20 fun garden play ideas to keep your kids entertained + #win #wickeyplaytime

fun garden play ideas

If there’s one thing that the last few months have taught us, it’s that you can have a lot of fun without leaving the house in your own back garden. So while the swings at the local park are still closed, we’ve teamed up with Wickey outdoor play equipment to put together this list of fun garden play ideas you can bring to life in your own back garden.

There’s also an exciting chance to win one of their fantastic wooden swing sets – the Swing Wickey Smart One worth £219.95 – a classic single swing that guarantees great swinging fun even in a small garden – more on that down below! But in the meantime, if you’re thinking of investing in some outdoor play equipment they really do have a fantastic range of wooden climbing frames, swings, sandpits, playhouses and more.

20 fun garden play ideas to keep your kids entertained

Make a water wall

If you’re anything like us, you will probably have a load of stuff headed for the recycling bin. So grab those cans, bottles and plastic containers, pierce or drill holes into the bottom of the items and fix them to an old bit of trellis with either a hot glue gun or garden wire. Hey presto! You have a water wall 🙂

Have a blind water gun shoot out

Think your typical water gun bonanza but with the added crazy of shooting each other blindfolded. Best played in two teams with one person on each team being the “guider” and providing instructions for the shooter. But we have played this one-on-one also.

Play swingball

We are huge fans of this retro game making it one of our top fun garden play ideas. I spent hours on end playing this in my youth and kids still love it just as much now. If you don’t know what swingball is – where have you been? Essentially, a game played by two people using bats and a ball hung by a cord from an upright post, the objective being to wind the cord around the post. Hours of fun!

Go bowling

We picked up a kids bowling set years ago and it is still going strong. You can have a game of just good old bowling, or try different variations like bowling backwards, disco bowling (dancing as you bowl!), tiptoe bowl and anything else you can think of!

Play water balloon pinata

Perfect for a hot summer’s day, attach a string or rope between two posts/tree branches/walls or whatever’s handy, fill up as many balloons as you can with water, hang them up from the rope and have the kids take turns hitting them with a baseball bat/broom handle or similar and let them get soaked!

Create a fairy garden

Although you can buy fairy gardens to plant, making one is just as easy. For a super simple version, all you need to do is line an old oven baking tray with some potting mix, and let you kids use their imagination as they use gravel/small stones, plants and flowers to decorate it. They can use a small plant pot for the fairy house and a little saucer to make a pond.

Hold a mini Olympics

This is one of our favourite fun garden play ideas and a brilliant afternoon of activity. You can be imaginative with this one but some of the “heats” we love to include are sprint, long jump, limbo, bean bag toss, hula hoop competition and discus (using paper plates). Don’t forget to make some medals to finish off with a medal ceremony at the end!

Create a paving art gallery

Got some chalk? Got some paving stones? Then you are all set to create a paving art gallery. The idea here is that each paving stone features a different creation by a different household member. It’s loving to see all the different “artworks” created sitting side by side.

Set up an obstacle course

Kids love an obstacle course making it one of our top fun garden play ideas, and it’s something you can get away with even in a smaller garden (like ours!). Let your children design and lay out an obstaacle course which they have to complete (they have better imaginations than us!). They can also make themed obstacle courses involving water, stuffed toys, balloons or whatever else they come up with.

Play mini-golf

To set up a fun mini golf course, all your really need is a bunch of stuff destined for the recycling (think tubes, tubs, jars, cans and cardboard), a final hole dug in the garden, plus a cheap kids golf set. Let the kids design the course (and giggle at what they come up with), and off they go!

20 outdoor play ideas #outdoorplay #backywardplay #playtime #kidsactivities #summer

Enjoy some cloud gazing

For when a good chill is the order of the day, there is nothing like encouraging a bit of out of the box creativity with cloud glazing. A really nice activity when kids need a bit of calm, it’s also a great way of helping them to connect with nature.

Go on a mini beast hunt

A minibeast hunt is another great way of encouraging kids to get up close with nature, and you would be amazed at how many minibeasts you have lurking around in your front garden. The Woodland Trust has a useful minibeast hunt list you can print off here.

Play teddy bear hide and seek

This one is especially great if your child has no siblings to play with and for when you don’t feel like hiding in a cupboard for half an hour. Grab as many teddy bears and stuffed toys of theirs as you can, and hide them around the garden for them to find.

Build a den

This is a great one to do after you’ve done a load of pruning around the garden. Save the offcuts of any branches, twigs and leaves for them to create the backyard den of their dreams.

Play Quoits

We’ve recently gotten into this and finding it pretty addictive. Quoits is a traditional game which involves the throwing of metal, rope or rubber rings over a set distance, usually to land over or near a peg for different amounts of points. You can pick up an affordable set online.

Chalk games

Did you know that with just one piece of chalk, there are so many different games you can play? Some of our favourites include hopscotch, avoid the shark. 4 square, mazes and more. We love this list by Activities for Life of the various chalk games you can play.

Play water balloon dodgeball

You know the rules of regular dodgeball? Well, this is basically the same but with water balloons. So fill up a large bucket with a load of water balloons and let them go for it! The ultimate in fun garden play ideas.

Tug of war

Total classic which never fails to bring the competitive side out of anyone. Line the kids up and let the craziness start as they compete to be the strongest side.

Play blanket run

Got an old blanket or duvet that you don’t mind getting mucky? Kids always have a whale of a time dragging each other back and forth in this fun activity. If you have enough kids you can also get them involved in a relay (otherwise they are usually quite happy just dragging each other back and forth).

Watergun target practice

There are a few ways you can spin this one. Either by chalking up a target for them to take aim at, or stacking up a load of cans to knock over. You can even string up some paper plates for them to take aim at. Ready, steady, shoot!

We hope you enjoyed our list of fun garden play ideas. Which of the above do your kids love to play? Or perhaps you have some more to add to the list? Do leave a comment and share.


We are super excited that we have teamed up with Wickey in this chance to win one of their fantastic swing sets – the Swing Wickey Smart One – worth £219.95!

Enter on our giveaways page here

Picture credit: Flower photo created by nensuria – www.freepik.com


  1. Lots of fantastic ideas here! We like to play water games in the hot weather, water guns, pool, water balloons. Lots of fun and a great way of cooling down!

  2. Some great ideas. I loved swing ball when I was younger. We’ve done a few of these. Made a start on a fairy garden. We’ve made obstacle courses, played with a splash pad that we have and also made hopscotch on the patio with chalks.

  3. These are all wonderful ideas and I especially love bowling with the family. I am still waiting for the Bowling Alley near me to open back up as I miss it and it is always a blast with the kiddos. I am going to use a few of the other amazing tips you have listed here so thank you!

  4. I’m the kind of person that I think making kids play outdoors and keeping them out as much as possible is really important.

  5. My kids love being outside. Their favourite things to do are playing on the slide, in the paddling pool and bat and ball.

  6. Ooh what a great list of ideas. So many of these I surprisingly haven’t heard of. Definitely good activities to keep in mind!

  7. Water fights, playing in the pool, looking for bugs and a bit of gardening! we love been in the garden.

  8. I love this post because it just goes to show how simple it can be to host a whole heap of fun activities in your own back garden. You don’t have to be sophisticated or high tech to create the biggest belly laughs for both little & big kids alike. It is certainly about the quality of time spent! We love doing obstacle courses in our garden & our little lady is a keen entomologist so we are always picking up creepy crawlies!!

  9. Arlo love to be outside, he enjoys his slide and has great fun with sand play. He loves bugs and insects and watches them for ages, but he’s not keen on worms!

  10. We haven’t had much of a garden as we are having an extension built but when we have got out there, my 3 have loved playing hide and seek.

  11. Some lovely ideas here. I’ve said that we are going to host our own sports day in the garden this year as they won’t be having one at school.

  12. Amazing, looks sturdy and good quality. My son would love a swing of his own in the garden – our local park took the swings away (before lockdown happened) due to being vandalised which is such a shame for the young ones.

  13. Mine like to make elf soup by mixing lots of things they find in the garden with a bucket of water and stirring it up with a big stick

  14. Leo loves to play on the trampoline. The trouble is, he encourages the dog to get up there with him too and there really isn’t enough room for the two of them so they always end up in a tangle with the side netting.

  15. Anything involving water. Literally a tub of water and some containers, and I get an hour to myself!!

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