40 Outside-the-box Backyard Play Sets - Backyard Boss
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40 Outside-the-box Backyard Play Sets

Are you tired of lugging your kids to the playground so they can play for a while? Think about all of that unused space just sitting there in your back or front yard. You don’t even need much space at all to set up a playset for the little guys. You’ll still have room for outdoor games if you’re careful with placement.

With a hint of creativity, a dash of patience, and a splash of handiness, you can create any of these outside-of-the-box backyard playsets with just a few materials and even less cost. 

Giant Chess

Big floor chess
Image credits: 3dmitry via Canva

Although this looks like something ripped right from an Alice in Wonderland book, it is honestly super easy to replicate. All you need are three different colored sidewalk blocks, two of which half to be perfect squares. The chess pieces can be made from just about anything; old tires, circular discs cut from a log and then painted, old Frisbees, basically anything round.

Backyard Slide

Sliding The Slide
Image credits: huanglin via Canva

Okay, I will admit, this looks amazing, and the kids may have to step aside while Mom and Dad have a turn. No need for complex playsets with a million working pieces. The kids would have a blast for hours with this backyard slide.

Climbing Wall

Climbing wall
Image credits: mathieukor via Canva

If you’ve got some natural hills and mounds in your landscape, don’t’ worry about it. Use them, play with the raw material they offer, and work in some basic climbing walls like this. All you need is some wood, a package of rock wall grips, and rope.

Create Your Game

playing jenga
Image credits: OlegMalyshev via Canva

If you live in a rental property, then altering the landscape may not be an option for you, nor will installing a permanent playset be. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. This list of nifty backyard games is easy to make and can be stuffed away at the end of the day.

Sandbox Boat

Children's sandbox in form of boat
Image credits: Elena Mitskevich via Canva

Don’t bore your kids with a regular ol’ sandbox. They’ll be entertained for hours in this giant boat sand fort. I know I would! What’s best is that it’s almost painless to build. The sail-turned-sun shade is a wonderful idea, too. Keeps the sand cool as well as the little ones.

Log Style Playground

Field athletic playground equipment
Image credits: y-studio via Canva

What a nifty idea for the country lovers in all of us. Some parents don’t’ like the idea of the blaring bright colors of most outside play set pieces, but with this cool log style playground, you can have a stylish area for your kids to play.

Fun Mousetrap

Chicken Wire
Image credits: MentalArt via Canva

Okay, admittedly, I’m not sure if this is here for the kids or us. Either way, I want it. All you need for this life-size version of Mousetrap is an old table to cut a hole in, some chicken wire, a bag of balls from the dollar store, and a few wooden dowels.

Sandbox With A Sunroof

Image credits: digitalhallway via Canva

For the handy dad out there, this is a great weekend project. Assemble a nice, roomy sandbox for the kids, complete with corner seats and a sunroof to protect them and keep the sand nice and dry.

Reading Corner

Reading a Book
Image credits: Odua Images via Canva

As an avid reader and total bookworm, I adore this idea. I wish I had it as a kid. Sometimes your children just need a little haven, a place to call their own where they can escape from the world and enter a new one.

Giant See-Saw

Two Female Children Playing, See-Saw
Image credits: KatieDobies via Canva

If you can operate power tools and follow instructions, then this is the ultimate project to test out. A see-saw that fits many kids? Yes, please! Room for yours and their friends as well. Keep it a natural finish or stain/paint to add some flare to the backyard.

Splash Pad

Girl running through splash pad
Image credits: kandypix via Canva

Going to the waterpark can often suck as a parent. You can’t go in the water without feeling like you’re breaking some rule, but you have to get in there and run after your kids. So building your very own mini splash pad at home is a no-brainer.

Simple Log Style

Field athletic playground equipment
Image credits: y-studio via Canva

It would be a great set for grandparents to incorporate in their backyards. Nothing too flashy, and it creates a fun little spot for the grandkids to play when they visit. Beats watching the Game Show Network and eating hard candies from the metal tin on the coffee table.

Playhouse With A Slide

Childrens wooden climbing
Image credits: fotosr via Canva

This one will take a bit of skill to make, but it can be done. Not only is it a cool playset, but it’s also a fort and part of the backyard landscape. It’s a whole structure in itself, like a shed or garage. But, if built properly, it can be a fun place for your kids to play at any stage during their childhood. Also, you could drag out the sleeping bags and make a little backyard campout. It beats having to plan a big camping trip with little kids.

Caterpillar Tire

Tire playground equipment
Image credits: ookinate23 via Canva

Use what you got, right? And why not? Those old tires sitting in the garage would just end up in a landfill anyway. Slap them together, paint them with some fun colors, and anchor them with some dirt.

Use Your Patio

Father and Son Playing on Wooden Patio
Image credits: baseimage via Canva

You may not have a ton of backyard space to give up to a playset. But if you have an elevated patio, then you certainly have space underneath. Turn that area into a fun playset for the kids and not give up any extra yard space.

Huge Playground

Childrens Playhouse
Image credits: will_iredale via Canva

Okay, this one looks a little more complex than the average DIY project, but I simply couldn’t pass up adding it to the list. It’s fun, incorporates tons of stuff for the kids to use, and the cute barn-style theme is just adorable.


Image credits: undefined undefined via Canva

Turn that lonely old tree out there into a fun fort for your kids. It doesn’t have to be super high, and can be something that they grow up with. When they’re not using it, you can store all their toys up there, too.

Obstacle Course

Obstacle course
Image credits: fotogigi85 via Canva

If you want your kids to not only be entertained but also compete with each other, this obstacle course will be a perfect solution. Depending on your budget and DIY skills, you can create something simple or more sophisticated. Just remember to build a course appropriate to your children’s age.

Bowling Lane

Parents playing bowling with children
Image credits: vladans via Canva

How amazing is this idea? A backyard bowling alley! But look closely, not only is this an easy-to-build bowling lane, but they’ve even cleverly constructed a way to stand the pins after every strike. Genius, I tell you, sheer genius.

Fort On A Tree

Backyard Tree Fort
Image credits: RyanJLane via Canva

Instead of building a treehouse, you can put in a bit less effort while still creating something fun for your children and build this sophisticated fort. Your children will be extremely happy to use it as their playhouse, having fun with friends.