10 DIY Playground Ideas

tire see saw

Kids need to play, and complex environments help them develop. Outdoor playground equipment tends to be fairly expensive. Those playsets are so expensive, you practically need a loan just to get one for your back yard! No problem. If you’re creative and have a few tools, there are lots of amazing things you can create for kids to play with. Make your own DIY playground that kids will love much more than any of those pre-made, pricey sets you can buy.

1. Play Pit

Create a circle using large rocks, logs or bricks. Remove an inch or two of soil inside the circle to create a shallow pit. Fill this with gravel and now you've got a play pit that's perfect for toy cars and trucks. Kids can have fun playing with little dump trucks and construction vehicles in the open area.

2. Tire Toys

The classic tire swing is a DIY playground must-have for certain, but why stop there? Get a large truck or tractor tire and you're ready to make a see-saw. Saw the tire in half using any bladed saw. Completely sand down a long plank of wood that's no wider than 6 inches. Securely nail the cut ends of the tire directly to the center of the plank and you've got a cool DIY seesaw that's way cheaper than anything you can buy in a store.

blue tire swing

Get another tire and fill it with sand or gravel, or a combination of both, to make a tetherball. All you need is a long metal or plastic pole or a long, straight stick that's very sturdy. Bury this right in the center of the sand/gravel and attach a big plastic ball to the top of the stick with a long rope or long piece of twine. Now you're ready for bouncing, athletic fun.

3. Hopscotch

painted hopscotch game

Make a permanent hopscotch lane using large, flattish rocks, concrete pavers or even old tiles. Paint them in vivid colors and paint the numbers one through 10 on them in bright white to put a hopscotch path anywhere you like.

4. Make a Music Wall

Get old pots and pans, lids, baking pans and anything metallic you can get your hands on and nail these items to an old piece of fence, gate or even just a piece of plywood. Suddenly, you've got a music wall. Kids can bang on the various items using a stick to make noise, something they love to do. This is way more fun for kids to play with than it is for adults to hear, so you may want to get some earplugs to go with your music wall!

5. Mini Racetrack

This project takes a bit of hard work but the end results can be rewarding. Dig out a path for a toy racetrack somewhere in your yard. The path only needs to be about two inches deep and can be in any shape you want, from a simple circle or figure eight to something intricate with lots of twists and turns.

Once the track is dug out, mix cement with black oxide powder to make the track. Cut strips of tarp to line the pit with, fill it with about an inch of gravel and top it with your DIY tarmac material. You can draw lines on the roadway using chalk once it's dry and just like that, you've got an amazing mini racetrack that's perfect for little cars and trucks. Kids can have all kinds of fun pushing their cars around the track.

6. Boat Shaped Sandbox

playground boat

An old rowboat is fun waiting to happen. Fill it up with sand and you've got a DIY sandbox that's even more fun for kids because it's a bit unusual. You can even add a flagpole using a tall, sturdy stick. Attach a pirate flag and kids can have tons of fun playing buried treasure in the sand.

7. Safe Balance Beam

Get two 2x4s and a saw, and you're ready to make a safe balance beam. Cut one 2x4 into three pieces and lay these out in a row horizontally. Place the intact 2x4 vertically across the horizontal supports and secure the pieces together with wood nails. Set it anywhere in the yard and you've got a balance beam.

8. Playhouses

painted hopscotch game

A DIY playghouse can be better than any of those premade playsets, encouraging kids to use their imaginations. They’ll get active, get artistic and get a chance to enjoy some truly unique toys that no other kids they know will have. Be careful, though! After you build a great DIY playground, your yard may be the spot all the kids want to visit.