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    WebMD Parenting Community: What’s in Your Backyard for the Kids

    It can be expensive and time-consuming to set up a safe, fun children’s play area in the backyard. One mom, whose son is growing out of a lot of the early childhood toys they have, is planning a new play area and is asking for input in our parenting community.

    “I just bought a swing set tonight and it will be here next week. That will be a huge hit with the kids for a while,” she says.

    The discussion quickly moves to the benefits and drawbacks of particular swing sets -- what grows with kids and what doesn’t, and whether “vintage” metal sets are as safe as modern wooden versions. One mom describes how she’s adapted her wooden swing set, enclosing an open space below the slide platform into a clubhouse, with a bench and chalkboard.

    Another mom has an airplane-shaped seesaw for her kids. “We got it last year from the Easter Bunny, and it can have up to seven kids on it at once, great for imagination as well.” Her kids also enjoy trying to grow tomatoes in their small garden plot.

    Other popular play items include sand tables, water tables, connecting tunnels, and inflatable pools. Several moms note that they keep smaller outdoor play items like balls, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and sand toys corralled and enclosed in deck boxes.

    Not everyone has a yard full of play equipment. One mom says that her sloped backyard is great for rolling down and snow sledding, but that toys like a basketball hoop and soccer net are stored in the garage until it’s time to use them. Her family takes great advantage of a nearby children’s park, as does another mom whose yard consists primarily of garden space.

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