In case you’ve abandoned the news to recover some of your sanity, let me inform you of something important: COVID-19 is back on the rise. If you’re extending your quarantine (and please, just do it), you might want to start thinking about ways to keep your kids entertained, busy, and moving throughout the summer, especially when you have a bunch of the little rugrats running around the hot grill at the July 4th cookout coming up.
We used to rely on the local parks and amenities for that, but if you have the space for it, your very own backyard can become the ultimate summer playground, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. (Unless you want it to, of course. The more you spend, the more you fun!)
Inflatable Swimming Pool | $140 | Amazon
Whether it’s a financial burden or lack of space, not all of us can afford to have an in-ground pool installed in our backyards. These kiddie pools won’t give you the same feeling of blissful flotation, but they’re inexpensive, easy to use and clean, and fit just about anywhere.
Sable’s model is big enough to house a whole family, and kids will find it roomy enough for some light aquatic freedom. It’ll go from flat to full in three minutes with an electric air pump (not included), and a double release valve makes for quick drainage once everyone’s all shriveled and cold.
Lovely Snail 5-Foot Trampoline | $225 | Amazon
With a 220-pound weight capacity, this 5-foot trampoline could house two to three small children, or maybe even a child and an adult. You won’t have to worry about stability much with three w-shaped galvanized steel legs, and unless you have those shoes from Ernest Plays Basketball, the safety net should keep them from torpedoing off the side. Even better, this one ships with a basketball hoop for added fun.
Sprinkler and Splash Pad | $47 | Amazon
There’s this park near my house that has a splash pad area for some watery fun, but we’re not as comfortable going there these days. Thankfully, you can get your own on the cheap. The one we feature here has a 68-inch diameter, which is wide enough for multiple people to jump in for a quick outdoor shower. It attaches to any standard garden hose, and you can adjust the pressure to send streams of H2O flying into the sky.
Blast Zone Magic Castle Bounce House | $390 | Amazon
Recommended for ages 3-8, this bounce house can hold up to three kids who weigh around 100 pounds each. You’d normally see these reserved for birthday fun, but there’s no good reason you can’t blow it up for random afternoon shenanigans, especially with the included blower that keeps the air flowing as your little ones stomp the life out of it. Blast Magic inflatables review great and thousands of people swear by their safety, and this particular one is pretty affordable compared to similar products.
World of Watersports Super Slide | $174 | Amazon
Show of hands for anyone who remembers the slip-n-slide! This isn’t the same brand, but World of Watersports built a quality water slide with thick, durable embossed PVC that’ll stay stable during your rockiest attempts. An 8-inch-high wall flanks the 100-foot slide, complete with water holes to keep the thing lubricated. You don’t have to use soap to prevent premature stops thanks to the extra slippery material, and it ships with two inflatable sleds for even more speed.
Pure Fun 360-Degree Swivel Seesaw | $66 | Amazon
Kids today have it good, I tell ya’. Back in my day, our seesaws didn’t spin 360 degrees, and they had a lot more rust on them. I’m pretty sure one of them gave me eczema. Skip the junk at the park and grab one of these. It even has weather-proofed coating to keep that rust away. It’s only $66 and is recommend for kids between 4-10 years old.
Lifetime Portable Basketball System | $156 | Amazon
This one might be more “driveway” than “backyard”, but who’s keeping score? There’s nothing like shooting some hoops on a sunny afternoon. Lifetime has an affordable model that erects to a maximum of 10 feet, has a 44-inch backboard, and weighs about 55 pounds for easy transport. Add a cheap basketball if you need.
KidKraft Sandbox With Canopy | $180 | Amazon
For younger children, and maybe even your own inner kid, a sandbox could be a hit. KidKraft’s sandbox comes with two holding bins to get the grains all nice and wet for your grand castle, and an overhead canopy lets the kids play all day without developing a burn. This sandbox is big enough to fit two small children—sorry, mom, but you’re going to have to sit this one out on the sidelines. You’ll need some good sand to go inside, too.
Rosemead Swing Set | $230 | Wayfair
What kind of playground would this be without a swing and slide? The Rosemead set from Wayfair is relatively inexpensive, and that’s probably because it looks more like a public works afterthought than something homely. (It’s perfect if you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan, though!)
Your swing options are quite versatile between two belts, a tire-style, and a double-sided horsey that is completely blowing my mind. There’s a shallow slide on the side to switch things up. Recommended for ages 3-8.
Soccer Goal Set | $50 | Amazon
Gooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaall!!! Kids need cardio, and soccer is a great way to get it. You can get two of these sturdy, stowable soccer nets in a set for $50. Unlike some cheaper models, these include stainless steel pegs to keep them stable in windy conditions. Add a Wilson ball for $13 and get your Ronaldinho on.