An afternoon at your favorite playground is bound to throw you for a loop at some point. From critters in the sandbox to splinters on the seesaw, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. No worries — just try one of these hacks for a safer, more fun adventure. Read on and get ready to MacGyver your local playground!

#1 When kiddo’s favorite jungle gym is closed for renovations, never fear. You can spice up a skimpy playground by making your own jungle gym with yarn. Simply tie pieces around the base of different trees and let them loose.

rope-coursePhoto: Under the Sycamore

#2 Ward off creepy crawlers in the sandbox by sprinkling it with cinnamon before letting your little ones climb in.

sanbox-and-cinnamonPhoto: Lets Do DIY

#3 Transform playground flower bed bricks into a curvy highway with chalk. Not to fear: It will wash off with the next rain shower.

car-brickPhoto: Be a Fun Mom

#4 Let Junior sit on a dryer sheet while going down a static-filled slide. Bye-bye Einstein hair!

slide-staticPhoto: Richard Anderson via Flickr

#5 If your little princess insists on wearing her slippery, plastic “Frozen” slippers to the playground, squeeze on a few rows of glue-gun glue to boost grip. 

glue-gun-shoesPhoto: Central Coast Teaching Tots

#6 Calling all parents of curious tots! Check playground openings and holes with a half-folded dollar bill. To avoid head entrapment, no opening should be larger than a half inch. 

money-for-hacks Photo: redjar via Flickr

#7 For super-crowded playgrounds, write your contact info on your kid’s wrist with a fine point Sharpie and coat with a layer of liquid bandage. You can never be too cautious.

safety-tattooPhoto: Weight Down Weight Loss

#8 Stash a roll of tape and nine frisbees in your playground tote. For a break from swings and things, roll the tape out into a tac-tac-toe board for a friendly, life-size match. 

frisbee-tic-tac-toe

http://missmyrvold.com/2013/05/06/throw-a-jumbo-grad-party/

#9 Be the hero mom or dad of the neighborhood playground by creating a Bubble Refill Station (glycerin, soap, water).

bubble=dispenser-2Photo: La-La’s Home Daycare

#10 No bathroom in sight? No problem! Download Bathroom Scout, an app that sifts through more than a half million public potties to find the one nearest you.

bathroom-scoutPhoto: iTunes

#11 Bring baby siblings to the playground and let them play in a small inflatable pool. They’ll feel like they’re part of the action with the big kids, but won’t get run over by them.

27d61eefdf1d50bfcb35872d4af0ca2fPhoto: My Fabulous Frugal Life

#12 Bucket swings a bust? Clip on a SwingEase, a portable mini seat that securely attaches to standard swings, converting them to fit kids 6-36 months. Genius, right?

honeybee-horizontal1Photo: SwingEase

#13 Keep playground noshes cool and fresh by adding a DIY freezer pack to your bag. Put a wet sponge into a baggie, and put the baggie in the freezer. Bonus: The plastic bag helps prevent condensation, making it great for soothing playground booboos without a mess.

freezerPhoto: Homemade Mamas

What brilliant playground hacks do you have up your sleeves? Tell us in the Comments section below! 

— Ayren Jackson-Cannady