10 Steps to Creating a Summer Fun Area


Sports Complex

Is your kid really into playing sports? Then she might benefit from -- and love -- having a place to practice her favorite sports at home. Once again, how detailed you can get depends on your space and budget. Most sports need a lot of room and a level playing surface. But it also has a lot to do with your kid's sport or sports of choice. Take baseball, my personal favorite. We had balls and gloves, but we also had a pitching net and a basic pitching machine -- perfect for practicing even when nobody else was around. If you're handy, it wouldn't be tough to build a batting cage to contain the balls and keep things safe. Or you can up the experience by getting some bases and building a mini diamond. The whole family can get involved.

Basketball is even simpler. You can buy a kid-sized goal that you weight with sand or water, or you can permanently install a regulation-sized goal. Soccer fans would love a grassy area and goals -- many of them also come with "pitch back" (the ball bounces back to the kicker). These can double as a street hockey goal with the addition of some sticks and a puck. For young football players, you can buy (or make from PVC pipe) a goal post, a kicking tee or a kicking net. With a big enough yard and some chalk, you've got your own little gridiron. You could even have different sports zones in your yard if it's big enough!