A garden can be a truly wondrous place; it’s teeming with plant and wildlife, the soil is full of beneficial bacteria for your health, and the beautiful colours of nature are all around you. Of course, you want to share all that with your little kiddies, but they can’t always appreciate the simple pleasures of gardening life, so you’ve got to turn the fun factor up for them.
And that is certainly no tough task because there are loads of brilliant things to do in the garden with the kids. To start you off, we’ve put together quite a handful of examples and ideas for garden activities with your kids!
Our Top 50 Things to Do in the Garden With the Kids
Meet A Tree
Getting to know a tree is an educational endeavour for you and your kids and it’s loads of fun too. Trees of all shapes and sizes all have their own stories and unique quirks.
Some trees are hollowed out enough to clamber inside to check out what kind of little plants and insects call it home. Meanwhile, others have small cracks that hint at the minibeasts thriving beneath. You could even look for scars on the tree and dream up scenarios that could have caused them. If trees could talk, what stories they’d tell!
Don’t have one in your garden? Why not plant one with the kids!
Back Garden Camp Out
Pitch a tent in your back garden and bring the adventure to you! Kids love to switch it up, so bringing them out of their bedrooms for a night in the ‘wilderness’ of the back garden will nearly always be met with acclaim.
Keep an eye out for cool animals, try and spot a constellation in the night sky, and allow the soft tunes of bats and owls to lull you to sleep. Not only does camping out in your back garden allow you to get in touch and sleep surrounded by nature, but you can also do it all from the safety of your garden!
Gaze At The Star-Crossed Sky
And while you’re out having your mock camping trip in the garden, you can finally introduce the kids to the beauty of the starry night sky. If you get a clear night you might get lucky enough to spot a shooting star or even a distant planet, memories that are sure to last a lifetime.
No matter the time of year, the beautiful sights of the sky are sure to leave you and your kids in awe. You can even make a fun game out of the different shapes and figures you can conjure up using the stars or clouds in the sky.
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Your imagination and that of Mother Nature are the only limits when it comes to designing and creating your very own wild crown. Anything from twigs to leaves to flowers, blossoms, and grasses can be used to patch together your ideal Nature Crown.
You can even come up with different characters with your kids, such as a princess or fairy crown made with pretty and colourful weeds and flowers, or a woodland wizard whose crown is fitted with more rustic branches and dry leaves. The possibilities are endless, just make sure to wash your hair after wearing them!
Join Nature’s Symphony
Nearly everything out in nature can be put to musical use if used properly. A blade of grass can turn into quite the whistling instrument, while a few well-positioned rocks next to a tree stump can create a nice little drum set. All you need is your kids, a small patch of grass, a few big stones and a tree trunk, and voila, you’ve got yourself your own little backyard nature band. Now you can get to rehearsing!
Enjoy The Sounds Of Mother Nature
You don’t have to jump in and join nature’s symphony though, you can also lay back, relax, and enjoy the smooth sounds that your environment has to offer. Surely it can’t be easy to do with young kids running around, but once in a while, try to get them to quietly notice the pleasant sounds nature brings through your garden.
Birds twittering in the morning mist, the intermittent calls of garden insects and the sound of a faint breeze in the trees can also be quite the musical troupe.
Check-In With The Insects
The garden is a great place to set up shop and search for loads of different bugs with your little ones. Whether under soil or stone, rock or grass, you’re sure to find at least a few interesting insects. You can inspect a fuzzy and chubby caterpillar, or chase its evolved cousins, butterflies, around the garden.
Others will crawl right onto your hand for a closer look. Does it have wings? How many legs does it have? Be sure to be delicate while handling these bugs though, and be sure to remember to appreciate that they want to stay in the home they already have: your lovely garden.
Grow Your Own Salad
There’s something so satisfying and wondrous about planting a little seed, taking care of it, and watching it blossom into an itty-bitty seedling. It’s something even young children can grasp and enjoy.
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While it’s great fun to grow all sorts of different herbs and veggies, one of the most childproof choices has to be lettuce. It’s easy to grow in a small controlled container, it’s not a fussy plant by any means, and it grows very fast. No need to worry about those blink-of-an-eye attention spans kids have with quick-growing lettuce.
Recycled Baking Pan Garden Markers
It’s always fun (and smart) to think of ways to reuse items, such as baking pans, that wouldn’t otherwise be recycled. One fun way to do that with your children is to cut out the bottom of those pans, draw some wacky designs on one side and fill in the other side with some fun colours. Glue that onto a popsicle stick and there you have it, a garden marker for your small plants and seedlings courtesy of your own children. And you did some recycling while you were at it!
Pretty Slate Bunting
Another easy DIY craft is to get some tiles of slate or some other type of rock to hang up as a nice bunting behind or next to your garden. Find some pretty-looking slate, grab the kids and some acrylic paint, and let the imagination run wild!
They can draw in their favourite insects, wildlife, plant life, or really anything that comes to mind. They can even create a sort of garden heading by writing something out along the bunting.
Googly-Eyed Grass Heads
Grass heads are simple as can be and thrifty to boot. You put a generous amount of grass seeds, about two tablespoons worth, into the bottom of your stocking or pantyhose, then add a generous amount of soil until you have a nice rounded ball.
Tie the tights at the bottom, then pinch a bit of earth in the middle of the ball, twist it, and tie it to make a nose. Glue on some googly eyes and a mouth to give it some character and put it in a small flower pot with some sun for it to soak up. Water every so often and in the next one to two weeks, you’ll have a little guy with a fully sprouted head of greenery.
Have Fun Spotting The Signs Of Spring
The changing of the seasons is always a magical time, especially the beginnings of spring. This is a brilliant time to take the kids out to the back garden to show them all of the changes that have happened, are happening and will happen soon with the beautiful blooming of springtime.
Trees are budding, birds are gathering dead leaves and small branches for their nests, our little pollinating friends are flitting about again, and all the beautiful plants begin to flower. It’s a lovely time to spend with the kids to not only take in the lovely nature but to learn a thing or two as well.
Build A Birdbath
Birds and their lovely songs are one of the best things about spending time in the garden, so building them a pretty little spot to come bathe in will only increase your chances of running into our little aviary friends.
It can be as easy as filling an old tin can lid with water and pebbles and putting it on top of a few bricks to stabilize. When building a birdbath, always remember to keep it very shallow, no more than ten centimetres deep, allow enough space on the edges for the birds to hang out, and put it in an open space where the birds won’t have to worry about predators pouncing on them out of nowhere.
Feed The Birds
What birds love even more than a good bath is some tasty grub. Building a straightforward and sturdy bird-feeder is a fun thing to do in the garden with the kids and it will keep birds coming as long as it stays safe and stocked.
Wild birds struggle especially in the winter, when their natural food sources are more scarce, which makes bird feeders even more crucial for them during those months. Help support the local bird population by building a bird feeder in your garden and spend some quality time with your children while doing it.
Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder
One of the easiest ways to build a bird feeder with your young kids is to use a toilet paper roll. Reusing household items is always positive and here, we’re also helping out the birds. Grab a roll and spread vegetable shortening all over it, this acts as a healthy and edible glue.
Next, you’ll roll that toilet paper roll in a bowl of birdseed, then tie a string of hemp through one end and hang it up in your garden to make a healthy snack for the neighbourhood birds.
Spruce It Up By Sowing Some Wildflowers
Wildflowers are brilliant for wildlife, pollinators love them, and birds and bats frequent them as well. They’re fast-growing, require low to no maintenance, control weeds, and give a lovely colourful touch to any outdoor setting.
Sowing a nice mix of wildflower seeds is a perfect garden activity for you and the kids. In a pot, you avoid all of the problems that come with weeding the more prickly weeds in a plot, but the adults can handle that part while the sowing and raking can be done by the kids. The extra work can also mean more bonding time between you and your little tykes.
Wildflower Seed Bombs
Wildflower seed bombs are a fun way to do what people call ‘guerilla gardening,’ which is when you plant seeds around the area on neglected land. However, they can also be used for your back garden.
These can be a fun way to get your kids into gardening, too. Simply mix compost with flour at a ratio of three cups to one, toss some wildflower seeds, and some water in there to make them stick better and then shape and dry them. Head out and drop the finished balls wherever you’d like to see a pretty patch of wildflowers and nature will do the rest!
Bring On The Butterflies
The sight of a beautifully-coloured butterfly is always a welcome sight in your back garden, and they inspire happiness and wonderment in kids everywhere. To attract more butterflies to your humble abode, you should look to plant butterfly-friendly plants, such as wildflowers.
Last year we had loads of fun with an Insect Lore butterfly garden gift set. Unfortunately one of the caterpillers didn’t cacoon properly and we had a little funeral for it, but the kids thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.
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Lavender, Verbena Bonariensis, and Wild Marjoram are a few of the butterfly’s favourite plants to snack on. Sowing seeds for these plants is not only a simple and fun garden activity to do with the kids, but it will also have very satisfying long-term effects for the family when they begin seeing more wildly coloured wings flapping about around the back garden.
There’s more than one way to attract butterflies, though. Another fun and easy craft you can do with your children is creating your own butterfly feeders. Grab a paper plate, poke holes in at quarters, file string through the holes, and hold them up together so that you have what looks like an upside-down parachute.
Next, you grab some mushy fruit, like an overripe banana, put it on the plate, and hang your contraption up near your plants to attract our pretty winged friends. Use fun, coloured plates, and plain white plates as a little experiment to see which ones the butterflies prefer!
Make A Winter Stay For Frogs & Toads
Frogs and toads are actually great visitors to have in your garden because of their ability to keep your pests under control naturally. Frogs and toads hibernate during the chilly season, finding shelter that’s cool, dark, damp, and most importantly, out of reach of their predators.
To create an inviting little winter residence you will need to dig a decent-sized hole, then you can send your kids on a scavenger hunt for assorted items in the garden such as bricks and branches to create little mazes in the frog’s house. Be sure to allow for several exits and make sure your little maze is sturdy enough that it won’t crush its inhabitants. Throw some soil and some other inviting pieces of nature on top and you’ll be having frogs over for visits in no time.
Make Your Own Fairy Houses
Getting the kids into the garden can sometimes be difficult with all the indoor distractions, but crafts that let them use their imagination are great to get them interested.
One way to do this is by making your own little fair houses to spruce up the garden with. They’re small, upside-down terra cotta pots that can be decorated in any manner you and your children please. Make a theme for your garden together, or create unique houses for you and each of your kids.
Nature Collection Bottle
This simple activity is sure to keep your little ones busy for ages. Give them each an empty clear water bottle, and tell them to head out into the garden to find anything pretty (that wasn’t a growing plant) such as pebbles and dead and fallen flower petals.
This scavenger hunt-type activity is a brilliant way to keep the kids outside and interested while also creating an adorable little ornament for inside the house or out in the garden amongst your plants.
Toss Together A Twig Boat
This nature craft will not only create a lovely piece for your garden or small pond, but it’s also completely free and uses nothing but the nature around you, no glue needed.
Grab a handful of similarly shaped and sized twigs and wrap them up with some strong strands of long grass to create your base. Then, take another twig with a leaf pierced through the top and stick it in the middle of your base to make the mast and sail. Give it some extra decoration by intertwining some small flower heads for the finishing touches!
Grow Some Sunflowers
Sunflowers are an awesome way to brighten up your garden. They’re big, and their unique shade of yellow makes a unique addition to any arrangement.
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Their colour and size also make them favourites for the kids, so planting one together would be a great garden activity to do with them.
They’re simple enough to plant, and when they bloom fully after a few weeks, they’re almost sure to attract a brilliant mixture of insects looking to pollinate on the sunflower’s big face.
Outdoor Tic Tac Toe
Kids love games, so why not use what you’ve got in the garden to put together one of the most familiar ones out there: tic tac toe. You’ll need to get creative, but it shouldn’t be too difficult.
Grab four sticks to separate the nine spaces, then you can determine what your X’s and O’s will be with your children, which can be another fun game in and of itself. You can set up your makeshift nature tic tac toe on the ground or an upturned tin can.
Of course there’s always the option of buying a garden tic-tac-toe set too!
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Create A Bug Hotel
Another way to keep your garden teeming with interesting wildlife is to build up a hotel for your garden’s bugs. It can be a simple wooden rectangle, stuffed on the inside with an assortment of different natural garden items such as dead leaves, branches, roots, soil, and other things your kids can scrounge up when you send them on a hunt.
Make sure to leave some space between your different elements so the bugs can make their way around your new bug abode.
Colourful Yarn Sticks
Using assorted twigs and sticks, a few different colours of yarn, some scissors, and a little bit of glue, you can create a pleasant garden piece. This is an especially great garden activity to do with your kids if they’re big into crafts.
Tie your yarn near the top of your twig and start wrapping the yarn around the twig until you have a colourfully wrapped yarn stick. Put together a few and toss them in a nice mason jar for a homespun and vibrant splash of colour on your back porch or right there in your garden.
This resourceful garden craft has been making something of a comeback in Britain over the past few decades, and it’s plain to see why. Creations using flower pressing can be the perfect touch from a nice rustic piece to a more vibrant pop of colour in a room.
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The last couple of stages—placing and glueing the dried flowers on your canvas—require a delicate and steady hand. However, the first couple steps—foraging for pretty dead flowers and petals and placing them on a paper inside a book—definitely make this a fun thing to do in the garden with the kids.
Sticky Nature Cards
Using double-sided sticky tape on a piece of card you can create the background of your sticky nature card, then peel off the backing of the tape to set you on your way. From there give instructions to your little bug-enthusiasts to go out into your garden or whatever park you’re in and stick whatever catches their fancy on their card.
Be sure to remind them to always avoid putting creatures or growing plants on their cards. You can come up with a theme, really work to create a work of art, or simply have fun with it at random.
Colours of Nature Scavenger Hunt
There’s something about the competition and curiosity of a scavenger hunt that really hits home with young children. Considering there are countless different things you can find in a back garden environment, the scavenger themes are endless.
One such is based on the colours of nature. You can find a free printout online or draw four colours on some paper yourself. You then send your children into the wilderness of your back garden to try and match items with the colours you put on their sheet. They’ll be having fun with nature and building skills all at the same time.
Clay Pressing The Natural Way
Clay is a nearly essential element to the back garden game, but we’re not talking clay soil here, we’re talking beautiful clay pressing art. You and your children can make all sorts of different clay sculptures and art by pressing whatever natural artefacts caught your children’s eye at the park or in the back garden into the clay.
Roll some quick-drying clay out thin but not too thin, then gently press your pieces into the clay before setting something heavy on top to really press everything down. This garden activity for kids can even be used to create a unique footpath made of your clay-pressing creations!
Turn Your Kids Into Composters
It’s never too late or too early to start teaching your children about the wonders of compost. Not only is it a brilliant way to reduce waste and help the environment, but it’s also highly beneficial for your garden and plant-life.
Have your kids be mindful of composting items throughout the week and come the weekend, take them into the garden with their scraps to teach them about how mixing compost into your garden helps it hold in moisture and give it a better structure.
Ice-Lolly Stick Bird-Feeder
Another way to bring the birdies to your garden is with a popsicle stick bird-feeder. This craft is a fun thing to do in the garden with the kids especially if you decide to paint the popsicle sticks all sorts of fun colours.
Interlocking the popsicle sticks in a square shape you build up what looks somewhat like a small sandbox, except instead of sand, you fill it up with tasty birdseed. Grab some string or hemp and hang it up in your garden to give those birds yet another reason to frequent your garden.
Carve Up A Courgette
Courgettes are not a vegetable that you’d necessarily expect to find in every garden, but if you are currently or are planning to grow some, fill yourself in on this fun garden activity to do with your kids and your courgettes.
Find a couple of small courgettes still attached to the plant, grab a toothpick or a skewer, and let your little nippers draw their names in the veggie. You don’t need to go too deep and it’s best to do little bits at a time. Don’t worry about a little juice coming out while you carve, the skin will seal itself quickly. A couple of weeks later and your letters will be larger and paler so your kids literally have a plant with their name on it.
Mow The Lawn
Many wouldn’t necessarily call this an activity, instead categorizing it as a chore. However, it’s also a great way to not only bond with your little tots, but teach them an important skill that will help you down the road as well.
Grab a small, cheap kiddie mower from the supermarket and teach them how to do the job right as you’re doing it. If your children get the hang of it you can make a game out of it and start on opposite sides of the garden and mow until you meet in the middle.
Get Them Weeding
Weeding is another chore that’s quite the bother to do on your own but that can be turned into a fun garden activity when done with your kids. You can spend quality time with them in the outdoors, while also getting a job done and teaching the little ones something in the process.
Show them the proper technique as you go and help them learn how to distinguish between the weeds and the flowers. You can also make a fun game out of it to see who can weed the fastest.
Build A Recycled Bird House
Building a nice wooden birdhouse may seem like a big job, especially if you want to do it with the kids. To get around all the dangerous wood-sawing and such, you can instead get used milk or juice cartons for the job.
With parental supervision, cut the sides out of the carton. Next, let the children go wild with acrylic paints to decorate the birdhouses, then poke a hole in the top, thread some string through it, and tie it in a loop. Now, you can fill it with birdseed, find your ideal lawn patch, and hang your unique family creation for the birds to enjoy.
Make An Abode For Bats
This will require a lot more work and supervision on your part than most of the others, but no doubt it will be an interesting endeavour to undertake alongside your children. Though you’ll have to supervise or take over most of the elements that include drilling, sawing, etc., the kids can have fun decorating it.
More than that, once you’ve got a finished product, you can start teaching your kids a little about why the bat house is the way it is, and why these flying critters prefer their houses in some places rather than others. Generally, a bat house needs decent sunlight and should be mounted directly on a building or sturdy pole.
Dream Up A Dinosaur Garden
This garden activity to do with the kids is sure to grab their wandering attention. Find a small patch or pot of small, strong, succulent plants that don’t need much care for your canvas. Next decide on your theme, which in this example is dinosaurs.
Your kids can grab their favourite little action figures or dinosaur toys and place them throughout their little plot to create a world all their own. This gets the kids outside and keeps them coming to the garden to gradually add more elements to the tiny imaginary land they’ve conjured up.
Grow Their Own Veggie Plot
One of the easiest ways to get kids hooked on gardening is to show them quick progress in the plants you’ve sewn so they know they won’t have to wait long. Some of the easiest plants to grow with the kids just so happen to be veggies. Not only do they grow relatively quickly, but they also require relatively low maintenance.
Specifically, carrots, green beans, beets, and cucumbers are some of the smarter choices for your tot’s first veggie plot. Spend time each day with them as they watch their little plants reach for the sky and before they know it, they’ll be able to eat what they helped grow.
Twig-Wrapped Flower Pots
These rustic garden pieces are perfect to keep on the patio or to give as a beautiful gift. You’ll need a small terra cotta pot, some string, a bundle of twigs, and a pretty little flower to pop in when the job’s done.
First, the adults cut the twigs so that they all line up with the size of the pot, then the kids can join in and help tie the string around the middle of the twig, continuing through the length of the string until you have a lineup of twigs that you can wrap around your little pot.
Some More Easy Plants For Kids To Grow
We’ve already mentioned sunflowers and a handful of vegetable plants that lend themselves to a child’s less experienced green thumb, but there are more where they came from. Sweet peas are a brilliant option because of how fast they yield so many tasty peas.
Climbing plants are always fun for kids to watch grow as well, and popping those peas off the stems is always a satisfying chore. Mint, potatoes, strawberries, and radishes are a few more low-maintenance plants that your child should have no problem taking care of themselves.
This is a classic garden craft because it’s simple, doesn’t require much preparation, and can be fun for kids of all ages. You can keep them inside or outside depending on what kind of paint you decide to use, so consider that before you start.
Let your kids go out and scavenge for pebbles and rocks in your front or back garden, and once they have as many as they’d like, you can break out the acrylic paints and start letting their imaginations run wild.
Egg Carton Seed Growing
Growing easy seeds such as herbs and marigolds in an egg carton is a great way to get the kids started and interested in gardening. You cut the lid off the egg carton, then poke holes in each egg pocket for drainage, fill them all with proper soil, then pop your seeds in.
After that, go back and grab the carton’s lid and slide it underneath to act as a tray for the excess water. Lightly water them before placing plastic wrap around the carton with holes in it to let the humid air out. Put the carton in a warm spot with indirect sunlight and after a few days, you can remove the plastic wrap as your little plants begin to grow.
Recycled Watering Can
If you can’t be bothered to go out and buy a new watering can and you’ve got a used milk jug laying about, reuse it as your new water can. Get some acrylic paints and let your kids go to work decorating your new watering can, then you’ll move on to the cap.
To give the watering can the proper flow, use a heated needle (which should be handled by an adult) and poke holes throughout the cap. Fill the jug up, screw the lid back on, and now you can send your children off to water the household plants with their creation.
Flower Colour Experiment
For this amazing activity, you take about five or six white flowers such as daisies, and place them all in their own vases or vase-type receptacles. After that, you simply put different food colouring in each of the vases and set them in the sun.
Discuss with your children how they think the food colouring will affect the flowers and wait to see your results. You will not believe your eyes as after just a few hours you’ll start to notice the shades of the food colouring start to seep into the flower petals. After a few days, you’ll have yourself a real rainbow flower garden on the window sill.
Spoon Garden Markers
With a back garden, there’s no need to put anything to waste. Even old spoons that are no longer in your rotation can be salvaged as quirky garden markers. Go over the different plants and veggies you have in your garden with the kids, and decide which ones they’d like to have markers for.
They can use any material they like to mark the spoons as they please, then simply plunge them into the soil in the right patch of your garden to give the area an extra pop of colour as well as some useful info.
Stone Spiral Garden
Find an empty patch in your garden and create your own stone spiral patch to give your space a little more zen. You’ll need to find a good amount of medium-sized stones and a lot of soil for the job.
The first step is to start setting up the spiral with your stones, which you and the kids can have fun with, as it’s something of a puzzle. Fill in with dirt as you go along so that the soil can help support the stone walls then pop in a few plants when you’re done.
Broken Flower Pot Fairy Garden
It’s always a sad day when a nice terra cotta pot is broken, but they don’t all have to go to waste. Mind you, the pot can’t be broken to bits, but if you’ve lost just one or two pieces off the side, it can get the job done.
Put a coffee filter in the bottom of the pot for drainage, fill it up with soil, find a place in the dirt for your broken section of the pot to fit in, and cover the soil with moss. You and the kids can then decorate the little fairyland with mini-bridges and other fun pieces.
Put That Lego To Good Use
Loads of parents know the pain of stepping on a little lego piece that was not supposed to be there. Now you can use those little nuisances to get your kids into gardening. Grab a few mini-succulents for the project and begin building mini-pots with the kids’ Lego pieces around the plant’s size.
This gets the kids excited about plants and gardening, gets the Lego out of the way, and creates a pleasantly surprising little plant piece.