What with the lockdown being extended and no signs of schools re-opening any time soon, we have made a list of 50 garden activities for kids. Ideas to encourage the kids to move away from their screens and get that much needed fresh air. They can also be mixed with a bit of home schooling as many have opportunities to link to learning.
Luckily at least the weather forecast is looking good for the coming week or so which certainly helps. There’s also a FREE poster you can download and print off to tick off the activities.
If you try any of them be sure to tag us at #welshcakesandwellies I hope you’re ok and coping in these unprecedented times. Please stay home and stay safe everyone.
50 Garden Activities for Kids in Lockdown
1 – Have a picnic
Get the picnic blanket out and have lunch on the grass. The bonus is that if you forget anything, which we usually do when we go for a picnic, you only need to pop back to the kitchen. For toddlers and little ones you can turn it into a teddy bear picnic too. The BBC has some lovely picnic recipes for kids HERE.
2 – Toast marshmallows
I think marshmallows are a bit like marmite, you either love them or hate them. I’m definitely the later, but the kids and their Dad love them, especially when they are toasted and have gone all gooey. You can make them into s’mores by sandwiching them with biscuits which also go down well.
3 – Make a weather vane
You could combine this one, and the next one, with a bit of homeschooling on the weather. Storybots have some great fun educational videos to support the learning too on both what makes rain and the differences between the seasons. Homeschooling For Me provides full instructions on how to make a weather vane HERE.
4 – Make a water butt
Making mini water butts is a good way of collecting rain water which can be used to water the plants in the drier months. As above you could incorporate the activity with learning about the weather. Water Aid has a downloadable instruction sheet which you can access HERE.
5 – Camp out for the night
Or make a weekend of it, at least you’ll have a decent shower and toilet block to make the most of. Just pitch up the tent, get the sleeping bags out and light the campfire.
6 – Bird spotting
We have lots of different varieties of birds in the UK which regularly frequent our gardens. From the loveable robin to the cheeky magpies they all make for interesting viewing. It’s also good practice for keeping very still and quiet…. you’re welcome 😉 The RSPB has advice on how to record and capture your bird spotting HERE.
Again this can be linked to home schooling, try recording the numbers in gate bars for multiples of five. Convert your findings into a graph for the different types you’ve seen.
7 – Make a bird feeder
8 – Build a den
Kids just love dens. Whether indoors with sheets and pillows or outside. You can of course take your sheets outdoors or if you have enough spare sticks etc you could have a go at building your own. We have tips in our autumn fun pack HERE. Otherwise the National Trust does a fab den building kit which you can purchase HERE. My son had one for a present one year and he loves it.
9 – Paint Pebbles
All you need is some pebbles, acrylic paint and some varnish to keep your design in tact. Sometimes the shape of the pebble lends itself to a particular shape and design, like a ladybird for example. For more inspiration visit the BBC page for tips and design ideas HERE. If you don’t have any pebbles to hand you can buy sets through Amazon like this one HERE.
10 – Make a bug house
According to the Wild Life Trust, an average garden accommodates more than 2,000 different species of insect. By providing the right sort of habitats, we can increase the number of beneficial insects in our gardens. The Wild Life Trust provides full instructions on how to build your bug house HERE.
11 – Gaze at the stars
A clear night makes for a perfect night to study the stars. Wrap up warm, put on the bug spray and make yourselves comfortable as you study the moon and the star constellations. You can combine with a bit of homeschooling on space too. BBC Bitesize has a lesson on the solar system HERE. For older kids who might want to take it further, The BBC Sky at Night Magazine has a great guide with lots of tips HERE.
12 – Make a daisy chain
Who doesn’t remember doing this as a child? By using your thumb or finger nail you make small slits in the stems and group them together. You could make a daisy crown, bracelet or necklace.
13 – Water the plants and tidy the garden
Watering the plants and weeding the garden whilst seeming like chores to us are often loved by kids. The bonus is that it helps us out in the garden too – a win win I say. To make it more fun you could download the plant recognition app so they learn about the plants in the garden too. There are also some lovely little gardeners sets on Amazon such as the one we have HERE.
14 – Be creative with chalk drawings
The fantastic thing about drawing with chalk is that you don’t waste endless reams of paper. They can draw to their hearts content and when you’ve had enough you can wash it away or wait for the rain to clear it up.
As well as drawing pictures you can use to aid learning too, games like writing sight words or the alphabet so they can start recognising sounds without a workbook in sight. What Moms Love has over 100 ideas and activities to use with chalk HERE.
15 – Cook outdoors
Whenever the weather allows we tend to eat alfresco. As our Welsh weather is so unpredictable we always have to make the most of it whenever the sun shines.
A favourite for us is barbecue Sea Bass (recipe HERE) but for the kids we tend to get them involved in prepping the salad outside and flipping the burgers. Next on our list is a pizza oven, but we haven’t got one yet.
16 – Plant vegetables
If you have the space, a vegetable patch is a fantastic way to get kids to appreciate where their food comes from. But if you are tight on space an easy way to grow potatoes is in pots or potato bags and they are very easy to grow too. Tomatoes are also a good option if you have one of those small greenhouses that will fit against a wall or have a sunny spot in-doors. There’s plenty of tips on-line tips for growing veg.
17 – Movie Night
Take family film night outside and cwtch up under the stars. Downloading a film onto the I-Pad will do, but even better is projecting a movie onto a sheet hung up in the garden. This small projector from Amazon is fantastic, last year my friends took it camping with us and the kids (and adults) had a fab movie night.
18 – Go bug hunting
Over turn stones and pots in the garden to find millipedes and after its been raining is a great time to spot worms, slugs and snails. Visit the Woodland Trust for top bug hunting tips and a downloadable PDF for bug spotting HERE.
19 – Light a bonfire
Using a fire pit or chiminea is a good option as then you won’t ruin your garden. Just use some kindling and off you go. Our boys are old enough to practice lighting the fire with their flints, where it proves a bit tricky to catch we give it a helping hand by adding some cotton wool which lights really easily. You can read our tips for lighting a camp fire HERE.
20 – Make a herb pot
Another way to get children interested in new flavours is to plant a variety of herbs and then to use them in your cooking. Mint, oregano, rosemary and sage are all pretty easy to grow and are amongst the most hardy. The RHS website gives tips and instructions HERE.
21 – Play hopscotch
Another oldie but goodie. My little one loves playing hopscotch and its good for coordination too. If you’ve forgotten the rules you can check them out on Wikipedia HERE.
22 – Climb a tree
See how high they can climb, whilst staying safe of course, now is ideally not the time for trips to A&E.
23 – Read a book outside
For younger kids create a reading zone and have story time outside. There are some lovely nature story books to share with the kids such as Growing Frogs, The Snail Trail and Mad About Minibeasts to name a few. For older kids encourage some time out and find a nice shady spot to read, or even better invest in a Hammock .
24 – Have a water fight
We tend to use water guns for this as then each of them can defend and attack, but you could also use a hose and take it in turns. My boys are big fans of the Nerf Water Guns., the bigger the better
25 – Play football
Probably one of the easiest things to do which requires the least effort to pull together. You can use cans to mark the goal post or pick up a set of goals fairly cheaply on Amazon Here.
26 – Play ping pong
A couple of Christmas’ ago my parents bought the kids a stowaway table tennis top that we can add to our dining table or outside patio table, as we don’t really have the room to have one out permanently. If you don’t want to invest in a full table though you can also pick up portable nets to put across a dining table or patio table too such as this one from Amazon HERE.
27 – Have a splash in the paddling pool
My youngest still loves the paddling pool although the boys are a bit old for it now. Although they still love this Water Slide, especially on our garden and it has a slope so they fly down it. And don’t forget the fairy liquid to make it at lightning speed.
28 – Make a leaf collage
Collect leaves from the garden and make into collages. Autumn leaves are great for making hedgehogs and owls etc you can see some ideas in our Autumn Activity pack HERE.
29 – Make an obstacle course
Be as creative as you can and make a mini obstacle course. Use things like hula hoops for kids to jump through, chairs to create tunnels etc. For older kids you could make it more into a circuits training course where they have to spend a minute on each area.
30 – Spy on nocturnal animals
For Christmas my son had this wild life camera which lets us spy on bugs, hedgehogs and if you’re lucky foxes. But if you don’t have one, then just go out after dark with your torch and see what bugs you can find.
31 – Make a fairy and / or dinosaur garden
You can make an easy one just by taking your Dinosaurs or fairies and setting them out in your flower beds. Or you can really creative and make one in a large pot or a hanging basket. There are lots of ideas online and you can embellish it as much as you like with some fairy doors etc from Amazon or you can buy a Fairy Garden set.
32 – Bury a time capsule
The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic will go down in history and will be something that we will remember for the rest of our lives. To record events and help future generations learn about the virus and what the lockdown was like, its a good idea to make a time capsule.
If you do bury it in the garden make sure you pick a robust container, wood, metal or plastic all work well. Fill it with photographs, diary entries and a newspaper article. You could also interview people in the house to go in it too. There are lots of online template versions available too.
33 – Paint terracota pots
Paint pretty flowers or rainbows onto terracota pots for your planting.
34 – Have a treasure hunt
Create a treasure hunt with clues to guide them round the garden and have a prize at the end. For older kids turn the tables and ask them to create the treasure hunt for you.
35 – Make rafts and test whether they float
Use a couple of sticks and leaves to make your own raft. You can tie it together with sticky weed or rope. Then test your raft out and see if it floats in the bath or paddling pool.
36 – Make wooden spears
If your kids are old enough they could practice their knife skills and have a go at making a spear. Ensure the knife always faces away from the body and always supervise them.
37 – Bark rubbings
Take your crayons and paper and gently rub against a tree to make a print of the pattern. Experiment with different trees and take a look at how they compare.
38 – Have a scavenger hunt
Create a list of items found in the garden such as birds, insects, rocks etc. For younger children create a sheet with pictures, while for older children you could make it more difficult by being more specific. For example instead of saying a bird, ask them to find a magpie.
39 – Watch the sun rise
Get up early and take some blankets outside, make yourself comfortable and watch the sun rise.
40 – Play DONKEY
Another game I used to play as a child was catch, where if you dropped the ball you spelt the word DONKEY. So the first time you drop the ball you are D and you go all the way along until you are Y. First one to spell DONKEY loses.
41 – Take cuttings and grow new plants
My nan was always keen on growing plants from cuttings as it is a very cost effective way to multiply the plants in your garden. We used to just put them in some water and wait for roots to sprout before then transferring to a pot. The Spruce gardening website has more thorough tips and recommendations on the plants that work well HERE.
42 – Make a mud pie
To make a mud pie all you need is a bucket, some dirt (free from pebbles and rocks) and some water. Mix the dirt with water until it’s like a dough consistency. Then mould into balls and flatten with your hands into pie shapes. Then decorate with leaves and flowers.
43 – Play hide and seek
Who doesn’t love a game of hide and seek?
44 – Paint flowers
Take your art pad and paints outside and draw and then paint the flowers in your garden. Try with different paints such as acrylic and water-colours for different effects.
45 – Make a stick man, and his family
We love the Stick Man story by Julia Donaldson, it’s one of our favourites. Its good fun to make your own stick man and his family three. How you make it is up to you, you could use string or elastic bands to hold it together or even sticky glue spots.
46 – Play boules
We’ve always been a fan of Boules, taking them to the beach or playing in the back garden. It’s a fab game as it’s suitable for any age. You can play individually or in teams too. You can read the rules HERE.
47 – Make a tree swing
You can either go full out and make a proper one, or just a temporary one where you tie some rope up with a stick and see how long it will last.
48 – Press flowers
As we can’t really get to the shops at the moment, why don’t you make your own cards for loved ones with pressed flowers. The Natural History Museum gives full instructions HERE.
49 – Plant seeds
Use up left over egg cartons or seed pots and plant seeds. As well as vegetable seeds you could plant sunflower seeds, let them grow indoors first before transferring to the garden. How tall will your sunflower grow?
50 – Juggle against a wall
I used to spend hours as a child doing this, although now it’s a bit of a lost art. Start with one tennis ball and work up to two. It’s a good skill to practice for coordination and general ball skills.
Don’t forget to download your FREE 50 garden activities poster. And remember to tag us in your adventures using #welshcakesandwellies
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