Backyard Idea: The Summer Fun Station

Long, lazy days are one of the season's sweetest pleasures. Still, they leave your crew with a lot of hours to fill. A DIY supply station, stocked with all the essentials for warm-weather fun, can encourage self-sufficiency and banish cries of "I'm bored!" And it all comes together with stuff you probably already have on hand. Set up this simple, budget-friendly system on a covered porch or patio or tuck it into a garage. It'll help you have the best summer yet.

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Set Up the Base

Photograph by Sabrina Helas

Set Up the Base

An old shelving or storage unit or (as we used) a thrift store baker's rack can be spruced up for duty with a fresh coat of paint. We applied rust-resistant spray paint, a good choice for outdoor use.

Originally published in the June/July 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Divide & Label

Photograph by Sabrina Helas

Divide & Label

Make it easy to find supplies for different activities by storing them in labeled bins. Go for sturdy containers that can stand up to a little weather. We used rubber tubs, customized with chalkboard tape (available at craft stores). Tubs, $2.49 to $31.99, tubtrugs.com

Originally published in the June/July 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Divide & Label

Photograph by Sabrina Helas

Divide & Label

Make it easy to find supplies for different activities by storing them in labeled bins. Go for sturdy containers that can stand up to a little weather. We used fruit crates, sanded and coated with acrylic paint to protect fingers from splinters.

Originally published in the June/July 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Grow Some Friends

Photograph by Sabrina Helas

Grow Some Friends

For a learning element, let kids choose some "pet plants" at the garden center. Have them pot them up in painted cans (for safety, cover any sharp edges with duct tape), and set them in the sun whenever they play.

Originally published in the June/July 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Add Refreshments

Photograph by Sabrina Helas

Add Refreshments

Stock a small cooler with ice, drinks, and snacks each morning. We tagged this unit with acrylic paint and stencils.

Originally published in the June/July 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Keep Tootsies Tidy

Photograph by Sabrina Helas

Keep Tootsies Tidy

Playing outside, little feet get grimy. Set this foot-washing station -- a plastic basket filled with smooth rocks -- in a spot with good drainage, close to your home's door, to keep dirt from coming inside. Kids stand in the basket and hose their toes; the dirt drains away through the rocks while the station stays clean. Keep a towel nearby for drying.

Originally published in the June/July 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Ingredients for Tons of Fun

Photograph by Sabrina Helas

Ingredients for Tons of Fun

Stock the shelves with these entertaining supplies:

  • sidewalk chalk
  • sand toys
  • bubble solution
  • sunscreen and insect repellent (set high in a "Potions" box)
  • washable paints
  • yard games and balls
  • kids' gardening tools
  • flashlights
  • jump ropes

Originally published in the June/July 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.