No pavement nearby for summertime scribbles? Take a tip from Mom Beth Anne of Okay, BA! and create a DIY backyard chalkboard for the kid artists in your life. Easily made with salvaged wood, some chalkboard paint and a couple of screws, this project is quick and inexpensive – and provides a renewable canvas for kid art all summer long.
Give wee nature sprites a summer home. Create a one-of-a-kind fairy garden, like this one. A kid-friendly project, this container garden craft is great for small outdoor spaces, patios and decks. A fun introduction to gardening for children, a fairy garden stimulates imaginative play and future fun finding mini treasures to attract pixies.
Mom Stephanie of Modern Parents Messy Kids shares photos of this gorgeous yarn bombing witnessed by her family during a recent excursion to Anderson Park in Redmond. Yarn bombing is an expressive art explosion taking over outdoor spaces big and small, and we support this kid-friendly, crafty and colorful trend. For your family’s backyard yarn bombing inspiration, see the rest of Stephanie’s post, or check out Demilked for a fun roundup of the knitted art statements.
Bring home the beach. Install a DIY sandbox like this one featured on Made! Estimating that the entire project totaled around $150–200, Mom Dana says that she and her non-woodworking husband winged the project and that it’s very similar to building a planter box. Beyond the basic shape, they included holes for umbrellas and corner benches. See her full tutorial to get started.
Test your kids’ flexibility and limber up a bit yourself. Stretch into spring and summer with this clever DIY version of Twister featured on You + Me. All you’ll need is a cardboard stencil, some colorful spray paint and a homemade spinner for a summer of hilarious twists and turns. See the full post for more warm-weather party inspiration!
Seattle Mom Kristen of Intrepid Murmurings shares this deliciously fragrant hideout – with snacks! This tepee fashioned out of pole beans and sweet peas is garden-central for backyard play. Making the frame of their tepee with branches and rope, Kristen’s family planted all of their seeds on May 1. By the end of July, their tepee was in full bloom. For more info on getting started and to see how their tepee grew throughout the months, check out the rest of the full post.
Treat your kid chefs to a backyard culinary experience by constructing a mud pie kitchen. Pick a shady spot in the yard near lots of dirt, sand, sticks and leaves – and the water hose, of course! After a family trip to the thrift store for pots, pans, muffin tins, the works – the messy-fun kitchen was open and cookin’ with dirt. This pretend-play kitchen stayed busy throughout the warm months with lots of “fresh” meals and many, many desserts (as expected)!
Tikes on trikes burning up the driveway? Cool ’em down with this DIY kiddie carwash featured on Cowboys and Cocktails. Joking that her son went through the wash so many times his lips turned blue, Mom Anne says that this cool water experience was easy to create and only required PVC pipes with holes drilled throughout for the water spray. See the rest of the post for more fun photos of her tot taking his trike through the spray cycle!
Jam with your kids in the backyard. Add a musical wall to your backyard play space like this one featured on Filth Wizardry. Simply outfit your fence with whatever musical bits, gadgets or instruments you happen to have at hand. A joyful noise-fun wall is easy to make and offers plenty of “clangy bangy goodness” for your family band. See the rest of the full post for a full rundown of the “instruments” improvised here.
More for the water-play fun file: Don’t miss out on this super slip and slide featured on The Inspired Housewife. Mom Dianne says this DIY makeshift slip and slide was a hot-weather must in their backyard – it’s incredibly easy to make, but be forewarned it may require a hardware store run. Simply acquire an oversize sheet of plastic or Visqueen, squirt some baby shampoo on it and let the sprinkler work its magic. (Safety note: please use good judgment when designing home slip and slides. This means you, Rad Dad.)