The backyard is your kiddo’s safe haven. When the warm weather finally turns up, it’s a sure bet she’ll spend hours pouring tea for friends—imaginary and real—while dreaming up castles, jungles and other wild adventures. Add to the excitement with easy projects perfect for a warm afternoon. From music walls to wind spinners and painted garden sticks, scroll down for ideas promising to add a touch of flair to her little patch of sunshine.
1. DIY Bird Feeders
Bird feeders come in all shapes and sizes and this one is way too cute not to share—not to mention, one of the easiest versions we’ve seen! The mama bloggers at Eighteen25 picked out their favorite cookie cutters, added basic birdseed and a few other key ingredients to make peck-worthy hanging feeders for feathered friends. Fly over to Eighteen25 for the entire list and tutorial.
Photo: Jen Sedillo via Eighteen25
2. Wind Spinners
You love the way wind chimes look, but the constant, well, chiming drives you a little crazy. Enter a wind chime that doesn’t make noise—yup, the genius behind this project is Sam, kiddo to Sarah of How We Learn. It’s all about looks and not so much function with this DIY backyard project. Find out the secret to keeping it silent, along with why more color is better by grabbing the whole how-to from How We Learn.
Photo: Sarah Noftle via How We Learn
3. A Gnome’s Home
The Travelocity gnome might stop by for a visit if you’ve built a wee home in the side of a tree, it’s that irresistible. A mini door—easily found where miniatures are sold—rocks, twigs and other teeny tiny items create a welcome spot for those ground dwellers. Jennifer Pilcher provides the inspiration for this whimsical project over at SnapGuide.
Photo: Jennifer Pilcher via SnapGuide
4. Painted Garden Sticks
Simple and colorful, painted garden sticks are an easy way to add pizzazz to your backyard: different shaped sticks and multi-colored rows can brighten up any space. Head over to Sweet Things Designs for more on this art project the whole family can do in just one afternoon.
Photo: Sarah Rosensweet via Sweet Things Design
5. Garden Tic Tac Toe
Lazy summer days call out for cool drinks and countless games. Be inspired to create your own version of a kid’s classic—Tic Tac Toe—by checking out how Alecia of Chicken Scratch NY designed her set. Opt to paint adorable ladybugs or plain old X’s and O’s, either one will get two thumbs up from your players. Want to know where to find the perfect stones? Skip over to Chicken Scratch NY for the instructions.
photo: Alecia via Chicken Scratch NY
6. Backyard Chalk Board
Keep up with those ABCs during the summer months or play endless games of Hangman with a backyard chalkboard. You don’t have to be an HGTV pro to whip up one these, and Dallas Moms Blog contributor Amanda has the tutorial to prove it. Pssst! Her best tip for this DIY: make friends with your local home improvement store employee. (They’ll set up you with everything you need!). Get the low-down from Amanda over at Dallas Moms Blog.
Photo: Amanda Hunter via Dallas Moms Blog
7. Spring Theater
Make the garden center stage with a spring theater. Set the scene for sweet blooms by designing a place to watch bulbs pop up and grow—help your tiny sprouts notice the little things in life! Using mostly garden materials, the hardest part about this project will be stepping away. Get the details on how to make one of your own over at Imagine Childhood.
Photo: Sarah Olmstead via Imagine Childhood
8. Mud Pie Kitchen
Dirt and kids go together like water and clean—something that will be on your mind after setting up a mud kitchen out back. For a simple but effective creation station, we love the set-up from Joyful Home. Scour thrift stores for old furniture and dig through your old kitchen supplies, add water and dirt and presto! You’ll have the littles baking up delicious(?) pies while the sun shines. Find out where mama Mendy found her supplies over at Joyful Home.
Photo: Mendy McIntire via Joyful Home
9. Music Wall
Grab those earplugs. It’s true, the noise coming from a music wall like this one we found over at Suzy Homeschooler might be a tad loud but the sound of your kiddo’s happy laughter will be sweet music to your ears. The upcycled wood, toys and tins make different sounds, look way cool and are all budget finds. Head over to Suzy Homeschooler to find out how to make your own version.
photo: Caitlyn Stock via Suzy Homeschooler
10. Garden Toadstools
We love how these ultra-cute garden toadstools from Melissa J. Will at Empress of Dirt add a touch of whimsy to your backyard space. The work is minimal (hint: materials include wooden salad bowls) and easy enough for the kids to join in. It’s a perfect backyard project–especially if that gnome is still hanging around.
Photo: Melissa J Will via The Empress of Dirt
11. Garden Markers
If there’s an easier way to get your kids stoked about planting, we don’t know about it. There are so many ways to decorate stones and rocks—ones either found or bought—and we are diggin’ these adorable yard buddies whipped up by Liska of Adventure in a Box. You may want to decide what you actually intend to plant before having your helpers bust out the paint supply, or, just let them go wild and create all manner of veggie and fruit pals. For the how-to, head over to Adventure in a Box.
photo: Liska Myers via Adventure in a Box
Which kid-friendly backyard addition do you plan on trying? Let us know in the comment section below!
— Abigail Matsumoto & Gabby Cullen