When the sun's out, we all want to be in the garden having fun. Once you have children, that no longer means lounging with a glass of Pimm's, but instead a more interactive, active, and adventurous pastime.
There are loads of garden games for kids and the family that you can all enjoy, whatever your age, and however old your little one is, that will transform your garden into an adventure playground. From when they're babies to toddlers and beyond, there are loads of outdoor games you can play - and they don't have to cost you the earth.
And whatever the weather, whatever the season, you can enjoy garden games with your children through summer, spring, autumn and winter - you just need to make sure you're wearing the right clothes - there's no such thing as bad weather, after all, just inappropriate clothing. If it's sunny and warm, make sure you stay out of the sun at the hottest part of the day - find shade and always use sun cream and sun hats (for yourself as well as your babies!). If it's chilly, wrap up warm with coats and scarves. But always embrace the weather, and teach your children to love all of the seasons.
Here are some of our favourite ideas for garden games you must play with your children:
Play Chef with a mud kitchen
Finding role-play games for your children is always a winner, and if you can incorporate those games with nature and the outdoors, then more’s the better. Invest in a mud kitchen and you’ll be guaranteeing hours of muddy fun in the garden. Play ‘Chef’ or ‘Dinner Party’ with your children; get them to pretend to be chef and waiter, and serve you mud pies decorated with pinecones, and mud cupcakes with flowers on top.
Water balloon dodgeball
We know from our own childhood how much fun dodgeball is, but it might not be quite suitable for younger children just yet – so instead, make it more fun and messy by turning it into water balloon dodgeball. Buy a load of water balloons and fill them up for an afternoon of soaking wet fun for all the family. Mum and Dad might get a bit too competitive, be warned, but the kids will adore it.
Go on a journey around the garden and pick loads of twigs, sticks, leaves, flowers, pinecones and anything else your little one can find, then stick them on to paper or card for some natural artwork. Invest in some decent glue though – Pritt Stick just won’t work for this one. You can then turn the artwork into birthday cards for friends and family.
Another fab game for little ones in the garden is scavenger hunt. Write a list of things to find in the garden, like a leaf, a snail shell, a pink flower – you can even get them to draw pictures alongside the list – then arm them with a basket or little cloth bag, and let them roam around the garden finding all the goodies.
Hide your little one’s toys, or little treats, around the garden and send them off on a treasure hunt. Make it as easy or hard as you want; it’s great for one child or loads of them.
Frisbee or catch
A quick and easy idea for a garden game that can last for ages, fun for everyone and you can do it with anything – a frisbee, a ball, a toy… Great for physical development as they learn to throw, catch, and run around.
It’s a universal fact that all babies and toddlers love bubbles (and adults too, we admit). So get yourself a bubble machine, or a big bubble wand, and play Chase The Bubble. Let your little ones chase those bubbles around and see if they can catch them.
Make a secret hideout
Grab a blanket, or even put up a tent and create a den in your garden.
The best gear for garden games
We’ve shortlisted our favourite essential gear to step up your garden games with your children:
This is the ultimate mud kitchen, with all sorts of features included. There’s a hob, a plastic removable sink, a refillable water butt with tap to help mix up that mud good and proper, shelves, a chalk board, hob rings, and comes with pans and a whisk included too. There’s plenty of space for your little one plus siblings or friends to get involved in the mud-making. This needs self-assembly, which reviewers say can take quite a while as there are so many parts involved.
- Size: 96 x 43 x 108 cm
- Made from: Wood and plastic
- Accessories: Pots & whisk included
If you want a game of water balloons, you’ll need some water balloons. This pack contains 132 self-sealing water balloons, grouped into 3 bunches of 44 balloons – you can fill 44 balloons at once at the tap, inflating in just a minute. The balloons are biodegradable and the pipes are recyclable.
If you’re planning some nature artwork, you’ll need a good scrap book to fill with leaves, flowers, and drawings. This one has 80 pages for your little one to fill with earthy artwork.
For a truly personalised treasure hunt, upload a photo of your choice and receive in the post a jigsaw of your photo. Then hide the puzzle pieces around the garden for your child to find, then complete the puzzle together. This is great fun but would also make a super present for friends or family too.
If you need a hand thinking of what to scavenge for outside, this card game is ideal. There are 33 cards with nature-themed items to find – but not just ‘things’, also themes like ‘snap’ and ‘small’. The cards come in a handy little bag, and they’re great for in the garden or out on adventures.
Little ones will love to play catch with these animal-design foam balls. At six inches they’re a good size for small hands, and you can choose from nine animals designs including fox, lion, panda, and a turtle that looks more like a snake.
Save yourself from blowing bubbles all day with an automatic bubble machine – this one comes with two bottles of bubble liquid. It claims to blow up to 500 bubbles per minute – that’s a lot of bubbles to chase!