This story was produced in partnership with Walmart.
Spring is synonymous with warm breezes rustling the leaves, the comforting buzz of lawn mowers starting back up, and the collective sigh of relief from parents everywhere as they can once again send their kids outside to play. No one knows this feeling better than Peter Mutabazi, a father of four who uses his social media presence to share his family’s journey from foster to adoption, spotlighting the wild but wonderful ride that is single fatherhood. When it comes to getting kids of all ages and stages to unplug and get outside, Mutabazi knows how crucial it is to find ways to make it happen.
“The outdoors truly brings out [my kids’] playful spirits,” Mutabazi tells Fatherly. “It can be cramped indoors with a large family, and [backyard time] is an opportunity for us to get out and stretch our legs.”
His trick to getting the whole crew excited about soaking up the sun and fresh air? Providing them with plenty of options, and then: playing right along with them. Whether the main focus is a sprinkler for those blisteringly hot days or a soccer set to encourage a little friendly competition, Mutabazi notes that the right gear can make a world of difference. “The kids are often [more inclined] to play outside if I provide an activity or a toy. And when parents are willing to get out and play, the kids are always more excited to go, so I make sure to get outside with them.”
If you’re worried you don’t have the perfect space for creating outdoor fun, Mutabazi recommends keeping an open mind. From his point of view, a pristine, picture-worthy play space is not a prerequisite for quality family time — all it takes is the right mix of outdoor products, and any old yard can become the stuff that adventures are made of. “Our yard is not for show,” Mutabazi admits. “It is definitely well-loved and we use it to its fullest.”
And when you have a family as big as Mutabazi’s, finding accessible products that provide maximum entertainment is key. That’s why he turns to Walmart — the brand’s backyard play roundup is a great resource for parents looking for ideas that inspire family togetherness and unforgettable memories. Keep reading for a glance at the budget-friendly finds this dad has on deck to keep his family occupied all the way ’til fall.
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There’s no better way to cool down on a hot day than with a good-natured squirt gun duel. This colorful combo option boasts a large tank and long-shot range — true necessities for any epic water battle.
This pop-up soccer net scores points for easy assembly and super-simple storage once it’s game over. It comes equipped with ground stakes to keep the goal in place, encouraging kids of all ages to go ahead and take their best shot.
Every outdoor activities director deserves a solid place to sit, and this durable, oversized option offers enough space for little ones to crawl on your lap when it’s time to take a break. Storage is a cinch, and it’s also got a fold-down side table that’s there when you need it.
Backyard campouts are the best, and Mutabazi loves this six-person tent because it’s big enough to fit his whole crew, and it’s easy to assemble. The best part has to be the full mesh roof design, perfect for backyard star-gazing on warm, clear nights.
Water balloon fights are another crowd-pleaser, especially on days when the temps are climbing and the A/C just isn’t cutting it. This kit lets you fill 100 colorful balloons in under a minute — without having to hand-tie anything. Less work and more splashing is the name of this game.
No pool? No problem! Just because your kids are outgrowing that well-loved plastic kiddie pool, doesn’t mean your family has to miss out on the fun. This no-tool setup, above-ground pool is perfect for withstanding all of the water play one family can handle.
This swing set is designed with equal consideration given to comfort and safety. It makes Mutabazi’s list because it lets up to five kids play at once, with different activity options for every age, size, and play preference, so nobody ever has to feel left out.
This colorful bounce house will make everyone happy. Kids can spend hours bouncing to their heart’s desire while you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing the built-in electric pump and transparent mesh walls make for an easy — and safe — setup.
Imaginative play takes center stage in this realistic pretend playhouse that features working doors, windows, shutters, and even a mail slot. It’s lightweight enough to move around the yard or even indoors when the weather turns cooler, and easy to assemble in just a few quick steps.