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How to Make Your Own Recycled Playground

By Shaunta Alburger ; Updated September 21, 2017
Recycle an old tire into an exciting swing.

Making your own backyard playground out of recycled materials is not only environmentally sound, it's an enjoyable project. One recycled material for playground building that is readily available and inexpensive is tires. Tires are tough enough to withstand heavy playing, are easy to work with and have almost unlimited use in a backyard playground. Take your kids on a tire scavenger hunt to find the perfect materials for recycled DIY playground equipment.

Tire Swing

Locate a tree branch that is at least 8 inches in diameter and 10 feet tall. Choose a tire that is not steel belted. Wash a tire entirely and allow to dry.

Drill three or four drain holes in the part of the tire that will be the bottom or seat of the swing.

Feed a 16 foot piece of nylon rope through a 12 inch length of rubber hose. Put the rope over the branch so the hose is at the top of branch and equal lengths of rope hang on either side of the branch. Tie a slip knot under the branch. Make sure there two equal lengths of rope left.

Drill two holes in the top of the tire opposite the drain holes, large enough for the rope to pass through and four inches apart. Feed the rope through the tire from the top to the bottom, one end through each hole. Tie the rope in a tight, secure square knot on the inside of the tire. The swing should hang vertically, with the bottom about six to eight inches from the ground.

Lay shredded bark or sand under the swing for protection in case of falls.

Sand Box

Wash a large tractor tire entirely. Use a hacksaw to remove the wall from one side. Use a drill to make holes in the other wall every six inches for drainage.

Dig a hole in your yard the diameter of the tire and about three inches deep. Use a level to make sure the bottom of the hole is even if you have very uneven land in your yard.

Lay the tire in place on it's side, with the side that's missing its wall facing up. Make sure the tire sits flat.

Fill the inside of the tire with playground sand so it is 2/3 full.

Tire Tunnel

Wash a large tractor tire entirely. One third of the tire will be buried to make the tunnel. Drill several holes in the part of the tire that will be buried for drainage.

Dig a trench about a third as deep as the tire is tall when standing on end, plus six inches. Fill the trench with six inches of gravel.

Put the tire on end in the trench, on top of the gravel. Back fill the soil around the tire and inside it. This provides a level ground for playing inside the tunnel. Do not bury less than one third of the tire so it doesn't tip over.


Things You Will Need

  • Non-steel belted car or truck tire
  • Drill
  • 16-feet nylon rope
  • 12-inches rubber hosing
  • Shredded bark
  • Tractor tire
  • Hacksaw
  • Drill
  • Playground sand
  • Tractor trailer
  • Shovel
  • Gravel

About the Author


Shaunta Alburger has been a professional writer for 15 years. She's worked on staff at both major Las Vegas newspapers, as well as a rural Nevada weekly. Her first novel was published in 2014.