When my brother and I were growing our parents were given a big old trampoline by a neighbor that we didn't just jump on, we LIVED on that thing for years during the summer. So, two years ago I bought one over the phone and had it delivered just in time for my daughter's birthday. It was a large gift. It was not cheap. It has, however, been used every day of its life (including winter!) and I can't remember something that has given more joy to young and old alike. I've jumped on it in the sun last Sunday morning and lain on a cold fall night for star watching. The one above is identical to what I bought and you can get it at either Jumping.com or 1800Trampoline.com. What's your favorite yard toy?
- Wooden Bench Swing - From $29, This one $160
I found this lovely handmade bench swing made by The Original Tree Swing on ETSY, but you can certainly find many more at lower prices in the same place. You can also make your own! Just don't skip this treat. It's sort of the best one.
- Slip'N Slide - $12.90
Manufactured by Wham-O since 1961 after being invented by Robert Carrier, the Slip'N Slide now comes in a dizzying array of versions, all of which are cheap and will last just long enough for one or two afternoons of great fun. I've linked to the Retro Edition above, but I would also hunt for the more expensive and more sturdy wherever you find it.
- Fun Ride Zip Line - From $46
I've looked all around for a very good, heavy duty, easy to install zip line for kids and adults and this is the best one I've found - The Super Z. Their zip lines are all good and start with the Classic for $48. Made by Spring Swings, it's the top of their line, comes with a 90 foot-long cable and carries up to 250 lbs. If you want to get even more serious, spend more money and get into zip harnesses, then you should head over to BackYardZipLines.com.
- Rope Hammock - $159
This classic rope hammock is a Pawley's Island rope hammock. You can certainly find them cheaper, but this is a great, classic and very sturdy design from a maker in North Carolina since 1889. They also make many versions of this basic design.
- Acadia Croquet Set - $199.90
There are a lot of great garden GAMES. I will include only TWO: inspired by this vintage croquet set that I found on Etsy, I dug around for a really high quality new version in the same style. I finally chose this set by North Meadow, which makes a whole range of croquet sets in the USA. You can easily find a totally cool set for as low at $20 here.
During my vacation last summer, I had the honor or playing Kubb in Sweden on Midsummer's Eve. A totally great lawn game for kids and adults (with or without drinking) it is both simple and fun. The ultimate goal is to knock down the opposing team's soldiers before knocking down the king in the middle. The difficulty is that both teams can "save" soldiers and bring them back to life by knocking them down on the other team's side. Hard to explain but easy in practice, the tossing of rods and knocking down of soldiers is addictive and the final win satisfying.
I found a simple version for sale at Amazon, but you can find other versions, both simpler and more fancy, elsewhere. You can also make your own. This is a big recommend for the summer months.