9 fun things to do in the garden: activities for children to keep them busy

This lockdown has us all looking for ways to keep our kids not only happy in the garden but still active and hopefully learning. Sadly these lockdowns have made a fair few kids gain weight (and parents) just look around the playground….Luckily, for not much money at all there is a whole myriad of ways to get the kids doing exercise and away from the computer. I won’t lie, I recently had to impose an all out ban on Fortnite and cut down the amount of time my kids play Minecraft. My kids are 4,6, and 8. So they split the screen and play Minecraft together. It always ends in tears, it’s just a matter of how long. So what I wanted to do this summer is focus on getting them in the garden and being happy.

Also, my sisters kids are similar ages and they are getting bored and it’s the same as above with the computer games so we teamed up to get some ideas going for this article. We’ve had a couple of warm days so I’ve tested a couple of ideas and I have to say one activity was an all out winner if you can put up with it 😀 I would say definitely you’ll need a glass of wine to relax as they get on with it 🙂 I hope you enjoy my ideas on fun things to do in the garden for kids:

Give them warm water in the garden swimming pool

Yes I know, very wasteful but honestly I don’t care. We are very conscious of the environment in general and I have to tell you we all shower quickly etc etc. Honestly there is not really much better way to keep the kids entertained than the top last choice with getting seriously messy :). A garden swimming pool and more of a swimming play set as pictured really will keep the younger ones happy. The garden swimming pools are much better for the older kids and it will literally keep them entertained for hours.

Kids water slide play area is always a big hit

Not only that, the water temperature drops but they keep on playing. They shiver and get themselves burning up a lot of energy and sleep brilliantly through the night. If you’re a parent you must realise how much of a problem night sleep has become since the schools closed and thank god they are re-opened now. My kids would literally still be awake playing Minecraft and I just couldn’t get them off it without big tempers. So in the end I gave in which is probably the worst thing that you can ado right?

Get them some water inflatables and water guns to really get them all fired up. No pun intended 😀

Well an activity like this gets them off to sleep I promise you. 🙂

Get yourself a bouncy castle.

Ok I wen’t absolutely over the top when I bought this bouncy castle when you compare it to the actual size of the garden but the truth is my kids are putting on weight and I really need them to get some serious exercise in. The kids play on this thing for hours at a time, they even just sit in there. I have a rule about no food but that got thrown out the window rapid. They know if they want to eat in there now they need to not bounce, and finish their food first. I draw the line at drinks though for real and mean it 🙂

Best bouncy castle in the UK in my mind 🙂

No I am not a perfect strict parent but then I am not always at home so I leave the wife to play hardball. I get the fun job of being the nice one. Probably a bit tough on the wife but still, she doesn’t mind being the taskmaster anyway 😀 If you want to buy your kids the best bouncy castle then this link is a good shout.

Why not try a bit of badminton with your older kids?

Our eldest is 8 and my sisters daughter is 9. They really engage well. We bought a badminton set and quite frankly it’s not the most used but if we join in too they get involved and will pretty much stay focussed on playing until we stop. I wouldn’t go crazy and spend big money. You can get a decent badminton set for just twenty or thirty quid. Ok, perhaps not decent in the professional sense but good enough that it’ll hold together for the summer and you can enjoy the time with them in the garden.

One thing we also noticed was just how competitive the kids get. This is great in terms of exercise and them wanting to win. It will really run them out of steam and as I keep mentioning exercise is seriously important right now.

Have a bbq and get them involved making food

One thing that really gets my kids going is cooking. So my son absolutely loves bbq chicken wings. What we do is pretty much cheat 😀 I get some bbq sauce, he rolls the wings about in the bbq sauce and I get to teach him a very important lesson about food poisoning. As a result of this one task my 6 year old totally understand the bacteria on chicken and subsequently any surface it touches or splashes will make you very sick.

So we clean up and take those bbq wings to the charcoal bbq. They are a hit every single time and as a result of him prepping them he always eats them all up. Not only that, because he made them I am certain he tells me they are the best bbq chicken wings ever, each time. Be careful not to burn them but of course make sure they are thoroughly cooked at the same time. I like to put the hood down to stop the flames flaring up then smoke and cook them similar to the way an oven will work.

Get them a football net

A kids football net won’t set you back hugely but will give the kids hours of fun. Almost all kids will get involved in a little kick around in the back garden as long as the parents play too. My kids aren’t mad about football but when they heard over to their cousins they turn into super competitive little demons wanting to win at every single activity that is up for grabs 😀

A football net always get the competition levels going

Get yourself a football net that can be well anchored to the ground as the cheaper ones are a bit flimsy but I still wouldn’t bother spending on a quality one as they all seem to rust and look tired if left out over the Winter months anyway….

Make or buy a climbing frame

This is pretty low down on my list of priorities but still worth a shout. The kids have a playhouse (up next) and whilst it gets some use, it isn’t as much as you would expect – certainly not my kids anyway. If you are into athletics and want your kids to be super strong then a climbing frame is a good shout though.

If you make one yourself it goes without saying to be wary of sharp corners and pay attention to rough wood that’ll cause splinters.

The garden playhouse is a top choice

My kids and even my sisters love the big playhouse. What you’ll find is they gang up in there and have teas and play games. Whilst, yes they do take their Nintendos and whatnot in there, I still feel like they are outside and they are at least not indoors on the sofa with their head phones on ignoring the world. Garden playhouses can cost a fair bit of money and it’s not perhaps something to rush into but well worth a think.

Garden playhouse with a super cool garden slide and climbing frame as well as a garden swing 🙂

As you can see in the picture we actually made ours and while the kids love it, the money was a fair investment which while I think was worth it. I wouldn’t hurriedly recommend everyone to rush out and spend when there are other options

Trampolines are a top choice for fun things to do in the garden

Of all the kit we’ve bought and the kids have enjoyed there is absolutely no question that the trampoline is high up there. It’s probably the best activity in the garden because they stay clean and dry, they don’t get messy, the garden doesn’t get destroyed, and they use up a huge amount of energy, almost always end up going to sleep early.

Super fun trampoline for kids with a safety net

Not only that, the kids always seem to find different ways to make the trampoline fun incorporating the nerf guns or a football. So far we’ve not had any accidents and the trampoline in the picture is a couple of years old and still going strong. You can buy a trampoline for the kids at the link provided.

Top activity for children in the garden: let them play in the dirt.

Yep nothing compares to the fun they have playing in muddy puddles. It doesn’t matter what money you spend, this number open activity that has all my kids involved. The only problem with mud is if you have a developed garden or are not willing to clear up after, I don’t blame you either. What a nasty mess they make. I have to instantly hit a bottle of red wine to cool off but the amount of fun they have to me makes it worth it. And talking of worth, it costs absolutely nothing except the clean up time 😀

Kids playing in muddy puddles – absolute winner every time 😀

With that said about the cost, you can easily give them some kitchen utensils but I bought them a kids gardening set and they’ve used the watering can and spade to make muddy holes that they can then stand in 😀 Oh dear thank god we just bought this place and are in the process of larger refurbishment works. I will still keep a small patch for them to mess around in after seeing just how much fun this was for them.

They blow off a lot of steam as well which is an important part of why this is my top pick for fun things to do in the garden

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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