kid friendly ideas small backyards

7 Kid Friendly Ideas for Small Backyards

Do you struggle to get your kids outside because you have a yard the size of a postage stamp?  Or maybe you don’t have a yard at all!

Yeah, I remember those days.  The apartment with just a boring concrete balcony.  The community grass area that you CANNOT leave any toys on or the lawnmowing powers that be will have a fit.

No space, no problem

Well no more!  Of course, if you don’t have much outdoor space it is great to get out to the local park or river.  But that is not always possible.  If I have an extra 15 minutes, I just want to step outside.  It would take that whole 15 minutes just to get everyone ready to leave!  That means we need fun outdoor ideas that will fit anywhere.

The key to this is vertical, portable, and multi-purpose.  Vertical takes up less square footage so that is always a plus.  Portable is perfect for apartment living or switching out activities in a small yard.  And of course multi-purpose gives you more bang for your space.

Now here are 7 kid activities and ideas to get your started!

Movable water wall – portable & vertical

What kid doesn’t love water?  And with a movable water wall, you can have fun water play pretty much anywhere.  Grab a board, some recyclables, and get creative!  This one looked extra fun from over at Things to Share and Remember.

You can move the board in or out and just temporarily secure it nails or hooks.  This is also a win because you do not have to have hose access to play with the water.  You just need some containers.

water wall
DIY Water Wall from Things to Share and Remember

Patio Plants – portable & vertical

My oldest daughter has quite the green thumb.  It makes her happy as a clam to have a little garden space.  But you don’t need as much space as you think to have a garden.  Or vegetables!  Try some of these vertical planting ideas.

rain gutter garden
Rain gutter garden from Pinterest
vertical garden
Modern vertical garden from Man Made
trellis garden
Trellis garden from
ladder garden
Ladder garden from

Hidden Activity Picnic Table – portable & multipurpose

Now this is an idea I love!  As long as you can keep the sand out of your lunch 😁  The hidden activity space could hold sand, water, blocks… I’m sure the kids can help you decide.  This photo is a build-it-yourself but you can also buy one.

DIY kid picnic table with sandbox from Ideas 2 Live 4


Movable Chalk Board – portable

Just like the water wall, this chalk board can be moved in and out as needed.  An easy play activity for the patio or balcony.  This one was re-purposed from an old cabinet door.

DIY chalkboard from Old Block House

Rolling Mud Cart – portable

A fellow toddler mom shared this brilliant mud cart and was gracious enough to let me share with you!  She said:

It’s made from 4 crates nailed together and put on lockable castors so that we can wheel it out to the front patio and store it easily in the garage. Currently has buckets for water, sand and one for stones/acorns/leaves/sticks…/ looking forward to adding to it on our nature walks!!

I’d like to thank her so much for sharing.  This is a very doable project and I know the kids love getting messy.

mud cart

Bubble Station – portable

You can’t go wrong with bubbles!  Set up this bubble station and they can just help themselves to a fun playtime.  And for those younger kids who want to spill their bubble solution in the first 10 seconds, I’ve also seen genius moms who tape the bubbles containers to a pole or table leg.  Then the kids can come back and dip in for bubbles without it everywhere.  Brilliant!

Homemade bubble station fromMust Have Mom

And of course you need your own bubble recipe!  This is my all time favorite bubble recipe.

  • 1 gallon distilled water
  • 2 cups liquid dish soap
  • 1 cup corn syrup

The kids can help you mix it all together and the gallon jug is excellent for storing the extra bubbles.

Playset – vertical

Usually when you think of a swing set or play structure, it is too big and sprawling to fit in any small backyard.  Well, let’s think vertical!  I love this tall hideaway fort from Barbara Butler.  Think up and outside the box.

hideaway fort
Hideaway fort from Barbara Butler








It really comes down to getting creative with your space.    Drop in the comments any other activities or ideas for small outdoor spaces!

See you outside!

Need more ideas for DIY Outdoor Spaces?  Check out our Pinterest Board!

DIY outdoor spaces pinterest board



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