Lazy Mum

6 Fantastic Free Garden Activities

If Lockdown has exhausted your capacity for inventing new garden activities – fear not! Lazy mum is here to help.

Do you make the most of your garden space? Being outside is so important for children. And I’m a big believer in booting them into the garden for some fresh air whenever the weather permits.

However, you’ll know as well as I, how difficult it can be to keep coming up with new games and ideas. Especially if you’re also on a budget like me.

Frankly, I haven’t always followed through in using our outdoor space as much as I should. So I’m grateful that Lockdown really forced me to be more inventive with garden activities for the children. And it also turned into a fantastic bonding experience, even if we got on each others’ nerves from time to time!

So here are just some of the things we’ve been getting up to in our garden over the past few months. Hopefully these ideas will make life a bit easier for you too. Some are pure fun, some are educational.

1. Make a Wormery in a Jar

My eldest was a bit squeamish when we made this but he was fascinated by the end result!

You will need:

  • a large glass jar with a lid (put a few holes in the lid)
  • soil
  • sand
  • a trowel to dig up a few earthworms
  • Leftover bits of fruit and veg or tea leaves
  • some black paper

First, prepare the jar. Layer moist sand at the bottom of the jar. Add a layer of soil, then sand, then soil again. Make sure it’s a damp environment. Leave a couple of inches of room at the top of the jar.

Next – we’re going on a worm hunt! Help your child to dig up a few worms for their wormery. This is a great opportunity to chat about the worms’ colour, shape and how they move, as well as how to handle them gently.

Now put your worms in the jar, and cover with the overripe veg and tea leaves.

Pop the lid on (make sure it has a few holes) wrap the jar in black paper and leave in a cool, dark place.

Check it in a couple of weeks and see what the worms have been up to! Look out for wriggly patterns and observe what has happened to the plant waste you added.

With thanks to the BBC website for the initial idea.

2. Make a Fairy Garden from Recycling

Spark their imaginations and use up some recycling too!

There are lots of fun stages to this. Hunting around the garden for lots of bits and pieces to use, building the houses, then creating the garden itself.

And once it’s made, there are endless possibilities for imaginative play.

You will need:

  • leftover plastic pots for tiny houses
  • permanent pens
  • Optional craft items that will survive outdoors – acrylic paints, plastic or foam shapes
  • PVA glue
  • Whatever garden bits you can find. Pebbles, stones, sand, weed flowers like dandelions, twigs, rocks, leaves etc.
  • A few small toys

Please note – my list is not exhaustive as it very much depends on what you can find. For example a foil pie dish makes a lovely fairy pond!

Now it’s time to let their imaginations run wild. There aren’t really any instructions for building a fairy garden. Once the houses are made, find a corner of the garden or a tray, give the child the other materials and let them get creative!

I love this activity as the possibilities are endless. You can add dinosaurs, playmobil figures, fairy dolls or lego people. And some children just enjoy creating the villagers in their heads.

3. Make Giant Bubbles

The solution:
1/2 cup of washing up liquid
1&1/2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of sugar
Stir together

Tie string to two 2 pieces of wood or garden canes to make a square. Dip the whole thing in the solution, slowly move in the air, and giant bubbles will appear!

Experiment with different shapes and loops of string.

Have lots of bubbly fun!

4. Play firefighters!

A great one for hot weather.

You will need:

  • Chalk
  • A hose or water pistol

Why not dress it up with a firefighter’s outfit?

This is a great one for hot weather! With your children helping, use chalk to draw lots of big flames on a garden fence or wall. Colours like red, orange and pink are really effective but you can just use what you have.

Stand your child a short distance from the ‘flames’. Turn on the hose pipe or fill a water pistol/super soaker and watch them put out the fire! The water will gradually wash off the chalk, putting out the ‘fire’.

Then you redraw! Hours of fun!

5. Play Deliveries (more chalking fun!)

You will need:

  • Old boxes, jiffy bags and envelopes
  • A wheelbarrow/knapsack/bag for life/ride on toy
  • Chalk

Dress it up with a baseball cap, high vis jacket or postie outfit?

Draw buildings of different shapes and sizes all around your garden. On the fences, the walls and sheds. We drew lots houses, tall blocks of flats, a supermarket and a fire station.

Now pack up a delivery bag or toy on wheels with the letters and boxes. And send your little postie off to make their deliveries!

6. Plant Leftover Seeds

This is a great way for children to learn how things grow and where our fruits and vegetables come from.

What you will need:

  • Plastic pots (yoghurt pots are great for this)
  • Compost
  • Leftover seeds from whatever you’ve been eating.

My 4 year old loves to plant what we’ve been eating and see if it grows. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s great fun to experiment. There are no limits to what you can plant!

Apple pips, strawberry seeds, apricot stones, tomato seeds and sprouted potatoes can all be planted out. Pineapple and carrot tops can be regrown. Even the root at the bottom of your lettuce can produce more leaves if left in shallow water.

It’s edible recycling! Have fun and please share your pictures of your plant experiments with us on social media.

What are your family’s favourite garden games? Let me know in the comments below 👇

Want more ideas for family fun? See other blogs on this topic here

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