our everyday life

How to Make Your Yard a Playground for Kids

by Sara Ipatenco, studioD

Children love playgrounds simply because they're entertaining, and parents love playgrounds because they allow their children to burn off steam and get a good dose of physical activity. Don't limit yourself to the playgrounds in your neighborhood, however. If you have a large outdoor space at home, transform it into a playground that your child can use whenever he wants.

Install a sandbox. Young children enjoy digging in the sand and making sand castles, and the boxes are readily available at most toy stores and home improvement stores. Situate the sandbox in a shady area and add a variety of shovels, pails and other sand toys.

Build play equipment. Most play structures, such as swings, slides and climbing walls, come unassembled. Purchase one of these structures and add it to your backyard playground. Situate it on a level area and install a soft surface underneath to cushion your child if he happens to fall while he's playing.

Design and build a tree house or other play structure such as play house. If you're unsure about your design abilities, purchase an unassembled play structure from a toy store or home improvement store.

Keep toys for smaller backyards on hand. A small plastic wading pool or a sprinkler are entertaining and can be used in most backyards.

Leave space in your backyard for your child to run and play. Provide sports equipment, such as soccer balls and baseball bats, to encourage your child to play with you or with her neighborhood friends.

Check for safety. Your last step before turning your child loose is to make sure it's safe. Make sure that all play structures are stable and sturdy, and that they don't have any loose, missing or broken parts. Always supervise your child when outside playing, as well.


  • If you have a small child, install a plastic play structure designed for toddlers.
  • Look online for used play structures and outdoor toys. Sites that allow owners to post their items for sale can be a good way to build your outdoor playground for less money. Check recall lists before purchasing a used play structure and always inspect it to be sure it's safe before letting your child play on it.


  • Skip trampolines, monkey bars and trapeze bars in your backyard. According to KidsHealth, these aren't safe. Don't install rope swings either as these are dangerous and pose an entrapment hazard.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images