5 DIY Sports for Kids You Can Set Up In Your Backyard
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It’s time to prepare for a backyard makeover. With these fun DIY projects, your backyard will be a sports center in no time!
Small Multi-Sport Wall
Don’t have a lot of space but still want fun sports for kids to practice your tennis swing? Setting up a multi-sport wall in your backyard is easy. For a 12 foot wall, use 13 4x4s 12’ long and space them every 12 inches. Dig a hole at least 3 feet deep for every post. Fill in the holes with concrete. Mount 12’ long 2×12 boards (about 8 for the 8 foot wall) horizontally. Then mount ¾” plywood using 3”long screws to penetrate the posts. Then you’re ready to waterproof it and paint! You can keep it simple and just draw a line at net height, paint it one solid color, or get a bit more fancy and paint it look like a court. Optionally, you could make a base with wood on 4” inch locking casters and attach the boards with hinges and push it to the side when not in use.
For a less permanent fixture, set up a bolo toss, sometimes referred to as ladder golf, in your backyard. An official bolo toss must be 24” wide, have 13” space between each rung, 13” on the stand in the back, and 24” on the stand in the front. Essentially, you’ll need 5 pieces of PVC 24” long and 8 pieces 12” long per ladder. Recommended thickness is ¾” as ½” tends to break easier. You will also need 2 ¾” PVC elbows and 6 ¾” PVC pipe Tees. Before assembly, spray paint 3 of the 24” pieces a different color. Also spray paint 6 tennis balls each color (you’ll need 18 total for a 3-person game). Be sure to use spray paint meant for plastic or it will wear off quickly. After the paint is dry, assemble the ladder, with the elbows on the top of the structure and tees at each connector point of rung and structure. Use PVC pipe glue if you want to keep the structures permanent, or skip the glue for easy disassembly. Drill a hole ⅜” wide all the way through each golf ball. Cut a nylon rope into 20” pieces. Tie a knot on one end, and thread each piece through two golf balls. Tie another knot at the end and measure the space between the two balls and make sure it is 13”. Move the knot if necessary. Cut off any extra length and burn the ends to keep them from fraying. Do this with all of the other golf balls. To play, stand 15 feet away from the ladders and toss the balls. Each bolo still left on the ladder at the end of the round counts for points. 3 points for the top rung, 2 points for the middle and 1 point for the bottom. First player to 21 wins.
Backyard Chess and Checkers
For the board you have three options, purchase 64 24”x24” interlocking foam pieces for an easy clean-up game (half in each color, obtain a 20×20 foot wood board and paint it the appropriate colors for a more permanent game, or purchase 64 landscape squares in two different colors. For a checkers set, take 24 5 gallon bucket lids and paint half of them black, the other half red. To create the chess set, get a little bit creative. You can draw chess pieces on the back of the 5 gallon bucket lids, cut the pieces out of cardboard, or theme the pieces as “lawn ornaments” with gnomes as pawns, flamingos as knights, etc. Another idea is to use common household items such as lamps, chairs and garbage cans. Optionally, you could purchase a giant chess set online for about $300.
Creating a sand volleyball court in your backyard as suggested here will be a hit at your next party. A typical court is 60’ by 30’ wide. Outline the area in spray paint then with a shovel, remove the grass in the area. Using a rake, remove any stone or debris. Borrow a steamroller from your local hardware store to make the ground even. Install edging along the outside of the court to keep the sand inside the court area. Purchase about 600 lbs of sand, and spread it throughout the court. Set up your net either by placing poles in the ground with cement or use a more portable net and set it up with stakes. If you’d like, paint your poles and net with a glow in the dark paint so that you can play at night as well as during the day. For less commitment, set up a net on your grass for a game of grass volleyball.
This game is probably the easiest to set up and take down. All you’ll need is: a long sidewalk, 10 two liter bottles, and a ball (this could be a soccer ball, a giant bouncy ball, or even a pumpkin). Optional supplies are two long 2×4’s to set up bumpers to avoid balls rolling off the track – these can also be placed on the grass if you don’t have a long enough sidewalk. Before going outside, take the labels off the ten two liter bottles, and fill each one half full of water with 3-5 drops of food coloring (depending on the weight of the ball you are using, add more or less water to each bottle). If you’d like to play at night, drop a glow stick into each bottle. Once outside, place the 2×4’s on either side of the bowling alley to create bumpers. Set up the two litters in a triangle pattern at the end of the lane. Stand at the opposite end and roll the ball down, trying to knock over the pins.
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