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20 Fun & Easy Garden Play Ideas

Staying in is the new going out

...for the foreseeable future anyway. For us with children, it can be a little daunting thinking about how we can keep our little ones from climbing the walls and running rings around us while we are spending more time at home. The positive is that it’s more quality time with our loved ones; so how can we make this time more fun for those closest to us?

Aside from reading stories, having some screen time, completing puzzles and playing with their toys, we will be sharing our top favourite play ideas to keep you and your little ones entertained. First up we are sharing our top 20 Fun & Easy Garden Play Ideas.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for many more ideas to come!

Thanks to Amelia Cunningham for some great ideas. 

  

1. Animal Mud Bath 

In a bowl add some water, some cocoa powder and some cornflour, mix until it resembles mud. Pop some toys into the mix and in another bowl add water. Little ones will love getting them dirty, then all lovely and clean and muddy all over again! 

2. Painting with Water  

This activity is great to encourage little ones to get creative. Making marks is a wonderful way to get them started on their journey with their pre-writing skills. Simply all you need is water and any type of brush and they are away. You could use props such as a hula hoop to get them to follow shapes, paint their name or just leave it to their imagination and see what they come up with. If you have some chalk you could turn it into a game to draw first and then clean it away. 

3. Spray Bottle Watering  

Water play is fantastic for little ones. If you have an old empty spray bottle put it to good use by filling with water and letting them spray plants or water the garden. If you have some herbs spraying them will release some of the aroma which is turn will enhance their play. If you have some food colouring you could even make a rainbow of various colours for them to choose from. 

4. Petal Power  

Another great way to get little ones involved in water sensory play is by adding a few bits from your garden such as herbs or petals to a bowl of water. You may already have a mud kitchen, a tuff tray or something similar you already use but don’t forget about what you already have at home. Children love playing with all sorts, saucepans and mixing bowls are great tools to use for play. This is a great game to play for making pretend potions, encouraging role play such as setting up a pop up café or restaurant in the garden.  

5. Frozen Toy Rescue  

This is a great source of entertainment for children and adults alike! Best prepared the night before simply grab some tupperware or an ice cube tray, add some toys and top with water, freeze overnight. You could also do this with pom poms, flowers or anything that will easily freeze and capture their imagination. Simply pop the ice into a tray or tub outside and watch little ones try to rescue their toys from the ice.  

6. Tyre Track Painting 

Grab a large piece of paper, some washable paint and some toy cars, make a line of paint at one end of the paper and let little ones push their cars through the paint and across the paper. They’ll love watching the different shapes and patterns they make appear as well as creating colours by mixing the paints.  

7. ABC Treasure Hunt 

Treasure hunts in the garden don’t need to wait until Easter time, these are an exciting and engaging activity for little ones to do at any time of the year. Let your imagination run wild. Draw the numbers 1-10 onto card and get them to find them in the right order or for older kids ABC treasure hunts are great to keep them entertained, little ones could try to find their name in the garden.  

8. Make a Bug Hotel  

Gather up any old leaves, twigs, logs and find an old box or tub then simply fill up as tightly packed as you can. Little critters will love using this as their new home, from ladybirds, woodlouse, spiders and more. A bug garden connects children to nature and they’ll love watching who’s made a home in their garden. 

9. Make a Nature Rainbow 

Have a look around your garden and look for leaves and petals of all the colours of the rainbow. Gather them up and grab a piece of paper for little ones to stick these into the shape of a rainbow. We’ve loved seeing how many rainbows are appearing in windows to show that children are playing and spreading joy across the world whilst they are stuck indoors. 

10. Make your own Paintbrushes 

Have a look around your garden and find interesting shapes and textures that can be used in place of a paintbrush. Dried reeds, long grasses, lavender, leaves, these all make a great replacement for a DIY brush and will create beautiful patterns that children will love exploring.  

11. Make a Bee Water Station 

This is a lovely simple activity to do with children and will attract not just bees but other insects such as butterflies, dragon and damselflys and many more. The water will need topping up regularly so this is a great job that children will love doing as it gives them something to take ownership of. Simply take an old pot and place upside down in your flower bed or near some plants, then take a water tray that would usually sit underneath the pot and place that on the top. Fill the tray with pebbles and then top with water. The bees and insects can land and access the water safely without getting too wet to fly to their next flower.  

12. Teddy Bears Picnic 

An old but a classic, the excitement of bringing your toys to a picnic in your garden is a lovely play activity for children. Grab a blanket, some of their favourite teddies and have your lunch al-fresco with some fluffy extra guests.  

13. Sow Seeds 

It doesn’t matter what seeds you have, watching plants grow from seed to plant is a great activity to do with children and helps them to understand better about how things grow in nature. Growing your own vegetables can also encourage children to try new foods and they will love watering and taking care of them. Having a herb garden is also a great addition to any home, whether they are in a garden planter, hanging baskets or just on a popped on a windowsill. The aromas will create a wonderful sensory experience for little ones. 

14. Shadow Drawings 

Grab some paper and have your little ones draw your shadow or a toy as it falls onto the paper. This is a great activity for siblings to do to create all sorts of shapes and patterns together.  

15. Make Cardboard Binoculars 

These are so simple to make and will keep children amused for a long time. Simply grab two toilet roll tubes and stick together, then sellotape a small piece of string to each. Decorate with stickers, tissue paper or paint. Encourage children to see if they can spot birds through them, you could even make a makeshift den with a blanket and some chairs to add to the fun.  

16. Washing Line Sensory 

This is a great activity for babies, if you have a washing line simply tie on scaves or scraps of fabric that you have to hand around the line. With the gentle gust of wind the sway of these and the colours and shapes they create will have babies mesmerised. 

17. Shape Hunt 

This is a great simple idea to keep little ones entertained. Cut out a shape such as a triangle in card and then cut out the centre so they can look through the shape, glue to a lollypop stick and have a walk around the garden to see if you can find plants that are the same. 

18. Painting Sensory Bag 

This is a lovely sensory activity for babies with none of the mess! If you have a ziplock bag pop a piece of paper or card inside along with a good squeeze of some water based paint. Zip it back up and sellotape the end so no paint can escape, then place on a tray or flat surface in front of your baby. Babies and young children will enjoy splating the paint and the sensory feel of moving it around creating wonderful patterns and colours through the bag. Alternatively you could use shaving foam and some drops of food colouring. A versatile play activity that all ages will enjoy.  

19. Garden Bingo 

On a piece of paper or card, draw nine squares and then in each draw something simple that would be easy for your child to find in the garden such as a butterfly, a flower, a bee, etc. Get them to take a walk around the garden to find each one, you could make these more specific if you want to, such as for pond wildlife, birds, sounds, let your imagination run wild, and enjoy that hot cup of tea whilst they’re busy with their bingo cards, you’re welcome! 

20. Pop Up Play Tent 

Young children love role play and having a space outside that they can use to explore their imagination is a great way to let them play. Our Anti-UV Tent UPF 50+ is a great pop up play space that little ones can use to their hearts content. A castle, a restaurant, a house, whatever it could be anything they want it to be. It has a high anti-UV protection fabric that is water repellent and will keep them protected from the suns powerful rays. Portable and lightweight it’s also perfect for those summer expeditions to the beach and further afield. Available at Amazon now.  

Anti-UV SPF Tent 50+