Best way to create an outdoor play area for kids until we move?
May 20, 2014 1:53 PM   Subscribe

We are moving out of our little rental house in about 6 months but until then our kids desperately need a play area. The best options are either the concrete patio or the wooden deck. It shouldn't rain much here in the next 6 months, but there will be plenty of falling leaves. Any ideas for how to convert either of these spaces into usable play areas? The patio would need some sort of kid-fencing, whereas the deck would just need that plastic side netting. But the floors of either would require something - but what? Astroturf? Those interlocking foam mats? Some third thing I don't know about? Ideally the solution is economical enough to make sense for six months (or it's something we can keep when we move), and it doesn't destroy our rental.
posted by Anonymousness to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How old are the kids and what are you looking to do? We had a Little Tikes playhouse (something like this) and sandbox (the turtle kind) on our wooden deck and I loved it. It'd be easy for you to take it with you when you move. Also that stuff is usually available on Craigslist.
posted by radioamy at 2:11 PM on May 20, 2014

Just get the interlocking foam mats; they are cheap and portable and will be useful in your next home -- you can configure them as rugs in kid rooms, double layer them next to beds if you're worried about kids falling out, etc.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:12 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kids can play on all sorts of surfaces, including concrete and a wood deck in good shape, though crawlers and toddlers might do better with padding and fewer splinters. I like the interlocking foam mats - I have them in my kitchen under a rug. A rug would probably do just fine, too. I find rugs made of synthetic yarn to be quite durable, washable, and water-tolerant, not just 'outdoor' rugs. Sweep the leaves off frequently. If you are a DIYer, you can make a painted canvas 'rug.' I might put up a deck umbrella in a base, maybe one in a table, to have a space to eat.

If possible, prep both spaces - put up the plastic mesh, and make the patio usable. Kids like variety. Maybe one space for kids to be able to run around, the other space for eating, artwork, etc., or one space in afternoon shade.
posted by theora55 at 2:43 PM on May 20, 2014

Put them on the deck and let them 'paint' the floors with a bucket of water and a paint brush.

The most fun play area would be a junk pit. Anything that you are considering dumping during the move should go out there. At some point, tell the kids not to touch it. And then enjoy the quiet while they disobey. Children are the quietest when they believe that they are doing something wrong.
posted by myselfasme at 4:34 PM on May 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

We bought outdoor carpet from Home Depot or maybe Lowe's for our balcony, and it's fantastic. Covers the gross concrete, is easy to vacuum, doesn't get moldy or weird if it gets wet, and softens the surface for playing. I think we spent about $36 to cover a space that's 6' x 18' or so.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 5:06 PM on May 20, 2014

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