Look… children used to play before we invented PlayStation… and I have feeling that play back then was better, full of emotions, crazy adventures, things we were not supposed to do 🙂
You were once a child too so you know that children don`t need anything fancy and expensive to have fun. Actually, they will appreciate coming back to their roots. When I was a child, we didn`t have phones, but we always knew where our friends were. We had no PlayStation, still, we played all day long and we didn`t have any expensive toys, though we made cool toys ourselves.
Our mothers used to have a hard time with us 🙂 Didn`t they?
My Mother spent a lot of time walking around and looking for me. It was so hard to be at home on time. Back then it was easy to excuse myself… I had no watch. What did she expect? We were busy making wooden bows or exploring the neighborhood, looking for treasures.
If you come back to these times you recall that play back then was for free.
Take a look at these 10 low cost and easy, do it yourself, backyard ideas for children.
The best sidewalk chalk activity for children of all time – just let them create! You don`t need a chalkboard. Let them write in front of your house, maybe on a parking space or in a garage. An adventure begins where there are no limitations. The first rain will clean everything up. Don`t worry.
Play with them. Chalk something out. Show your child how old school players used to do it 😉
If you are searching for chalk game ideas, do not hesitate to read my article on 12 FUN SIDEWALK CHALK GAMES FOR CHILDREN
2. DIY Sandbox
Building a sandbox may look difficult at first but it isn`t and can be done really inexpensively. There is a lot of information on the internet about how to do it. If you would like to make one yourself than watch this tutorial movie by The Burb Billy. He explains how to build a sandbox for under $100.
Making your own sandbox can be great fun but there are times when people prefer the convenience of walking into a store or placing an order online. On the internet, you`ll find various sandboxes with prices starting at $50. Most affordable are plastic ones that you can find on Amazon. Those are also most popular. But I would rather go for a wooden sandbox. You can buy one there. You will probably need to put on an extra layer of wood oil to protect it from mold, rain, and sun. But in fact, wood is the best material available for children.
Keep in mind:
- For safety, locate the sandbox where you can keep an eye on the youngsters while they’re playing.
- Sun or shade? Remember that a sandbox in full sun means the youngsters are exposed to UV rays.
- When planning the size, make room for dump trucks, sand buckets, and the neighbors’ children.
- You can do it almost for free if you fix some old lumber and you find out where to get free sand.
- Your local hardware store probably sells play sand, so buy it there instead of online, because the shipping fees may be very high.
- As soon as a sandbox is not in use, cover it to keep the sand clean.
Which Material should you use?
Since many sandboxes will only be used for a few years, it doesn`t matter that much. I would go for pinewood because it is most affordable and for its price is also strong enough. With a few layers of wood oil, it will last a really long time.
3. Adventure Chest
Empty your garage and place everything in a chest or box. Call it “the adventure chest” and tell your children they can do whatever they want with those treasures. You will be amazed how children can give new meaning to old “garbage” that is worthless to you.
You can also provide some tools like a hammer, string, paint. Watch what they do, so they are safe. But just watch! Do not interrupt as long as it is not dangerous. Just keep your eye on them. You know 🙂
4. A swing
That`s how beautiful memories are made… Yesterday I swung on the swing in a park with my girlfriend. We were just sitting and talking about childhood memories. There are lots of them. But many are made on the playground. It was beautiful to have this weird feeling in my belly again 🙂
So if you want to see a smile on your child’s face, get a swing.
- You can buy one on Amazon. This one is on sale. I would go for it as it isn`t expensive. You can get one for 20 $.
- It’s also great fun to do it yourself. I was searching the internet to find an easy way to build a swing. I suggest handymanhowto.com
5. Make your own bows
These can be made in half an hour. You just need a curved stick and a rubber. It doesn`t need to be anything spectacular. If an arrow will fly 5 meters and hit an empty bottle you will already be magician for your child.
6. Camping at home
As long as your children aren`t older than 8, they will love time spent with you in a tent. Older children will probably prefer to spend a survival night in your garden. And more likely they will ask if there is Wi-Fi in the tent.
A lot of people have a tent. If you do not have one just borrow from your friend. There is no reason to buy a tent for one-time use.
I remember from my childhood tent adventures, most of the time it’s so warm in the morning that it makes you an early bird immediately.
7. Obstacle course
Let`s make your private Mini Ninja Warrior. Check out a post about children obstacle course. It’s well written and brings a lot of ideas.
8. Pirate Ship
Extremely easy and at the same time challenging to the imagination. You only need a pallet, stick and a piece of material. Another example to show that it’s easy to make something amazing with limited resources. I would actually add a rudder and a paddle.
9. Skateboard Tree Swing
Wow! That`s a hit. If there is a toy I would like to try out – that`s definitely Swurfer. It mimics surfing movements in swing form. You just hang it on a tree in your garden or over a water. It is really easy. You can also swing like on a regular old-school swing. If you have it, each and every child in the neighborhood will know you 🙂 Give it a try.
10. Fantasy story sign
This is a signpost to far away magic places. It is just a decoration. Although children can not play with it, it challenges the imagination and looks magical.
- a piece of lumber can be an old pallet
- long stick
- fantasy land outline
- a pencil
- paint and varnish
How to transfer letters to wood, step by step:
1.) Print out what you want on the thinnest paper you have.
2.) Flip the paper over to the wrong side. Then trace the outline of your letters with a soft leaded pencil. You might have to tape it to a window.
3.) Next securely tape your paper right side up onto your piece of wood exactly where you want it.
4.) Now carefully trace the outside of your letters again but on the right side of the paper. Check it after a letter or two to make sure it is transferring. Be sure not to press too light or it won’t transfer.
When you are done with a transfer, use paint to whip letters into shape. As soon as the paint is dry cover wood with a thin layer of varnish. Your signpost is ready.