Ideas for Fun Outdoor Play

Toddlers don’t have the monopoly on fun in the yard. Check out these ideas for creating an outdoor space perfect for exercising and relieving stress, no matter your age.
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©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ashley English

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Image courtesy of Gitane Royce/Modern Playhouse/Photography by Pamela Palma.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Courtney Ortiz

Photo By: Image courtesy of Hammacher Schlemmer

Fitness Logs

You don’t have to buy lots of expensive exercise equipment to keep the children amused. These wooden logs have been designed to act as a simple obstacle course for little kids to enjoy, and they also make an attractive natural feature in the flower garden. They have been cut long and then part of their length set into the ground for stability. Once securely in place, they have been surrounded by a thick layer of bark chippings to soften any falls.

Make a Child's Plant Stand

Building plant stands for children is easy to do, beautiful to behold, and a wonderful welcome to the joys of growing food oneself.

Tree Climbing

A natural feature will win out over even the most sophisticated piece of play equipment. Make sure to keep your trees in check, pruning off weak or dead limbs.


An oversized chess set makes a striking feature, the black-and-white sculptural pieces making it particularly suitable for a modern or minimalist yard with plenty of hard landscaping, or for a square of a well-kept lawn. Chess is not an obvious party game, but there are many other oversized yard games available that have been designed with outdoor gatherings in mind.


It may be hard to get some children to get exercise, but it is usually easy to get them to play. A treehouse may be the ultimate den, and the perfect spot for fantasy play, but just by getting into and out of it children will be building up their fitness, while having no idea that they are doing something that is good for them. A ladder up to a height demands concentration, balance and nerves of steel. The addition of a rope walk and a rope swing turns just an hour or two of play into a major mental and physical workout, and all while they are out in the fresh air, too.

Tree Swing

Children will love taking turns on this easy-to-build tree swing.


Consider adding a playhouse for hours of entertainment for years to come. 

Grow a Sunflower Forest

If you have children, grow an almost-instant playhouse for them to enjoy. The stalks of 'Sunforest Mix' can reach 10-15 feet high and spread up to 40 inches across. Plant the seeds in blocks, leaving 3 to 4 feet between each block, to create a living maze. The blooms typically measure a foot or more across.

Build a Multipurpose Sandbox

Use it as a sandbox for your children now then as a raised garden bed for you later. 

Children Love Swimming Pools

Nothing gets your children out of the house faster than a cool swimming pool on a hot summer day. 

Play Together

Remember, your children are more likely to play outside if you're playing with them!

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