How to Create a Small Backyard Playground
Published: November 12, 2021
Give your kids a fun playtime with these small backyard playground ideas. They are simple to follow and can make your little ones’ childhood memorable!
Playtime is a crucial part of kids’ learning and development. As the world-renowned Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget puts it, “children require long, uninterrupted periods of play and exploration”. Hence, it is essential to give them ample time and a place to play. The good news is, you can do these things right in the comfort of your home by creating a small backyard playground!
With this article, we’ll help you get some fun backyard playground ideas that you and your kids can benefit from. Sounds exciting? Let’s start!
Benefits of Having a Small Backyard Playground
Kids deserve to have fun. After all, they are only kids once, which is why their childhood must be filled with happy memories. With a small backyard playground, this is possible! What’s more, it can help you and your kids in many ways.
Safe and Personal Space for Playtime
Safety is always the primary concern when it comes to taking care of kids. With this in mind, you’ll find having a small backyard playground to be beneficial. While a commercial playground is good, a personal and private playground is best to ensure that your kids are safe. This is because a backyard playground gives them a private, safe space to have fun. You can customize it based on your preferences of safe, trendy playsets and equipment.
Having a backyard playground is also convenient. It keeps your children within the safe boundaries of your home, which is essential due to the pandemic. In addition, this is also ideal if you’re working from home. You don’t have to take your kids to play outside where they could get unwanted exposure. You can just let them have fun at the exciting playsets installed in your backyard! Your pets will also find delight in this kind of space.
Staying at home shouldn’t be boring for your kids. With the help of some dependable playground sets, you can keep your kids entertained. Whether they’re playing on their own or with friends, they can have a blast playing in your small backyard playground.
Kids’ Development and Overall Health Benefits
Letting your kids play in your backyard playground helps their development and improves their overall health. In particular, this refers to the kids’ physical, emotional, and cognitive development.
For physical and emotional development, playtime lets kids develop their motor skills. Motor skills refer to their ability to control movement, which is exercised through their physical playtime activities. And aside from muscle coordination, these activities also allow them to learn what they are capable of.
Having great progress in their motor skills, in turn, leads to healthy emotional wellbeing, particularly in their capacity to be independent. Letting your kids play in the backyard gives them the confidence to explore things on their own, further developing self-reliance and self-confidence.
In terms of their cognitive health, playtime in your backyard lets kids gain an understanding of themselves and their environment. We’ve mentioned Jean Piaget’s theory about development stages that children go through. As a parent or a guardian, you have the power to help them go through these stages by providing them with ample playtime activities.
Better Social Life
Playtime also plays a big role in enhancing your children’s social skills. With playtime, they’ll develop how they communicate better. They will also become more open in conveying their needs. Likewise, having a backyard playground encourages them to make friends. They can invite their peers over for playtime which can further practice their communications skills. More social interaction also means less screen time.
Family Bonding Time
Creating a playground in your small backyard gives you and your family a place to have fun through recreational activities or sports. This allows everyone in the family to be included as well thus creating a tighter family relationship.
Sense of Community
Aside from uniting your family, having a playground in your backyard may also encourage your neighbors to come and build camaraderie. Letting the kids bond over playtime allows the parents and the families to interact with one another. One classic way to do this is to set up a barbecue party with the parents while the kids play.
Factors to Consider When Creating a Small Backyard Playground
Here are factors that you need to consider before setting up your small backyard playground:
The first thing you need to know is the size of your backyard. This pertains to the exact dimensions of the space that you have. Why is this essential? This is for you to know the type of playground set your backyard can accommodate. And with that, you can come up with a better plan to divide your space effectively.
Types of Playground Set and Equipment
There are endless options that you can try when it comes to playground sets and equipment. You can always go for the popular swing sets for small yards. Likewise, you can also choose to add common sets like slides and jungle play tents. Getting some modern sports equipment will add excitement to the kids’ playtime. Of course, you can always rely on some crafting sets to keep the children entertained and learning.
Safety and Durability of the Used Materials
Playsets and equipment come with various materials such as wooden materials, plastics, rubber, and steel. They are all fairly durable and sturdy.
Wooden playsets, for instance, are generally environmentally-safe and toxic-free. Besides, they are recyclable and can even be repurposed into new furniture.
Plastic playsets, on the other hand, are not easy to break. They are suitable for outdoor use since they are waterproof. However, they tend to crumble and their surface color fades under daily exposure to sunlight. Aside from this, plastic materials are potentially risky due to chemicals added to them. So, take caution and make sure that the plastic sets that you’ll get are generally safe for kids’ use.
Now, for playsets that are ideal for longer-lasting outdoor use, steel is probably the best and most reliable option that you can get. They are sturdy and can last for years. Fair warning, though. Steel-made playground sets tend to rust, can be hot to the touch, and get slippery when it’s rainy. With these in mind, make sure to get a metal playset that has a foam protective surface, a rubber surface (or secure a rubber mat below to lessen fall impact), and a heat-regulating coating.
8 Simple Ways to Create a Small Backyard Playground
We’ve discussed the important things to know before creating your small backyard playground, now we’re moving to the 8 simple backyard playground ideas for inspiration:
1. Install a swing set with a playhouse in your backyard
Be creative in making your backyard playground by getting swing sets suitable for small yards. Take for example this innovative swing set from Backyard Discovery.
Made of solid cedar wood, the Belmont swing set is sturdy for your kid’s use. Cedarwood is known to be durable and resistant to extreme weather conditions. Aside from this, the Belmont comes with unique features that your kids will enjoy. It not only comes with swings but also offers an 8 ft. slide, a playhouse, a rock wall ladder, a sandbox, and a snack table and seat! These additions make it an all-in-one exciting playset for your small backyard. The kids will have a blast!
- Solid cedar wood construction
- Laminated finish
- Heavy-duty steel brackets
- 3 position swing beam and a slide
- 1 playhouse with upper and lower deck
- Overall dimension: 212.6 x 86.61 x 114.17 inches
- Very sturdy
- Great as a beginner playground
- Ideal as a Christmas present
- Assembly instructions are easy to follow
- Installation is time-consuming
- Pilot holes were drilled incorrectly
- Bench has no middle support
- Thin wood pieces
2. Provide a small corner for building a dollhouse
If you’ve seen Modern Family, you should know about Lily’s backyard castle in the second season of the show. You can provide your little ones with a mini-version of it with the help of this dollhouse from Temi! With its stylish and elegant appearance, your kids will be in awe. It has a princess theme just like Lily’s castle. Plus, it comes with dolls that the kids can play with and miniature furniture to embellish the house.
Moreover, the Temi dollhouse is made of non-toxic plastic materials which makes it safe for kids. Aside from that, it has a semi-modular construction that can give the children the freedom to build the dollhouse based on their preferences. This is beneficial to let the kids’ imaginations run wild.
Tip: It is advisable to monitor your kids when they’re building this dollhouse as its small parts are choking hazards.
- Princess-themed cottage design
- Open-viewing construction
- Smooth surface
- 1 miniature dollhouse set with accessories
- Recommended age of use: 3 years old and up
- Overall dimensions: 35.83″ (H) x 28.3″ (W) x 28.3″ (D)
- Allows children to reconfigure things in the dollhouse
- Has cute little furniture and dolls
- Perfect size for kids to play
- Easy to clean and is affordable
- Cardboard rooms don’t fit properly
- Has some missing parts
- Difficult to assemble
3. Create an outdoor Play-Doh craft station
Nurture your kid’s creativity in an easy and fun way with the help of an outdoor craft station. To achieve this, get a Play-Doh table and craft set from the Play ‘N Store. It comes with an activity table and a total of 8 non-toxic Play-Doh colors that your kids will love. They can create and mold these Play-Dohs in different colors to whatever shapes and sizes they want. It will spark their creativity and develop their critical thinking as well.
With this Play-Doh set in your small backyard playground, you can easily keep your kids busy while socializing with their friends. It is ideal for a birthday party or any type of casual gathering.
- Storage system
- Easy-to-assemble table
- Molding tools and colors
- 1 Play-Doh activity table with cans of colors and other tools
- Recommended age: 3 years old and up
- Overall dimension: 3.5 x 14.49 x 22.01 inches
- Has a great storage system and a solid build
- Perfect for toddlers
- Great toy for a family bonding time
- Easy to clean
- Difficult to put together
- Flaps on the storage compartment are hard to open
4. Let the kids have fun with a trampoline
Let your kids bounce with joy, literally, with this vibrant trampoline from Merax. Made of foam and steel, the Merax trampoline is sturdy and is suitable for kids of all ages. Your kids and even you will spend the whole day shooting hoops thanks to its basketball hoop inclusion.
Installing this trampoline as one of your creative backyard playground ideas can help you and your kids get those blood pumping. It will surely improve everyone’s health through regulating metabolism and enhancing muscle strength. Lastly, the Merax trampoline comes with a protective net to keep everyone safe from injuries.
- High elastic jumping pad
- Strong springs and protective net
- Reversible basketball hoop
- 1 trampoline with a basketball hoop
- Maximum weight recommendation: 220 lb
- Overall height: 10 ft.
- Foam covered-metal is helpful to avoid injury
- Large jumping area
- Has the right height to let parents join
- Confusing assembly instructions
5. Fix an outdoor toddler gym play tent
Kids can’t get enough of playing basketball? Give them an additional venue to practice their shooting skills with this awesome jungle play tent from Hide ‘N Side. It is made of polyester which is not just durable but is also light enough to be moved around your small backyard. Plus, the polyester guarantees that your kids are safe even with less supervision.
Old school hide and seek games are also ideal with the Hide ‘N Side jungle gym play tent as it is designed as a tunnel maze. Games like hide and seek heighten your child’s sensory and cognitive ability. Teamwork is also something that will be developed.
- Polyester and spring steel construction
- Tunnel maze
- Basketball hoop
- 1 ball pit playhouse obstacle course playset
- Recommended age of use: 1-year-old and up
- Overall dimensions: 20.5 x 20.5 x 0.98 inches
- Suitable for adults to use
- Very compact and portable
- Comes with great instructions to set and store it away
- Can be used indoors
- Needs additional balls
- Larger than expected
- A bit expensive
6. Start a Nerf war fort in the backyard
Another engaging activity for the whole family is the Nerf war. To turn your small backyard into a Nerf war battlefield, you will need the help of these combat inflatables from Ninostar.
This package from Ninostar comes with a total of four plastic inflatables such as an army crate, barrels, and a sandbag wall. With these battle inflatables, the kids will be prepared to get those Nerf blasters rolling in no time!
You and the rest of the family can join in on the fun as well. This way, everyone can relax and make a memorable game time. Just like the Nerf guns, they are easy to store with some equipment storage system. Ultimately, you can use these inflatables as a cool addition to your laser tag and pool party.
- Realistic design and appearance
- Stable construction
- 4 pieces of combat inflatables
- Recommended age of use: 5 years old and up
- Overall dimension: 15.04 x 10.94 x 5.94 inches
- Bunkers are big enough for grownups to use
- Ideal for kid’s birthday party
- Smaller than expected
- Plastic not as sturdy as the Nerf brand
7. Allot an open area for bicycle riding
A classic, bike riding will help your kids be more active. This is enough reason why you should allocate an open area for cycling area in your backyard. But to do this, you need a reliable and sleek bicycle first. Worry not because the RoyalBaby kid’s bike is just what you need.
With its strong metal construction, this kid’s bike is easy and safe to use. It is sturdy and can accommodate a child’s average weight and height. This bike also comes with gender-neutral colors and designs which makes it suitable for kids of all ages. It is also easy to store with an outdoor bike storage. Use this bike as a wonderful gift to your nephews and nieces as well.
- Full-chain guard and anti-slip pedal
- Wide tires and training wheels
- Adjustable bike seat and handlebar
- 1 unisex bicycle with 2 wide wheels
- 2 additional training wheels
- Overall dimensions: 36.5 x 20.5 x 7.1 inches
- Looks great
- Adjustable seat
- Sturdy construction
- Easy to assemble
- Too heavy
- Pedals are too tight to use
8. Maximize playtime with a Zip Line
Last but not least on our list on how to build a backyard playground is to incorporate a zip-line. It might seem crazy but it’s certainly doable! Enter this zip line kit from Gusto Games. It comes with a cable, harness, disc, and a spring brake to keep your kids’ adrenaline going. Don’t worry as it’s totally safe to use. For starters, it can take a weight of up to 250 lbs.
Apart from attracting your kids to spend some time in the backyard, this is also an effective tool to challenge them in terms of endurance and facing their height-related fears. Don’t worry about missing out on the fun as you and the rest of the family can use it anytime too. Who knows, having this as a part of your small backyard playground might even make you parent of the year!
- Adjustable harness and sturdy disc
- Long cable line
- Spring brake
- 1 zip line kit
- Recommended age of use: 8 years old and up
- Package dimensions: 17.44 x 12.83 x 6.65 inches
- Comes with easy to follow instructions
- Well-made and has lots of equipment
- Great for family use
- Has no brake sometimes
All the ideas that we tackled can help you achieve a small yet fun backyard playground. They are easy to follow and try on your own! If you need additional ideas, however, feel free to check out some incredible outdoor playhouse ideas for your kids. So, what are you waiting for? Get your loved ones the fun and educational experience they deserve!