It’s been a strange year so far. We’ve had to adapt our lives to new ways of living and interacting. Keeping the kids entertained has been one of the biggest challenges since they’ve been off school, but one of the benefits we do seem to have is the glorious weather that has stayed with us throughout. Let’s utilise the sunshine and the time we have to enjoy our gardens and our little people, so throw open the french doors and extend the playroom into the garden!
We’re all looking for ideas to entertain the kids on a budget, so with this in mind, all the activities mentioned can be created with what you already have at home and in the garden. Some of the best garden activities are the simplest.
All the ideas are adaptable to most age groups, and all can be enjoyed by mixed age groups (ideal for brothers and sisters!). Give older children free reign over how they carry out tasks – let them set tasks for the younger children, and let garden activities move and change with the direction the little ones want to take it, there are no rules!
Things to do with kids in the garden
Kids Cooling Down in the Garden
- Garden Tin Foil River
Kid’s love playing with water, so why not make a river basin out of soil and rocks, line the basin with tin foil, and pour water down it! Create mini trees and shrubbery out of weeds and flowers and for maximum enjoyment, make little boats out of leaves, or even ice cube boats! (freeze cocktail stick flags into ice cube trays) Lego men definitely enjoy a bit of white water rafting!
- Water Park for Toys
Get filling basins and buckets with water and make the ultimate water park for those treasured toys – you could even make some water slides for them out of biscuit tin lids! (tip: add a bit of soap, which means bedtime favourite ‘smelly teddy’ finally gets a wash after 3 years!)
- Toy Car Wash
Unfortunately the little ones are still too small to wash the car, but the toy cars could all do with a hose down! Build a car wash line using brushes, sponges, bubbles, maybe even a hairdryer at the end! The older kids can practice on the family car…
- Frozen Fossils
Take some of the more hardy toys such as plastic animals and dinosaurs, and freeze them in a block of ice. Pop them into a container, fill with water (maybe even some food colouring) and freeze for 24 hrs, then let the kids loose to discover the frozen fossils within! As they chip away at the block, using all their scientific knowledge to try and melt the ice with the heat of the sun, water and salt, sit back and relax with some ice of your own…in a glass…with a cocktail.
- Land of the Tents
Need a bit of shade from the sun? Have an excessive amount of sheets and clothes pegs? Then set the kids to making the biggest tent warren ever created, they’ll be kept busy, shaded and may even want to live in there for a few days.
Kids Exploring Wildlife and Plants in the Garden
- Garden Creepy Crawly Safari
What better place to be an explorer, than in your own backyard? A magnifying glass or just an empty glass jar can be a great way to inspect these little critters up close – see how many different creepy crawlies the kids can spot – get them to study insects up close, try and identify them, and even draw them. You could even play bug bingo!
- Bug Hotel
It’s approaching summer, and whilst we may not be escaping abroad this year, the bugs are definitely on the hunt for a place to stay. Build a bug hotel by first creating a frame with spare bits of wood (or a large unused plant pot), then pack full of sticks, rocks, leaves, bricks – whatever creates some nice little crevices to attract new residents.
- Garden Veg Patch
It’s not too late to plant some seeds, or buy some young veg plants, so get the kids gardening! Children love to see things grow and having the responsibility to nurture something themselves. It’s also a good way to get them interested in eating veg and salad. Win, win.
- Fun Rock Garden
Give the kids their own corner of the garden – maybe the spot that’s too shady to grow anything? Let them create a fun rockery with miniature succulents and painted rocks – it will keep them entertained for hours.
Kids Imagination and Creativity in the Garden
- Garden Treasure Hunt
Have the kids excitedly jumping out of bed ready to find treasure! Treasure hunts aren’t just for Easter – leave lots of clues hidden under rocks, buried in the soil, under the cat. (The frozen block might be good to incorporate too!). Have a treat ready as the treasure, or even just reclaim their toys* along the way. (*Save from pirates.)
- Garden Obstacle Course
A lap of the garden? Easy you say. Well how about adding some obstacles to jump over/crawl under/carry/balance on/spin around? You will get roped into this, but the truth is… you’ll probably want to have a go yourself anyway! Rotating clothes lines do not support the weight of an adult. You have been warned.
- DIY Skills
It’s sometimes hard to remove the bubble wrap when it comes to parenting, but life skills such as how to saw wood, hammer a nail or how to use a screwdriver are fast fading. If you have scrap wood lying around, let the kids try it out – you’ll be surprised how well younger children adapt to using tools and are less likely to lose a finger than you think!
- Garden Nature Art
The options are endless here – make a giant picture on the lawn using only found materials such as leaves and stones and twigs, and photograph from an upstairs window. Colour grouping for younger kids – separate leaves, flowers etc into groups by colour. Make daisy chains.
Whatever your kids are into, there is a world of garden activities just waiting through that back door. No purchase needed, no special garden equipment required, just household items and minimal prep. These ideas will see you through the summer (and lockdown) and beyond. Not everything in the garden requires a sunny day – it’s great to get the kids having fun outdoors in the garden, in all weather/seasons!