It’s one of those curious facts that it doesn’t matter what you spend on expensive toys for children, they always seem to have more fun playing with box. Using that logic, rather than spending heaps on money on expensive garden toys or days trips, send them out into the back garden with some DIY supplies and their imagination and see how they will keep themselves occupied.
The garden assault course
Get the kids running around and squealing with your very own garden assault course. Create a ring of fire using a hula hoop with pretend flames, and get them jumping through it.
Set up the paddling pool and have them create an icy river to wade through, and give them old sheets to crawl under (weight the corners down otherwise they’ll just tie themselves in knots!)
You can also set challenges like tossing teddy bears into a bucket or laundry basket, or a baked bean can slalom.
A DIY throwing game
Get an old sheet you don’t need and let the kids paint animals or monsters onto it with kids’ poster paint. Cut out the monster’s mouths out of the sheet with scissors. Peg the sheet onto a washing line and challenge them to throw the ball at the sheet and try to get it into the monsters/animals mouths – they get one point for every ball that’s on target.
This isn’t for everyone and will definitely require adult supervision, but if you’re lucky enough to have a big tree in your garden, get hold of an old car tyre and hang it on a branch using strong rope with a double knot. Test it with a grown up first to make sure it’s safe and then give the kids a swing.
A makeshift waterfall from the recycling
Instead of picking up the plastic bottles from around the house and putting them straight into the recycling pile/box, let the kids play with them. One idea they’ll have oodles of fun with is building a waterfall – all they need to do is cut a big oval hole in the side of each plastic bottle. You can attach them to the garden fence, angling the bottles with their tops over the cut-holes. Put a washing up bowl or container at the bottom then let the kids pour water into the top of their ‘waterfall’ and watch it pour down to the bottom.
Homemade chalk paints
Get hold of some wash-away chalk paints and let the children run riot with old-school games like hopscotch. They can also draw on the outside patio with them. If you haven’t got anywhere they can get creative with chalk paints, give them an old sheet instead.