We all have those days when the idea of loading up the car to do anything anywhere other than your own home is the last thing on our minds. When that feeling hits, every creative method to avoid having to leave the house is fair game.
Turning your backyard into a playground of its own is a great way to avoid the time, energy and commotion that comes with getting your family ready to go to the park, beach or any other destination for some summer fun.
But what happens when boredom sets in or when the scenery is so familiar that the typical toys just aren't entertaining enough anymore?
We put together a bunch of activities to break out once you start hearing "I'm bored" from the other room. From tree swings to cardboard forts, these fun boredom busters are the perfect time-passers when all we want to do be entertained from the comfort of our own home.
Tree SwingA tree swing is a tried-and-true classic! If there's a large, established tree in your backyard with strong branches, a swing is must have. The kind doesn't matter—tire, single rope, double rope, chair, etc.)—because your kids will find hours of fun and play with any material used. They'll likely even enjoy being a part of the set-up process! Click here for tips on hanging your own tree swing.
Make and Fly Kites
With the same whimsy and simplicity as a backyard swing, flying a kite appeals to the kid in all of us! Sure, you could go out and buy a kite with your kids' favorite cartoon characters on it, but building your own as a family means so much more when it finally gets up in the air. Your kids can personalize it on their own, which brings a bit of craft time into play, too. Plus, it will add to their sense of ownership when they look up to see their creation waving in the sky.
And when it doesn't work, try, try again! It's a science and building project after all, and seeing what doesn't work and modifying it is a great learning opportunity for the kids. Click here to help your kids set a kite to sail today.
Water Balloon PiñataAnything water related is perfect for a warm spring or summer day in the backyard. From a pure and simple run through the sprinklers to a more sophisticated water gun fight, the possibilities are endless. But to break up the familiarity, we loved this idea of a water balloon piñata for some splash-worthy fun. As with any piñata activity, make sure everyone takes turns and keeps a safe distance away from the "batter's box!"
Water WallAnother way to keep your kids busy on a hot day is to have a water wall built for them to play with. All you really need to set it up are various-sized containers and simple tools to hang and cut them at different places along a blank fence or wall in your backyard. Once it's up, it's hours of fun, as kids splash, play and observe what happens when they pour water in different containers along the route. You can come up with your own method and ideas, or you can use the simple steps provided here by Tinker Lab to help you construct your own.
Cotton Swab Blow DartsStraws and cotton swabs are all you need to set your kids loose in the yard for a blow dart battle! Not only are the materials simple and cheap, but the darts themselves are soft, blunt and relatively safe (just avoid darts to the face). Since these tend to be pretty typical supplies to have on hand in the house, this is a great activity to fall back on in a pinch. Check out the "how to" by KidsActivities.com here!
Helpful tip: Have your kid color code their cotton swabs ahead of time, so you can offer rewards for any who returns all of their "darts," avoiding a yard littered with cotton swabs at the end of the day.
Frisbee GolfNow, you may find that you need to run out and buy some supplies for this activity, but once you have the frisbees and baskets in hand, you're set for hours of fun any day of the week. You and your kids will enjoy perfecting your frisbee golf skills—it's not as easy as it looks, which is great for coming back again and again to get better each time. The portable nature of this activity also allows for you to set up different challenges each game. Click here for details on how one family set up their own frisbee golf set.
Giant Kerplunk GameThis one requires a bit of additional hardware, planning and skill, but it's too much fun to leave out if you have the time and resources required in this DIY builder plan for your own backyard Kerplunk Game. Kerplunk is a tabletop game of suspense and decision-making based on simple physics concepts, as each person is required to remove one of the supporting straws at the base of the basket supporting a number of balls. You don't want to be the person who pulls the last straw to make the balls all fall through the base! Each game is different, as no two straw set-ups are the same. Making this game life sized in the backyard is fun for the whole family!
Painted Rock Tic-Tac-Toe
Your kids will love painting and playing with these rocks! Follow the easy steps here to create your own backyard tic-tac-toe set using your own paints and designs. The rocks will look great in your yard all year long, and your kids will enjoy figuring out the best strategy to win this simple and timeless game.
There's no real "how to" when it comes to forts—all you need is a little imagination and some resources. We mentioned cardboard forts, but you can also build blanket forts, branch forts, forts in trees, forts in bushes or forts with leftover plywood! Whatever you have on hand at home, put it to use to help your kids put together something they can call their own, care for and play with on those backyard playground days.
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