Backyard Idea: The Summer Fun Station

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.

01 of 07

Set Up the Base

Kid sitting in front of yellow shelf full of bins and stuff
Photograph by Sabrina Helas

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.

02 of 07

Divide & Label

Green bucket labeled "SPORTS"
Photograph by Sabrina Helas

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

03 of 07

Divide & Label

Stack of colorful labeled fruit crates
Photograph by Sabrina Helas

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.

04 of 07

Grow Some Friends

White-and-blue can with plant inside
Photograph by Sabrina Helas

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.

05 of 07

Add Refreshments

Blue cooler labeled "COOL" next to chair with ukulele in it
Photograph by Sabrina Helas

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

06 of 07

Keep Tootsies Tidy

Yellow tray of rocks with flip-flops over it and sprayer hose under it
Photograph by Sabrina Helas

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.

07 of 07

Ingredients for Tons of Fun

child playing on floor
Photograph by Sabrina Helas

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

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