2. 1. This cool tool bench used to be a thrift store nightstand.
You can customize the paint color too. From The Frugal Granny.
3. 2. A refrigerator box becomes a slide.
Only if the kids decide not to make a fort out of it. From The Contemplative Creative.
4. 3. Old sheets and some wood make a campground.
These tents fold up for easy-ish storage too. From Lindsay and Drew.
5. 4. Hang a shower curtain on a Hula-Hoop for another type of tent.
You could make these indoors on a rainy day, if you find a way to hang them up. From The Craft Nest.
6. 5. Use old paper towel rolls to make a marble slide.
As a kid, I loved the crafty potential of paper towel rolls! Find this on LooLeDo.
7. 6. Three words: DIY Mario Levels.
There isn’t a tutorial for this one, but you could let it be the jumping off point for your inspiration. Via Dos Family.
8. 7. Collect recyclables into a water wall.
It may look like trash on a wall to YOU, but to the kids, it’s a magical thing that makes the water go in different directions. This tutorial’s from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning.
9. 8. Or make it for balls, not water.
It’s so fancy, but prettier than the plastic bottles. From Learning Through the Clutter.
10. 9. Feeling carpenterish? Make a dollhouse.
Sutton Grace has printable plans.
11. 10. This simpler dollhouse is made from a CD shelf.
Although the house-looking part came from Michaels, I’m sure you could make it work with another CD shelf. Originally on Sew She Sews.
12. 11. Option 3: update a chest of drawers.
Really, you can make a dollhouse out of many things. This one’s from Turkey Feathers.
13. 12. Puppet theaters are also really awesome.
This one, from The Creativity Exchange, uses a cardboard box.
14. 13. Bake fake food in an upcycled fake kitchen.
Directions at Giggle Berry Creations.
16. 15. Race marbles down pool noodles!
Pool noodles are the best dollar-store find, ever. On Spoonful.
17. 16. Tap into your artistic side with a giant chalkboard.
Great for a backyard, so the chalk dust doesn’t go everywhere! From Apartment Therapy.
18. 17. More art: in the bathtub!
This homemade puffy paint doesn’t even stain the tile. By Chalk in My Pocket.
19. 18. Because cardboard boxes are basically the best.
Tape it together like they did over at All For the Boys, and it’s collapsible.
20. 19. After you paint your house, make a drumset.
You just might want to buy ear plugs too. From Green Street Workshop.
22. 21. Or try this other version, made with washi tape.
This one’s from Playful Learning.
23. 22. Use PVC pipe to make a bow and arrow.
From an awesome Brave-themed party on Nothing But Country.
24. 23. Send water or sand down these cool tubes.
It just takes some zip ties and funnels, according to Little Preschool on the Prairie.
25. 24. Let your kids spy on the neighbors with a PVC periscope.
You might have a Harriet the Spy: Next Generation on your hands. Directions on Instructables.
26. 25. Experiment with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol to make dancing ribbons.
A great way to get them off that PS3, maybe. Maybe. From Twig and Toadstool.
27. 26. This magnetic fishing pole is a super clever idea.
You’ll have to find some old wooden spools. I’m not sure if they’d be worth the effort, but you can decide that for yourself. Directions on Made by Joel.
28. 27. This seesaw purportedly costs less than $20.
For advanced or daring DIYers only — the plans are on Ana White: Homemaker.
29. 28. This DIY sandbox is prettier than a store-bought version.
30. 29. When it gets too hot outside, let the fairies come inside.
Mommy Blessings put a lot of effort into her fairy house and got lucky enough to find a pretty tree trunk. But it’s a beautiful inspiration!
31. 30. These scooters will give you an excuse to refinish your wood floor.
Just make sure to confiscate them after the refinishing job’s done. From Crumbbums.
32. 31. Turn a plastic bin into a pirate ship!
Ahoy! You can also use a cardboard box, a laundry basket, or whatever else you have on hand — Inspired by Familia also uses it as toy storage.
33. 32. Another upcycled piece of furniture: a dress-up headquarters.
Maybe this will inspire her to hang up her dress up clothes when she’s done? From A Turtle’s Life For Me.
34. 33. Like Lincoln Logs, but life-sized.
Make the ultimate pull-apart playhouse. There are plans via Play Scapes for $13.
35. 34. Use an old keyboard for a kid-friendly laptop.
This way, they can “help” you write those emails without having to use your keyboard. From Monzanitas.
36. 35. Fabric scraps make great blocks.
Even better: they can throw them at their sibling, and no one gets hurt (physically). This would work with Stitch Witchery and an iron too. Directions on Zaaberry.
37. 36. Get them jumping with some hopscotch.
This one only requires hot glue, and it’s reversible. Via A Girl and a Glue Gun.
38. 38. Bring this in the car with you next time you take a road trip.
There aren’t direct instructions for this project from The Boo and the Boy, but I bet you can figure it out. Switches, knobs, and buttons are the best.
39. 37. Inspire them to become a doctor with a felt playset.
It either requires a needle and thread or some Stitch Witchery, but it’s so cool. Especially the X-ray thing. From Sew Can Do.