thing you want to be sure of when constructing backyard play spaces is that all areas are safe to play on.

That means no unseen holes to twist ankles, sharp rocks, roots to trip over, or chemicals to inhale or get on the skin.

It also means avoiding grass stains on clothing and keeping mud where you want it, not tracked into the house.

When it comes to kid-friendly ground covers, nothing tops artificial grass.

Artificial grass can be used in play areas and under play structures while providing a beautiful, grassy lawn for adults and pets to enjoy. 

Artificial grass offers a low-maintenance play surface and is easy to keep clean with a garden hose.

Synthetic turf needs no mowing, weeding, aerating, edging, or watering.

It drains well.

There are no chemicals or fertilizers.

No grass stains or mud.

You can add a layer of padding beneath the turf during installation to improve safety by cushioning trips and falls, and it can be installed around outdoor planters and pathway tiles. 

For help deciding on a ground cover, we published a detailed guide on Playground Ground Cover Materials: The Best Options Compared.

5. Add a Sandbox

5. Add a Sandbox

Kids never tire of playing in the sand.

Armed with nothing more complex than a hand shovel and pail or cup and pan, they can spend hours of sheer happiness scooping and pouring.

Even older children and adults can find a sandbox hard to resist entirely.

Sandboxes are a fantastic addition to the backyard.

There are many portable, affordable options on the market.

Include a raised roof or canopy to protect from sun and rain, or simply a lid to keep out water and animals.  

Another fun option is to use an old rowboat or dinghy as the container for your sandbox. 

Consider a wooden sandbox with or without built-in benches for something more permanent.

6. Add a Putting Green or Bocce Ball Court

6. Add a Putting Green or Bocce Ball Court

If you have a flat, level backyard, consider increasing the value of your home by installing a putting green, bocce ball court, or both with the help of artificial turf.

Golf experts agree that having a putting green in your yard is the most effective thing you can do to improve your game.

Artificial grass provides a lifelike feel and appearance, a natural roll for the golf ball, and realistic greens speeds that mimic actual course play.

For a detailed review by one of our clients check out “Taking the Putting Green Plunge.”

Bocce ball has become a popular yard game for adults and children.

It’s sort of a cross between curling, bowling, and shuffleboard. 

Players roll small balls down a long court and try to get further down the court than their opponent.

In the process, they try to knock their opponents’ balls out of play. 

Artificial turf provides the smooth, level ground necessary for successful bocce ball games.

For help deciding on the best turf for your project, you might find the following resources helpful:

7. Add Chalkboard Walls

7. Add Chalkboard Walls

What’s not to love about chalkboards?

They encourage creativity and expression.

Chalk comes in all kinds of colors.

Errors are easy to fix; just erase and redo. And once you’re finished, you get to wash it off and start over again.

As you might imagine, chalkboards can be an excellent addition to a child’s backyard. 

Mounted on the outer wall of an outbuilding, on the fence, or freestanding in a frame, they can provide hours of entertainment. 

You can turn nearly any surface into a chalkboard using specialty chalk from home stores. 

Make sure you choose chalkboard chalk that’s intended for outdoor use.

8. Add a Hopscotch Court

8. Add a Hopscotch Court

Using concrete pavers and a little paint, create a homemade hopscotch court in your backyard!

To add to the fun, buy or stain the stones in different colors for each number.

Install the pavers near ground level to avoid trips and falls. 

Even after your kids have outgrown the game, this makes a colorful yard decoration that can spark fun memories for practically everyone.

9. Build a Climbing Wall

9. Build a Climbing Wall

Kids love to climb!

Creating a climbing wall in your backyard will keep them physically active, build strength and increase coordination skills. 

Attach holds to thick plywood to build a free-standing structure – either vertical or overhanging – or convert one side of a fence or outbuilding into a climbing wall.

Backyard rock-climbing walls at home should be at least 8-10 feet tall or 12-14 feet tall if overhanging.

Make sure to include some type of padding beneath and all around the climbing wall to protect against the inevitable falls.

10. Create a Splash Pad

10. Create a Splash Pad

Splash pads are popular because they are inexpensive and safer than a traditional swimming pool.

They are just as suitable for a small backyard as for a spacious one.

You can go to the expense of building a splash pad with underground plumbing, but you don’t have to.

There are many portable splash pads available online and in home stores.

They come in hundreds of designs, and most range from 5-6” wide.

Portable splash pads operate by being hooked up to the garden hose.

Pro tip: Situate the splash pad on top of artificial turf.

It keeps the splash pad clean by avoiding tracked-in mud and debris and can add a layer of cushioning to the area in case of any falls.

11. Make a Raised-Bed Childrens Garden

11. Make a Raised-Bed Children’s Garden

Kids love growing things and learn many suitable lessons about responsibility, science, and nature from tending a garden.

Even fussy eaters will be more inclined to eat vegetables they have grown.

You can make a simple raised-bed garden in the backyard with 2x12s, gravel for drainage, and topsoil.

Younger children love to harvest easy-to-pick crops like cherry tomatoes and strawberries. 

12. Create a Moveable DIY Tether Ball

12. Create a Moveable DIY Tether Ball

Tetherball is one of those games that is making an awesome comeback as people remember just how fun it is to whack a ball around.

You can find detailed instructions on how to build a DIY tether ball here.

Once you have all the supplies you’ll need, it shouldn’t take more than an hour or two.

You basically fill an old tire with cement and erect a vertical 8-foot or 10-foot metal pole before the cement is set.

Have your kids trace their names or press a hand print into the drying cement to create a family treasure.

Using a tire, you’ll be able to move it more easily to various locations around the yard as needed.

Wrapping Up Our List of 12 Backyard Ideas for Kids

Wrapping Up Our List of 12 Backyard Ideas for Kids 

Whichever backyard ideas for kids you choose, enhance them with green, beautiful, low-maintenance artificial grass.

There are a lot of specifics to understand about artificial grass, and our website is full of content that will help you educate yourself on the many features and options available. 

Learn about: 

We have artificial turf products for every situation, free quotes, and world-class customer support.

Let’s get an expert on your side to help you put together the perfect installation plan. 

We have teams of the best artificial grass installers located throughout Texas and Oklahoma

At Ideal Turf, we truly believe artificial grass is worth the money, and we are happy to help you explore this decision by answering any of your questions before buying turf.

Get your FREE artificial grass design & installation estimate by clicking the “GET A QUOTE” button or feel free to give us a call at 800-204-4650.

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