There are days when I am very, very thankful for our tiny backyard. It's fenced and gated, and I can see almost all of it from the kitchen. This has been a life saver a number of times over the past few weeks when I felt like Edwin needed to get outside and play (and I needed a mental break) but it didn't really work for us to go to the park.
We have a sand box on a little porch right outside the kitchen, a great patch of dirt (the garden) and enough random stuff to entertain a toddler. We both enjoy the freedom he has to explore.