Having fun away from home is awesome, but you can only plan so many vacations. Fortunately that doesn’t mean your family can’t get outside and have fun together right in your own backyard. We have some ideas to help you make family time in your backyard more engaging for you and your kids.
1. Build a Fire Pit
Having a fire pit in your backyard is something that will bring people together and keep your family away from the TV. Sing songs around the fire, toast marshmallows, tell stories… If you have teenagers, a fire pit is a great excuse for them to gather at your house, where you can keep an eye on them.
If you have outdoor furniture, use that; if not, you can make seats using stumps or stacked pallets. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make cute, colorful cushions for them, too!
2. Build a Simple Treehouse
Building a treehouse in your backyard can sound like a daunting task, but it can be as simple or complicated as you make it. Here is a very basic tree house tutorial.
If you’re looking to make something a little more house-like, here’s a great how-to article. For more complete plans for your backyard treehouse, you can buy a detailed guide to a specific design on this site.
3. Build a Fort
Maybe the treehouse isn’t the right fit for your family or your backyard. Well, you can still make an awesome space to hang out in with your kids! This is a great place to play board games together, or have snacks. Why not eat dinner in the fort? You have a few options for types of forts to make:
The old fashioned way. Get out all the furniture and blankets you can and see what you can construct. The downside to this one is that you have a lot of cleanup to do before things will be back in order.
Design a PVC-framed shelter. Here’s a good DIY tutorial for a PVC fort kit.
Use a hang line. If you have the trees for this, it can make construction much easier. Tie rope between trees and drape fabric over it.
4. Make and Play Outdoor Games
There are many great outdoor games out there that you can make. Crafting the games is a fun activity for everyone, and then you can play them together for years to come. Here are some ideas:
This video will show you how to make your own giant Jenga set and ring toss game.
Make an outdoor tic-tac-toe set.
5. Eat in the Backyard
Having a family picnic in your own backyard is a novel and fun way to engage with your kids.
6. Have a Backyard Movie Night
Family movie nights can be a special and memorable time, but you can make them even more special, by having them under the stars in your own backyard. You will need a projector, but a basic one can be purchased inexpensively. Once you have the projector squared away, you just need a surface to project on. Here are some options for screens:
If you have a large, smooth, vertical white surface already, you don’t need a screen at all.
Build a PVC-framed screen.
Create a suspended screen.
Just buy an outdoor movie screen that all fits in a convenient bag, so you can take it anywhere.
For seating, bring pillows, blankets, and sleeping bags outside for a nice big family cuddle puddle. Camp chairs or patio furniture also work fine.
7. Sleep in the Backyard
You could go camping, but you can also have almost as much fun right in your own backyard! Grab a bunch of bedding, a tarp if necessary, and sleep under the stars, in a tent, or in the fort you made earlier. Make sure your sprinkler system won’t come on during the night!
8. Make a Fun Planter and Fill with Plants
Give your child their own little garden that they can keep an eye on, and plant it in a fun little garden box that they can call their own! You can use a wagon wheel, an old drawer, a garden box that they can decorate, just about anything can become a fun planter for your child’s mini garden!
9. Outdoor Chalkboard
Use up any leftover paint you have to make a backyard chalkboard where your kids can proudly display their doodles or you can have a family game of Pictionary.
10. Get Creative with DIY Playground Equipment
With kids, it doesn’t take much to make a backyard a much more compelling space for imaginative games and fun. All it takes is a few stumps and a pallet and they could be playing lava monster for hours! There are many simple options for spicing up your backyard. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Tire see-saw. The tutorials on this are numerous, so you can search for the one that is the best fit for the space you have and the sizes of your kids. You can use bigger tires and longer planks for a wilder ride, or smaller tires and shorter planks for youngsters to bounce around on. Here’s a nice tutorial to get you started.
Balance beam. Help your kids have fun and improve their balance by building a balance beam!
Rope swing. Rope swings are even more fun than regular swings. Learn how to build one here.
Stump path. As I mentioned above, you can line up some stumps for your kids to jump from stump to stump. You can also paint them bright colors for a fun look.
Sandbox. All you really need to make a sand box is sand and some beach toys. You can build a box to put the sand in; you can dig a hole and fill it with sand, or you can repurpose an old kiddie pool—or even upcycle an old row boat!
We hope you have tons of fun as a family enjoying your backyard this summer and fall! Let us know how it goes in the comments below.
As you look toward the school year, if you’re considering alternative options for educating your children, we hope you’ll take a look at Enlightium Academy. We are an accredited Pre-K–12 online Christian school that allows students to work at their own pace through an individualized curriculum on a flexible schedule with one-on-one teacher support.