15 + garden play ideas + a Little Tikes #giveaway

garden play ideas

Finally, the sun is shining, the chill has left the air and that can only mean one thing – time to let the littles loose in the garden to play! I’ve talked about why outdoor play is so important for children, and the good news is that now that the better weather has finally arrived, there are lots of easy ways to turn your garden into a playground equalling hours of outdoor fun. Here are some ideas to get you started!

Set up an outside toy wash

I don’t know about you but my daughter is obsessed with washing anything. Usually my response to washing any of her toys indoors during the winter months come with visions of the kitchen floor being covered with suds – argh! Out in the garden though, give them a tub, some washing up liquid, some sponges, brush and towels and their toys of choice and they will be as happy as Larry!

Sidewalk chalk

The chance to draw all over the patio!!!!? Who can refuse that? As simple as getting some chalk and letting their imaginations run wild. Random doodles, hopscotch or perhaps something more educational. This post is packed with great sidewalk chalk ideas.

Bug hunt

Your own garden can be the most amazing place for your littles to discover a wide variety of bugs. Dish out a printable bug hunt sheet, arm them with a bug box and let them get busy.

Paint some rocks

In our neighbourhood, rock painting and hiding has become an obsession. Set up a rock painting station outside, get them painting, then hiding around the garden, then finding them again! If they don’t know what to paint, point them in the direction of these rock craft ideas here.

Water play

I don’t know what it is about water play but kids just love it and will happily be occupied by it for hours on end. Look for something like the Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship Playset which is loaded with exciting water-themed activities that your little one will love – think squirting water from a cannon, creating currents with a spinner and generally splashing away the day!

Garden play ideas Little Tikes

Water balloon fight

This one will never go out of fashion. The chance to fill, throw and soak. ‘Nuff said.

Garden scavenger hunt

It’s not just bugs that are great for a hunt around the garden – there are so many more treasures to find! Here’s a garden scavenger hunt printable to get your started.

Dig for worms

Any time I need to do a bit of planting around the garden, it’s always time to go worm digging too. So many different shapes and sizes to explore, and kids are fascinated by their wriggly nature. It also means you get a bit of hand with digging those holes too!

Obstacle course

For something a little more up tempo, set up an obstacle course in the garden. This is a really useful guide to setting up an obstacle course in your garden (which will hopefully have them sleeping like a log at night).

Bubble bursting competition

I don’t know what it is about bubbles but it seems to send kids into a total frenzy. Thankfully if you get a Gazillion Bubbles Machine or similar this activity doesn’t mean you the unsuspecting parent having to blow a bajillion bubbles – you can sit back and relax (and drink a Pimms and Lemonade if you so wish) whilst the kids run around like maniacs on a mission to burst as many bubbles as possible. Or just get them taking turns with a standard bubble wand.

garden play ideas

Cloud spotting

A good way to unwind after an obstacle course, it’s amazing the things you can spot in the clouds when you take the time to look. The perfect way to fuel their imaginations.

Chase butterflies

Is there anything more magical than watching your child chasing butterflies in your back garden? Why not sow some butterfly meadow seeds now to entice more butterflies to the garden to enable chasing delight over the summer months?

Teddy bear’s picnic

Yup, just like in the song. These have really come back into fashion and you kind find them all over National Trust properties and stately homes so why not hold your own private one (it will be a lot more cost effective after all!).

Garden soup

…or witches potion, or whatever they want to call it. This is a fab little sensory play idea which gets pretty yucky as your little one chucks whatever they can find in the garden into a pan with some water in it. Warning: not for consumption!

15 + garden play ideas

Outdoor artist studio

There is something very different about painting out in nature. Sure, the kids might have been holed up indoors all Winter doing crafts and painting but trust me this is different. So drag that easel out, and let them get busy with their creations. You can also string up a line for them to peg their creations onto and hold a mini exhibition at the end.

Build a den

The ultimate kid’s hideaway, all you need is a sheet, some string and some pegs to build a simple den…oh and a bit of adult help! Obviously you can go more fancy if you like, but the beauty of children is that they are usually happy with the basics. Here’s a handy guide to creating a simple garden den.

So you see, the garden really is a child’s perfect playground. These ideas are a great place to start but of course the possibilities are endless! What are you favourite garden play ideas? Perhaps you have some to add? Do leave a comment and share.

***Giveaway: Win this Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship Playset on my giveaways page here***

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  1. Great ideas, my five year old daughter loves playing in the garden with her chalk and bubble machine, her slide, seesaw and trampoline, she loved collecting snails, I can’t wait for my 13 month old daughter to join her this summer, we had a few nice days but are now back to rain and wind, being on summer xxx

  2. My nephew loves to race up and down the garden, whilst pushing one of his push along toys.

  3. I have a little foster daughter at the moment and she at two is loving the garden. She loves playing on the slide the best, but also her little bike and she has a little tykes bubble car too.

  4. My daughter loves playing on her bike in the garden and always asks for the paddling pool as soon as theirs a glimpse of sun !!

  5. What brilliant ideas! My children love water play and bubbles I never thought of a toy washing area brilliant!! They also love to grab a big paint brush, a tub of water and ‘paint’ the fence magically it drys and they do it again!

  6. My children love playing with sand in the garden, plus their slide and a game of football.x

  7. my son is loving digging holes at the moment lol holes everywhere x fab giveaway looks amazing x

  8. we have a little tykes water fountain pipe centre we bought for our 2 year old in our garden along with the park their daddy built and a vouncy castle and water pool and sand pit , its pretty busy but most importantly fun in our garden , when i was little it was a bat and a ball in the field or stilts or pogostick x

  9. My 3 are always in the back garden, especially my almost 2 year old, she gets up in the morning and points straight to the back door (even when its raining) she loves the water table at my mom’s so we have been considering getting one for her birthday in June

  10. My little boy loves to play in his sandpit and play house in the garden. He loves to play with water too so we have to empty the sand out his sandpit to change it into a paddling pool. He would absolutely love this pirate ship!

  11. Its all about the outside playhouse at the moment. As I’m too big to fit in I’m sometimes demoted to the role of postman – just passing by haha

  12. would love to win for my friend, she is a childminder and her little chums would love this

  13. My daughter loves playing on her bike in the garden and always asks for the paddling pool as soon as theirs a glimpse of sun !!

  14. My nephew comes to visit and he always goes straight for the chunky chalks from the shed and just chalks for hours! It was really warm one day and our cat Gizmo decided to sunbathe on my nephews chalk drawings, so when he got up, he looked like a rainbow cat! Full of colours!

  15. My youngest daughter is expecting my first grandchild this year and this would be a lovely surprise for her. I’m so happy!! ☺

  16. Me and my three year old son love to go exploring for bugs in our garden as he is obsessed with all wildlife.

  17. Brilliant ideas here for garden play, my daughter loves to go down her slide and organise the gravel! #coolmumclub

  18. We’re finally getting rid of our rock landscaping and putting in grass so we can take our 18 month old outside to play safely! Running over to put my name in the hat for that pirate ship! My husband will kill me, but my daughter will be thrilled!

  19. Our girls have come into their own in this nice weather and it’s so lovely to get back into a bit of outdoor living! A few new ideas on here as well as some of our faves…our two are in heaven with a bucket of water and a sponge!
    Thanks for your co-host magic as always Talya xx #COOLMUMCLUB

  20. My nephew loves going down the slide into the paddling pool and my niece likes to draw with chalk on the pavement.

  21. My grandchildren love playing in the mud and splashing about in the paddling pool, sometimes combining both

  22. When it’s nice they love playing in the sand pit and the paddling pool, pretending they’re at the beach. This pirate ship would fit in perfectly with their little games.

  23. My children love playing with sand and water as well as their playhouse and slide.

  24. My son likes to play with his swing ball set in the garden – he is slowly getting better at it!

  25. My nephew has just started crawling….this would be great for him as her grows up x

  26. We bought Piper, Daisy & Leo some pump action bottles which are really intended for spraying plants but we fill them up with water and the kids absolutely love chasing each other (and us adults!) around the garden spraying each other. May has been brilliant so far for them because it has been so hot that they’ve loved being able to cool off with their spray bottles.

  27. My grandkids love the mini trampoline. Certainly keeps them busy when im on babysitting duty lol

  28. My grandchildren love to help dig the garden, planting seeds and flowers and watching them grow, and then eating all the delicious vegatables

  29. my grandchildren love playing in the garden especially with water and my grandsons find it even more fun to keep adding water to the sandpit much to my grandaughter’s dislike

  30. we love being out in the garden! either on the trampoline or having water fights. We just bought a game (I cannot for the life of me think what it’s called though) where you put a thing with velcro on on your hand and use it to catch a tennis ball, it’s great fun x

  31. My two year son loves to paint, so I fill a saucepan with water, give him a paint brush and he ‘paints’ the patio! He loves it!

  32. My daughter loves to play “giving dolly a bath and washing dollies clothes in the washing up bowl in the garden” . Either that or going up and down her slide about 50 times 😀

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