Outdoor Play Area Ideas + Tips

When my family and I moved out of our tiny Chicago apartment and moved into our new house in PA, I was excited to create an outdoor play area for my kids. My idea was to set up something simple but engaging so I could sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in the mornings on my porch with my girls. We just renovated the interior of our new home and didn’t have the budget (or time) for larger outdoor play equipment this year so I wanted to create something budget-friendly.

After researching and hunting around locally, we settled on the item below for some outdoor fun this summer. This setup would work well in small yards, porches, decks and patios. I hope this helps give you some inspiration for creating the perfect play space for your kids.

I’ve included links below to where I purchased my items. I do make a small commission on anything purchased through these links. For a more budget-friendly way to create a similar play space, I definitely recommend looking on your local Facebook Marketplace or yard sale groups for outdoor items!


Choosing Your Items

First I chose 2 larger items that I knew my girls wouldn’t outgrow this summer and would get a lot of use. An outdoor playhouse seemed like a good pick as well as a water table. I like that the water table is versatile and can be used for a variety of different activities. See below for some ideas other than just water in your water table. I also loved that the playhouse can be used year-round. Before purchasing, I made sure that the playhouse would be tall enough for my oldest child. Definitely check on height and age recommendations before making your playhouse purchase.


Water Table

The water table we have is currently out of stock on Amazon but there are plenty of other simple water tables to choose from.

Ideas to keep the water table interesting:

  • Fill with water beads
  • Add some soap for bubbly play
  • Food coloring
  • Fill with sand
  • Fill with oobleck for a fun science experiment
  • Create a mud bath
  • Baking soda and vinegar fizzy fun
  • Shaving cream play

Little Tikes Backyard Bungalow House

I spent a long time looking for a playhouse that didn’t break the bank. Wood is crazy expensive right now and so are outdoor toys in general. This Little Tikes play house is pretty cute and the price wasn’t too bad. My girls have loved playing in it so far. Big win.

Kitchen Sink

My youngest has taken a liking to climbing up on our kitchen counter and playing with the sink. I saw this fun play sink on a lot of other Facebook mom groups and it’s living up to the hype and is helping to deter my toddler from climbing onto the counters.

Artificial Grass Rug

To create some cushion and a visual divider for the play area, we bought this artificial grass rug from Home Depot. You can’t beat $22 for an area rug – especially for one you know will get destroyed by children.

Adult Seating Area

Don’t forget to create a small space for you and your coffee (or wine)! I painted these old rockers that were left behind on the porch of our new house (they need one more coat, I’ll get around to it eventually) and bought these cushions and small side table from Target.


Recap Tips:

  • Stick to 1 – 2 larger play fixtures
  • Create a visual divider
  • Check your local Facebook Marketplace or yard sale sites for outdoor items on your wish-list
  • Glow-up some old furniture
  • Check height and age recommendations before buying a playhouse


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