home playground

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by mars, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. mars

    mars Member

    Feb 16, 2005

    I am interested in inexpensive, creative ideas for a home playground. Preferably what can be made with free or cheap materials like sturdy pallets, large wooden spools, tires and anything else you can think of. Of course safety is a concern.

    thank you

  2. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2003
    How about a tree house - if you don't have trees to build it in, you can "make" them out of posts or you can ask a tree trimming company if they'll let you have any trees that they cut down. The tree house itself can be built from scrap lumber. You can hang rope swings and tire swings from the tree house floor beams if they're high enough off the ground.

  3. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 20, 2004
    Victoria Australia
    :) Sandpits go down well...if you cant dig a whole...get a big tractor tyre and fill it with sand. :)
  4. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

    Jun 16, 2002
    South Central Kansas
    Just a week ago my daughter told me how much she enjoyed playing in grandpa's sand pile. It was simply a pile of sand left over from concrete work.

    She also mentioned how much she enjoyed playing on a grader tire that I had partially buried in an upright position. I was a little afraid of black getting onto everything as the tire aged, but it didn't seem to have any that go onto clothing.

    She also dearly loved her first swing, just one swing on a frame. She never mentioned the later purchased set that had swing, slide, one of those double things you pump with your feet, and a trapeeze type of swing.

    Kids seem to love a low balance beam to walk along and I'm sure it does help them learn to balance themselves.

    Be sure to play on all of the things along with your child/children. That will make it more fun for the both of you.

    Edited to add, I salvaged a bunk bed ladder for her to climb on. She and her friends loved it. By it being short there wasn't much danger.
  5. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 25, 2004
    Don't laugh. Small children, especially boys, can be amused for hours on end with a "fort" made from an old refrigerator box with some windows cut out of it. Not permanent, but easily replaceable.
  6. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 6, 2004
    Michigan's thumb
    If you ever take down any trees, the trunk makes a lovely climbing toy, just lay it down and let it be. Also, a car tire hung from a tree for a swing. Since tires comein different sizes, you can hang one sized to your kids. There is a way to cut a tire to turn it into a horse swing.

    A Radio Flyer wagon has a lot of uses, for toddlers, kids, and teenagers. you can pull them, or they can pull each other.

    If you have a tree, you can also tie a few pieces of sturdy rop to hang down. Just put a few knots in it, at the end, and eight inches up a couple of times (think Tarzen). A clothesline with a blanket draped over it makes a dandy tent. Bushes that are cleared out underneath are fine forts.

    COUNTRY WISHES Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    NW NJ's lakeland hills
    With a large wooden spool and tires I would definately make a table and chairs. Kids can use this to play all kinds of games like school, tea party, restaurant, house etc.

    If you can build a small shelter too it would be a great place for a clubhouse and meetings. Of course tire swings are great and sandboxes of some kind.

    How about a low level stage or puppet thearter with tires set out for the audience? All kinds of things could go on there.

    Just make sure that whatever you make has good padding under it if it is climbable. This will protect your children and yourself if anyone else's children use it.
  8. mars

    mars Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    Thanks for the suggestions. I got a chuckle over the sand comment. How well I remember , what fun a big pile of dirt was ! I know a man who spent a fortune on play equipment, yet the kids preferred climbing on a boulder.

    The kids are too young for an average playset. I want to build something that can be altered or added to as they grow. Railroad ties or telephone poles are good for balanced walking and can later be used for something else.

    I see many interesting items to purchase but I think they are overpriced. For the children's sake, we want to supply something that isn't available at the neighbors. I don't mind spending a couple hundred dollars But I want it to be spent on something that is 'cool' and will be used.

    I'd appreciate any DIY from those who have found a cheap alternative to the store kits.
  9. mars

    mars Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    Somehow I erased this from the earlier post.

    Years ago I ran across a web site that explained how to make your own play equipment. One of the idea was monkey bars from scaffolding equipment. I haven't been able to find that site again. When I do web searches for DIY play equipment, I only get results for the pre fab DIY kits.

    Any sites like this or just ones with clever ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  10. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2003
    TeeterTotter-A barrel (like the one's for burning barrels) and a board, couple big bolts. Hours of fun!

    Pile of Dirt-Add matchbox cars, army men, buckets, shovels, and old dishes. When the kids get older they can even shot their bb guns and try and knock over their army men on the dirt....then try and find all their bb's in the pile, lol.

    Big piece of plastic/or cardboard on a slope-A big homemade slide. In the summer you can put water on the plastic and it becomes even more fun.

    Bouncy tree's-my kids spent hours and hours bouncing on low limbed tree's.

    Inner tubes from tractor tires- Make sure you duct tape over the spout though. Sit inside it and roll down a hill. Try and bounce on it. Great for more kids to play on at once, they all can sit on it and try and bounce each other off. (Not for little kids, but school age kids!)

    Hay bales- Let them make forts, mazes, and barracks to play in.

    Bull Barrel- Hang a barrel from a couple tree's with ropes, and the kids can pretend they are riding a bucking bull.

    Teepee-Adults can find some big limbs, and make a teepee out of wood. Securing the top with some rope. It's nice if you have two teepee's that way the kids can play war. Try to invade the other teepee with spitball guns. Or as my older kids do with paintball guns. :eek:
  11. Ozark-Dew

    Ozark-Dew AMDG

    Aug 3, 2005
    I would caution with the tires as chairs idea if you live in an area prone to pit vipers as some like to take refuge in them.

    We do not have very many nicely limbed trees, we mostly have very tall pine trees with the limbs all being much higher up than even our home. So, we thought dang no rope swings etc - but my father on a visit nailed a board (2x4? 1x6?) with 6" spike like nails across two of the tall pines and attached a bracket with a ring hook, a couple S hooks and chain and a seat and the kids still have a blast on it 3 years later. (we need to put up a couple more as they are always waiting for their turn)

    I saw at the do it yourself store, kits for making a nifty tire swing - the tire remains in a flat position so more than a couple children can swing at once, there was a swivel divice at the top where the ropes meet the branch or board. I think the price seemed a bit high to us for what it was, but a clever person could probably get what they need from the hardware store.

    The girls got an idea from "family fun" magazine a while back, to nail old bakeware pans onto stumps. a pizza pan painted red with big white polka dots makes a cute mushroom chair when attached to a stump. We have some small spools (wooden and plastic) that cable and wire were once wound around - I am thinking we could make portable chairs by doubling them up and using the bakeware for the seat, and perhaps a single high one for a toadstool footstool.

    We always liked hopscotch as children - you could make up stepping stones by using quickrete and a large plantpot drain tray(saucer) for a form for a circular hopscotch. Press in those plastic children's abc and 123 fridge magnets or use polished glass "rocks" (like what you put in aquariums) or marbles to form your #'s in each round. Cut the pockets from an old pair of jeans fill with popcorn kernals or other seeds and sew across the top to close for a bean bag to toss from circle to circle, rather than have the children throwing stones. You could make several bean bags in two different colors and use them as the playing pieces for a large out door tic tac toe.

    Tunnels are always fun for little kids - maybe one of those cement drainage pipes or culverts?

    A pulley on a clothesline that is attached from two trees at different heights can become a zipline for exciting rides. I would put them at a height that if the legs were stretched out they would touch the ground - so in order to use it they would have their legs tucked up under their bumm, this will be safer if there is a mishap from a misgrip.

    Monkey bars can be made with a ladder and parrallel bars can be easily fashioned for a variety of tricks and never ending activity.

    I used to love those sit and spins when little as did all the children I babysat over the years - perhaps one can be modified with a post for hanging onto and instead of sitting the child can also stand on the 'seat' and twirl around the post?