15 backyard play ideas for Arizona families

With the summer months quickly approaching, families will soon have more time to spend together in the sunshine while they make the kinds of memories that childhoods are made of.

The only problem is that as those summer weeks pass by, kids can start to get a little restless. That’s why it’s important to have some fun and creative play ideas in your back pocket ready to go so that you can turn those restless days into days filled with fun and togetherness!

Children playing in backyard

At ALL ABOUT PLAY, we know how important play is to the well-being of children and to the health of the family. So here are our favorite go-to activities that your entire family can enjoy together in that beautiful Arizona sunshine.

1. Cornhole

This fun and easy outdoor game requires just a cornhole board, some bean bags, and a bit of open space. The whole family can have fun tossing the bags into the board with a little family competition. The rules are so simple that all ages can easily take part. So grab your cornhole set and make some friendly wagers! All About Play has a wide variety to choose from or customize one to your liking.

2. Backyard Camping

There’s really nothing more exciting than sleeping somewhere out of the ordinary. Set up a mini campsite in your Mesa backyard with tents or improvised shelters. The Hiking Shack can help you find just what you’re looking for! With a few twinkle lights and warm blankets, your own backyard can feel just like sleeping in the woods under the stars without ever leaving the neighborhood. Don’t forget some snacks and hot chocolate to go with some campfire stories!

3. Bird Watching

Anyone who is fond of bird watching will tell you that it’s really a fascinating pastime. If you’re looking to observe some of our feathered friends, you’ll also have a hard time finding a better place to do so than right here in Arizona. With over 550 species of birds (the highest in a state not on a coastline!), you’ll see a wide variety including the Montezuma Quail, Gray Hawk, and the colorfully named Violet-Crowned Hummingbird. Grab your binoculars and make a list of the Arizona birds you can spot!

4. Sandboxes

We don’t think it gets much simpler and fun than digging and playing in a sandbox. Grab a small pail and shovel, and your kids can have fun for hours in the warm sand away from the desert and right in your East Valley backyard. Hide little toys and prizes in the sand and have them dig for treasure or have a family sand castle competition. Let your imagination run wild!

5. A Children’s Garden

Planting and nurturing a garden gives your kids a lot of good hands-on learning opportunities. They can learn anything from the properties of soil to how to grow a variety of plants and vegetables. At the end of the season, they’ll also have the pride of knowing that they have made something grow that the entire family can enjoy.

6. Tin Can Bowling

This is a super simple DIY game that you can have fun making AND playing! Collect empty tin cans from your pantry and spend a day painting them any color or design you choose. Next, find a level space in your backyard where you can stack the painted cans in a pyramid shape. Finally, it’s time to bowl! Use a ball to see who can get a strike by knocking all the cans down.

7. Feel the Grass (or Turf!) Between Your Toes

Sometimes all you need is a clean space and your imagination to have a good time and get some fresh air in your backyard. Make sure to keep your grass healthy and cut so that you can all run around and play. Better yet, install artificial grass like you’ll find at No Limit Turf for an easy, zero-maintenance option.

8. Cool Down in the Shade

One of the best things about living in the Phoenix area is that you can bet on at least 300 sunny days to enjoy every year. Make your backyard an oasis of play and relaxation by installing some artificial shade (with some help from Patio Partners) for the family to cool off in before another round of cornhole or tin can bowling!

9. Maximize the Fun with a Bouncy House

There’s really nothing a kid (or grown-up!) likes more than taking off their shoes and jumping in a bouncy house. With the help of East Valley Bounce, you can make your backyard into an amusement park for a day! Whether a small house or a bigger castle, invite all the neighborhood kids over for some jumping fun!

10. Inflatable Ball Pit

Are your kiddos still a little too young for a bouncy house? An inflatable ball pit like these at Party Like a Toddler will keep your littles laughing and having fun for hours. Party Like a Toddler can also outfit you with some great climbing toys and rideables all aimed at the littlest kid looking for some backyard fun.  

11. Seesaws

Having fun doesn’t have to be high-tech even if we are living in 2023. Seesaws from ALL ABOUT PLAY are a classic piece of outdoor fun that have been enjoyed by generations of children for a reason. Your kids will not only enjoy the thrill of the up and down and the feeling of weightlessness, but they’ll also learn valuable lessons like teamwork and social interaction. 

12. Bug Hunting

Bird watching isn’t the only fascinating nature activity you can have in Arizona. Bug hunting is also a fun way to learn about all the wildlife you have living all around you. Get down in the dirt or wait for dark and look for fireflies. With a magnifying lens, look closely at the bugs you’ve caught and make notes about what you’ve noticed or make a sketch. See how many different types of bugs you can find right in your own backyard.

13. Trampolines

We said it before and we’ll say it again: Kids. Love. To. Jump. And they can spend hours on a trampoline without getting bored. Spice up their jumping time with a few additions to the fun. Try adding a sprinkler to the center of the trampoline and have everyone suit up and jump through the cool water. Or turn on some music on your Bluetooth speaker and have a family dance party with some cool moves made cooler with the bounce of the trampoline. 

14. Water Cup Races

Nothing like cooling down on a hot Arizona day. This water fun game involves using two plastic cups and two squirt guns to create a backyard race. To set up the game, you will need to cut a hole in the bottom of each cup and string them onto two strings of the same length which are hung outside at chest height. Players then shoot their water squirters at the cups to move them down the string toward the other end, with the first cup to reach the end declared the winner. This game is easy to set up, provides fun for kids and adults alike, and can be played in any backyard with a bit of space to hang the strings.

15. Install a Playset

Finally, you won’t make a better investment when it comes to having fun with your family in your own backyard than installing a playset for everyone to love and enjoy. The playsets at ALL ABOUT PLAY are customizable and you’re sure to find one that lets you do just what you want to do. Whether you want the back and forth of the swing, the thrill of a slide, or the challenge of a climbing wall, our playsets are not only affordable but are made from only the best materials to make sure it holds up for years to come in the Arizona sun.  And a backyard playset is the ultimate gift for children and grandchildren.

Don’t Forget the Ps of Play!

There’s no right or wrong way to play. But while you’re enjoying your outside fun in the Arizona sun, remember the 3 Ps of Play:

  1. Play at Home
  2. Play Together
  3. Play Safe

ALL ABOUT PLAY offers a personalized system for building backyard playsets that combine the comfort and safety of being at home with the excitement and adventure of going to a local playground. The focus is on creating a fun and engaging environment that will attract children and their friends, fostering lasting relationships. Safety is also a top priority, with a commitment to the highest standards during the planning and design process. Our goal is to provide a safe and fun play experience that will be enjoyed by generations to come.

You don’t have to go very far or spend a lot of money to have fun with your entire family this summer with a little imagination and our team at ALL ABOUT PLAY, we can help you find the perfect solution for those summer doldrums. Contact us today or visit our showroom to see what we have to offer by way of memories and fun for the whole family you will carry for a lifetime. 

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All About Play – Backyard Playground Equipment

7931 E Pecos RD #113,
Mesa, AZ 85212

 623-986-7529 (PLAY)