Arm certain parents with a length of rope, a hose, nails and a backyard … and they can create a playing wonderland for their kids. We have found two families whose imaginations have inspired us. These DIY backyard fun ideas are so good, you simply have to try them out!
iggy tiggy in the figgy
IGGY: I‘m going to get you Tiggy: then tag you In the Figgy: in the fig tree
If your kids are lucky enough to land a play date at the Munfords, they’ll no doubt end up swinging around inside their 80-year-old Tropical Fig tree. In this game of tiggy (whether you’re tagging or escaping), you’ll be climbing rope ladders, monkeying around branches and jumping on boxes. Just don’t touch the ground at any stage, as that’s against the rules of ‘IGGY Tiggy in the Figgy’.
Mark and Rae Munford presented their son Kurt with 50 metres of rope for his 8th birthday. For a creative boy with a large imagination and a fantastic backyard, this challenge promised loads of outdoor fun. On hand was his dad Mark, who has the DIY know-how to engineer all manner of ideas, which is how their very clever game was born.
They filled their Tropical Fig tree with swings, ropes, bridges, ladders and step boxes to create the ultimate game of tiggy, all within the tree. This game is a year-round favourite. Summer leaves offer plenty of disguise and places to hide; but in winter, when the autumn leaves have fallen, you can move through the tree with real speed. Forget the extra soccer training … these skills will set your kids up for any sport!
create your own
Ideally, you need a large tree with loads of branches, although this game would also work with two or three trees closely planted with intertwined branches – just make sure it is strong enough for several children. Maybe you could make use of a strong fence along the side of the tree. This could be ideal for a bridge, or for climbing into higher branches or into the next tree.
a few ideas from the Munfords:
- Rope ladders and/or rope swings to ‘Tarzan’ from one side to the other
- Rope bridges (these can be as simple as two lengths of rope one above the other)
- Pole bridges (two poles with rope handles)
- Wooden bridges and ramps (connecting various parts of the tree)
- Big boxes on the ground to move from one part of the tree to another without touching the ground
- Monkey bars (a great place for an old ladder)
- Tree roots can be used as a safe zone and to help manoeuvre around the tree
- Foot holds put into the trunk (don’t kill the tree of course) for easy climbing in certain areas
- Like climbing trees or playing on playgrounds, there is always an element of danger that comes with learning the skills.
- Make sure older or more boisterous kids are watched closely or play separately to the younger and less-confident kids.
- Make sure your ropes and monkey bars are tied properly and won’t trap little fingers and toes.
This game of soapy-sud madness is played on the trampoline. Originally, it was designed to get the kids clean in summertime, but is now played in all seasons (not for the faint-hearted in the winter months!).
The Davis family have two sporty boys, and are always looking for ways to inspire energetic backyard play. It’s easy to play this simple, fun game. The boys, Reuben and Henry along with any friends visiting, get into their swimming togs, grab the dishwashing liquid and the garden hose. Squirt the tramp with the soap, hose it down and then start jumping, slipping and sliding. Watch the soap suds grow … watch the boys get clean!
Mike and Kath recommend:
- Use eco-friendly dishwashing liquid, or bubble bath for sensitive skins.
- Trampolines dug into the ground or with sides are safer when slipping and sliding.
- If you have an open trampoline off the ground, have spotters around the sides to catch any wayward tumblers.
- Set a few rules so you don’t end up with too many kids (banging heads) on the tramp at once.
more DIY from tots to teens: