Spring and summer are on their way, and it’s time to spruce up the back yard! Here is a collection of the best DIY outdoor toys, climbing structures, and play spaces to make for kids.
My personal favorites are the skateboard swing and the PVC sand and water table. Also the play structures – with the cost of a basic play set (and the time required to assemble it!) you might as well build your own and make it exactly like you want it.
Things to Climb On
Make a Tire Climbing Tower – love this project from Blessings Overflowing.
This A-Frame Climbing Structure has a rock climbing wall on one side and rope on the other side.
If you have some woodworking abilities, you might want to tackle a DIY Playset complete with swings and a slide. At the bottom of the post, there is a link to a second post with a materials list and more instructions.
Add a skateboard swing to your swing set – I know some kids who would love this! Doesn’t look hard either.
Hang an airplane swing from your backyard tree. Great project for woodworkers.
This tree house does not have instructions, but wow – I want it! Along with the lovely yard and mature trees.
If you have trees in your backyard, it would be fun to build a tightrope for kids. (Don’t worry – it’s close to the ground!)
Sand and Water Play
Make a sand and water table out of PVC pipe. I love how you can easily switch out the tubs for either sand or water play. We built this last year, and it has gotten a ton of use.
Build your own mud kitchen from The Empowered Educator. My preschoolers would love this.
While you’re at it, make some mud kitchen play food – out of rocks. Super clever! Fun idea from Munchkins and Moms.
Build a sandbox with a lid that folds open to become seats on either side. Woodworking plans from Ana White. (She has a whole site full of easy-to-follow woodworking plans!)
Create a water wall for water play! Love this idea from Little Bins for Little Hands.
Use PVC pipe and a small pump to build a water fountain ramp toy.
Outdoor Toys and Play Spaces
Build a water balloon launcher. This is EPIC. The kids will be thrilled – seriously!
Why spend a ton on a tetherball game when you can build one for less? Make your own DIY tetherball set from Simply Kierste.
Turn an old tire into a Teeter Totter toy for kids.
Build your own American Ninja Warrior inspired obstacle course. Our kids love to set this up and then time themselves to see how fast they can do it! Rearrange the components to make it a different course every time.
Create your own backyard music station from Fun at Home with Kids.
Does your backyard need a play house? Here’s a collection of adorable play houses with building plans.
Build a kids workbench for real tools. Perfect for learning to hammer nails, and check out the awesome hand drill. Print the plans from the post.
Need a place to store all those ride-on toys? Build a covered parking garage for toys and save room in the actual garage!
Build a PVC pipe xylophone that really plays a scale.
Have fun enjoying the backyard!