If you’re at home in the summer, there’s no lovelier place for the kids to be than in the garden. So here are a few ideas to keep them entertained.
Hold a mini Olympics
Putting on a mini Olympic Games or sports day is a great way to get kids of all ages involved. It’s perfect if you’re looking after someone else’s as well as your own, or you could even make a day of it and invite family and friends.
To stretch out proceedings, kick off with an opening ceremony. Get the kids to make their own flags using straws or sticks for poles and paper or cardboard that they’ve decorated for the flag. They can then do a parade around the garden in their sports kit showing off their handy work.
For the sports events themselves, include a range of races such as:
- Skipping race.
- Sack race (old pillowcases can stand in for sacks).
- Obstacle course.
- Three-legged race.
- Egg and spoon race.
Then add in other events to mix it up, for example:
- Discus (using a frisbee).
- Shot put (using a football or bean bag).
- Rhythmic gymnastics (using a hoop and ribbons).
- Long jump.
To round off the day present medals (homemade if you’ve not already collected a stash) and have a closing ceremony – put on some tunes, let everyone dance around and then serve up food.
Put on a treasure hunt
It doesn’t have to be an Anneka Rice style extravaganza with clues, for toddlers it can be as simple as hiding toys or pebbles in a sandpit. Older kids will love solving riddles if you have the time though. Try using a white wax crayon on white paper to write your clue or draw a map – the kids then have to paint over it to reveal what it is.
An alternative to clues is to hide some items around the garden, then give the kids a list of what they need to find and set them off on the hunt. Or write a list of things already in the garden that they have to spot.
The Woodland Trust also has readymade sheets you can download – for example one that’s summer themed and one based on leaves. These are great if you decide to head out for a walk too.
Whichever option you choose, the first one to spot everything and come back to base is the winner.
For a simple way to do garden-sized art, Net Mums suggests getting a roll of old wallpaper and spreading it out on the ground, white side up (lining paper’s a good option as it’s usually thicker). Then get each child to lie on the paper and draw around them so you have an outline of them. It’s then up to everyone to decorate their own body shape however they like.
They could do a collage using leaves and feathers and so on that they find in the garden. Or get the paints out and let them do hand and feet prints. Make sure you bring out a washing up bowl at the same time for cleaning the kids up though!
If you’re happy to let your kids get creative on your patio, Tesco has a recipe for making chalk paints that rinse away and can be used on a blackboard indoors too.
Play down, down, down
For a quick and easy game that doesn’t involve any prep, this one’s a winner.
- All the kids stand in a circle.
- They throw a tennis ball to one another – either around or across the circle or a mix of both.
- If someone doesn’t manage to catch the ball they go down on one knee and stay there.
- If that person drops the ball again they go down on both knees.
- Next they go down on each of their elbows and eventually lie down.
- If someone drops the ball when they’re lying down they’re out.
- The last person in wins.