13 Awesome DIY Projects That Will Make Your Kids Want to Play Outside
Guest Blogger Jackie Nunes, Wondermoms.org
With so many electronic gadgets vying for our kids’ attention indoors, it is not surprising that it’s hard to get them to go outside and play. As they get older, it’s even more challenging to pry them away from those little glowing screens. But parents, have no fear. We have found some awesome DIY projects that will make your kids actually want to spend time in the backyard. No more begging them to put down their devices. They’ll be eager to head outdoors and, best of all, you can make a lot of these together.
Why Kids Need to Spend More Time Playing Outside
Before we describe the projects, let’s look at why kids need to spend more time playing outside. If we’re honest, even adults are not spending as much time outdoors as we should. Over the past four decades, the percentage of children and adults considered overweight or obese has tripled nationwide.
According to Care.com, in addition to helping maintain a healthy weight, there are five major physical and mental health benefits of spending time outdoors. These include:
- improved vision
- stronger social skills
- increased attention spans
- reduced stress
- increased Vitamin D levels
Given the myriad of ways playing outdoors makes kids healthier, we should be proactive in encouraging our kids to head to the backyard.
13 DIY Projects That Will Make Your Kids Eager to Spend Time in the Backyard
The following ideas encourage children to play, exercise, solve problems, and use their imaginations. Many projects can be made using items you may already have in your garage, basement, or closet. If your kids are school age, let them help with the building and planning. It’s a wonderful way to spend time together and teach organization skills.
- Build a Teepee – Wooden poles, canvas, and rope can become an authentic-looking teepee that is significantly larger and less expensive that one you might buy. Kids will not only enjoy helping to build it, but having a place to play, hide, think, read, and pretend once they’re done.
- DIY Dunk Tank – Remember the fun of the dunking booths at carnivals and school fairs? Kids of all ages will love having their own dunking station in their backyard. While everyone can take turns sitting in the dunk seat and throwing the ball, older tweens and teens will enjoy building and assembling the dunk tank. Here are DIY dunk tank instructions.
- Backyard Ninja Course – Want kids to run outdoors? Build a backyard ninja course! We love the example of this ninja course. Obstacle courses get kids moving and help them develop their gross and fine motor skills. Plus, they teach kids to overcome challenges. Here are the instructions for building a backyard ninja course.
- DIY Giant Ring Toss – All you need to build your own giant backyard ring toss is several pool noodles that you can purchase at the Dollar Store. The noodles are bent into circles to form the wall. Then, kids can throw a variety of objects through the pool noodle holes. For instance, younger kids will easily be able to do a javelin throw with another pool noodle. Check out Parents pool noodle toss instructions.
- Backyard Stage – By building a simple backyard stage, your kids can bring their imaginations to life. Something about a stage makes kids feel more empowered to put on a show. They can sing, dance, or act to their heart’s delight.
- Fairy Gardens – Embrace the enchantment by creating a fairy garden in your backyard. Gardens, trees, and plants can easily be turned into an outdoor fairyland for your children to enjoy.
- Giant Outdoor Games – If you want your backyard to be an entertainment zone for your kids, then you must have some outdoor games. There are several DIY projects for outdoor games such as Jenga, Giant Dominos, and Giant Yahtzee. Don’t forget – outdoor games such as corn hole and ladder toss can also be fun do-it-yourself projects. Here are DIY instructions for several outdoor games.
- Dig a Fire Pit – A fire pit is a great weekend project that you’ll love using when the weather begins to cool. Pick a spot a safe distance from your house. There are a variety of fire pit designs – some more elaborate than others – but most involve digging a hole, lining it with rocks and sand, and building a circle of bricks around the edges. You’ll be roasting marshmallows and telling campfire stories in no time!
- Backyard Treehouse – Treehouses have always been magical. And, they are a great way to get kids to play outside. With numerous treehouse plans, you can choose the treehouse that works best for your yard and your child. You can find some great treehouse tips here.
- Music and Art – Take the same music and art activities you do indoors and bring them outdoors. For example, add a chalk wall to one of your fences or create your own musical garden. To get you started, see these ideas from Design Rulz.
- DIY Water Sprinklers – Sprinklers are always fun for little ones, but this DIY project grows with kids as they get older. By allowing kids to design and build their own water sprinkler using a plastic bottle, they are applying STEM skills to their backyard fun. Here are DIY water sprinkler instructions.
- Backyard Zipline – If you want to be the envy of the neighborhood, then consider building a backyard zip line. https://www.purednp.com Expect the amount of time your kids spend outdoors to increase dramatically when they discover they can “fly” through the backyard. Here are some DIY zipline instructions.
Tips for Success
Playing outside is important for children and adults alike. It has physical and psychological benefits, as well as being a lot of fun. But if you’re going to do strenuous activity and work with tools, there are some safety precautions to consider:
- Always supervise children around tools and fire.
- Know your own limits. Stay hydrated and take breaks if you need them.
- Establish safety rules for playing on outdoor equipment.
- Have a well-stocked first aid kit and consider taking a refresher course in CPR.
- Consider seasonal conditions. Use sunscreen and insect repellent as appropriate. Dress in layers as the weather gets cooler.
Building things instead of relying on technological entertainment is great for children’s social and intellectual development and gives them a sense of pride in the finished product. So pick a project, gather your DIY tools, and get ready to have some fun!