Summertime. A time for pulling out the tank tops, sipping on cold glasses of lemonade and spraying your kids liberally with bug spray (I hate you, mosquitos!). School is out, and for many families, it’s a time for travel. For others, it’s a time to get creative and have a staycation instead. This doesn’t mean there can’t be fun. Just because you make the decision to stay home and enjoy family time doesn’t mean you can’t make an adventure out of it. In fact, it’s really easy to have fun together, and you need look no further than your own backyard. Who needs a summer vacay to the beach when you can soak up the sun just a few feet from your kitchen? Invite the neighborhood kids over to join yours in one of these 7 easy (and budget-friendly) ways to make your backyard the place to hang out this summer.
1. Set Up a Slip ‘n Slide
If you live somewhere that gets especially hot, there’s nothing more refreshing than a water activity in the summer. And you’d be hard pressed to find a kid who doesn’t love cooling off with a backyard Slip ‘n Slide. For around $30, you can get an outdoor inflatable slide like the H2O GO! Triple Slider, or you can be the ultimate DIY redneck guru and take something like a hefty plastic garbage bag and let the hose run to keep it wet. Either way, your kids will be slippin’ and slidin’ all summer long. Oh, who am I kidding? You’ll be right there racing beside them!
2. Go Backyard Camping
You know what’s not fun about camping? Bears. And outhouses. And being miles and miles away from civilization. But guess what? You can camp out in your backyard and not have to worry about any of those things (Unless you live way out in the boonies, in which case I must say, kudos to you!). All you need is basic camping equipment like a tent and sleeping bags. You can make a bonfire in your fire pit, or use a portable grill to make some hot dogs. The kids will have a blast “roughing it,” and you’ll be able to sleep knowing you won’t be attacked by a giant grizzly. Maybe by your family dog, but that’s unlikely.
3. Hang a Hammock
It might be hard to believe, but for some kids, vegging out and reading a good book is much more fun than competing in a high energy sports tournament. If you have a bookworm for a kid, they will love having a hammock to lounge around in and read all summer. And I guarantee you’ll make use of it too. Sure, maybe it will be to take naps, but those are worth more than gold if you ask me.
4. Create a DIY Obstacle Course
Not only is an obstacle course a great way for kids to have fun, it’s a great way for them to squeeze in some exercise. It’s also an easy way to challenge their growing minds and work on their problem solving skills. It’s super easy to put one together. You can use just about anything you find around the house- buckets, rope, hula hoops, pool noodles, balls, or toys. Check out the way the team over at Muddy Puddles created one. Looks like loads of fun! When the kids successfully complete the course, add additional parts to make it harder, until they’ve mastered every level possible (in other words, you’ve ran out of household supplies).
5. Put Together a Picnic
If you have a blanket and food, you can have a backyard picnic. Let the kids help you pack everything up in a cute basket and set up a nice little seating area. Play cards, color, or toss around a Frisbee after lunch. You could set aside one day each week and have it be “picnic day.” The kids will love it, and it will encourage them to meal plan, eat healthy and appreciate spending time with family.
source: DIY Cozy Home
6. Show a Movie
If you have a place to use as a “screen,” and you own a projector, you can host a movie night in your backyard. You can find a wide range of projectors to purchase, varying in price from around $50 to over $2,000. Take a look at how DIY Cozy Home set up a backyard movie theater using a screen from Pottery Barn. I love the serene look they created. Invite your friends and neighbors over on Saturday night, and let the kids relax with a bowl of popcorn. It’s a worthy investment that you’ll use over and over again. It sure beats spending hundreds of dollars to sit in a crowded theater with people texting and talking and having to sit through 20 minutes of previews.
7. Have a Dance Party
I don’t know about you, but I love to boogie. When I clean the house, when I shower, when I’m driving, I dance whenever I can. And if your kids have the endless supply of energy that my kids have (are you sure they don’t have an “off” button?), a dance party is a summer staycation must-have. You don’t need anything fancy. Just music, and a place to get down. Blast your favorite family-friendly tunes and clear out the back patio for a dance competition. Don’t forget to have your camera ready.