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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!).
…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!
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***