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Beyond the traditional swing set, we love adding kid friendly backyard ideas into our designs – things that are unexpected and more unique. As a company founded by moms, we put our heads together and came up with some imaginative play outdoor activities that will provide hours of fun. Check out below for some kids backyard ideas – for the little to the big ones!


A modern take on a swing and the land option of a surfboard, the Swurfer is a fun toy that will entertain for hours. It can be treated like a traditional swing or kids can stand and sway side to side like their surfing. Hang it from a tree in your yard and let ‘em rip! The Swurfer website is sold out of the traditional swing option but does have some great baby swings, rattan porch swings, and spider riders. Amazon has some in stock! User tip: the tree straps are super helpful to keep the swing from tilting. 

Ninja Warrior Course

If you haven’t tuned into Ninja Warrior on TV,  grab some ice cream, park it on your couch and watch the super human strength of these athletes. Don’t feel guilty about your ice cream, it’s #quarantinelife. Inspire the kiddos to get active with their own Ninja Warrior course that they can conquer solo now and with friends in the future. It’s a great way to wear them out during the day so they’ll go to bed before the sun goes down (maybe). 

Zip Line

If you have space in your yard, a zip line can be a great daredevil source of entertainment! We love Zip Line Gear for their extremely attentive customer service. They facilitate a call to help you set up your zip line and you can borrow the tools for the install and then return for a refund – super helpful if you are the DIY type! 

Rock Wall

Take your yard to new heights with a rock wall or climbing wall! Mount the climbing holds to existing kids play structure or even a large tree (mount with straps) and let your kids pretend to be a mini Alex Honnold. Build strength, confidence and have fun while doing it! 

Backyard Movie Theater

There are many ways to create a backyard movie theater, but we love the concept of using a classic projector. You can get as inventive and technical as you like with the screen, but a simple white sheet firmly attached to the side of your house can do the trick. Pull out the lawn chairs, comfy pillows, some citronella candles, speakers  — top it off with some popcorn and you’re all set!

Hook & Ring Game

It’s so simple… but we can guarantee your kids will be hooked. The hook and ring game involves delicately swinging a ring with the goal of hooking it. Yep – that’s it, but there is something soothingly addictive about it. DIY by screwing a large hook into a tree and using any sort of a ring from the hardware store. Or you can order a set online and install. Just make sure you don’t install it near another play space so no one gets bonked in the head.

Bocce Ball Court

The Italians know a good thing when they see one – pasta, wine, pasta, wine… and bocce ball! Tilly recently spoke with popular lifestyle site, The Manual, about how to install a Bocce Bar in your yard this summer. This is a guaranteed fun family activity, paired perfectly with some cheese and wine at happy hour. Requests from clients for bocce ball courts have gone up as well – with courts of all different sizes.

Built in Chalkboard & Sandbox

Tilly recently designed this great chalkboard and sandbox for a client in Ohio. Store some chalkboard paint in a box and you’ve got a great play area for the kids!

Tilly Design with a Chalkboard & Sand Box

Fire Pit

A fire pit can be a complex built in feature with a gas line for your outdoor space or you can purchase a portable one at your local hardware store or online. No matter your set up, there’s something reminiscent of simpler days when you are huddled around a fire. Late nights, s’mores, a drink, chatter – whether you are spending time with a little one or a kid home for the summer, everyone will be happy! 

Tilly Design with a Fire Pit

Beyond these ideas, we know little kids love and will have endless fun with sidewalk chalk, a water table, sand box, splash pads. These are all items that can be worked into any backyard landscape design. Have a great backyard idea for kids? Share in the comments below.

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