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Garden Activities to nurture knowledge of nature

From the swing set to planting some seeds, there are hundreds of cheap and free garden activities for kids to do…

Summer is well and truly on its way now the weather has warmed up, and the sun has made an appearance for longer than a day! What’s also on the way is half term and the summer holidays. So let’s look at some cheap and cheerful outdoor activities to do in the sunshine to really nurture some knowledge of nature in Early Years Education

  • Creative crafts on the patio
  • Fairies for the garden and other imaginative play
  • Teddy bear picnics
  • Fun, helpful things to do
  • Other outside ideas

Creative crafts on the patio

Crafts can get messy – that’s partly the point – but doing them outside can prevent any nasty spilt-paint-on-the-rug accidents inside. Most pedagogists talk to the importance of outdoor learning so our children can connect with nature. From Montesorri through to Steiner, the EYFS and forest school, we all share a love of the outdoors and believe that our children learn best when connected to nature.

Here are some creative garden activities for kids:

  • Stone painting – let your children choose some stones and set them down to paint on the patio. For extra pizzazz – give them glitter glue!
  • Mud pies – after a rainy day, mud pies make sense! Throw on the waterproofs and get playing.
  • Drawing nature – sketching birds, trees, clouds and more will help teach your kids about the world around them and help develop their observational skills. Set up some comfy chairs with pencils and paper (and some snacks nearby), and have a chill afternoon.
  • Chalk drawing – perfect for patios, all you need are some chunky chalks and time. The best part – you don’t have to wash it away as the rain will.
  • Garden art – challenge your kids to make a big picture out of found garden things. Lay out an old bedsheet on the ground as a canvas and let them cover it in sticks, leaves, flowers, stones and more to create a unique picture.

Fairies for the garden and other imaginative play

If your kids believe in fairies as Peter and Wendy do, then why not make a magical home for them with bits and bobs from the garden?

Choose a nice discrete area of the garden, maybe under a tree or at the base of a big shrub, then start creating. Any of your old broken flowerpots will make a great shelter for the fairies – you could get your children to decorate it with paint, glue and glitter. Surround the house with bits of moss, cut flowers and beautiful stones (you could paint those too). Then set about making some tiny furniture for them, like a picnic table and chairs – ice lolly sticks are ideal building materials and freeing them up is pretty tasty too. For extra atmosphere, why not add some solar string lights for added sparkle?

Not a fan of fairy-tale folk? How about dinosaurs? Let your children’s imaginations run wild as they create a dinosaur garden in the backyard. All you’ll need are some dinosaur figurines, various sized rocks, mud, greenery and sticks for trees. They can lay everything out how they want, paint dinosaur eggs and create a Jurassic garden feature.

Teddy bear picnics

An oldie, but a goodie – this one is perfect for the younger kiddies who love their teddy and want to sit and enjoy the sunshine during an elegant tea party. Of course, after they’ve had their fill, there will be plenty of time to explore the garden and go on an adventure.

Fun, helpful things to do

  • Washing the car is a time-honoured parent-child thing to do – it’s messy, tempts a water fight and leaves the car lovely and clean. Success all around!
  • Giving the toys a bath – they get chewed, covered in food, gunk and grime, so washing any kids’ toys is necessary. But why not make it fun with a toy car wash or a toy swimming pool?
  • Help with the harvest – picking ripe tomatoes, strawberries, peppers or other veg is a novelty for kids, though you could make it a game to see who can find (or grow) the biggest one.
  • Paint the shed or fence – most external wood needs some protection every couple of years, but it doesn’t have to be boring brown. Why not let the kids pick some colours and paint a mural on the shed?

Other outside ideas

Kids love a bit of fun and competition with their physical play, so lean into that. One easy-to-clean and set up option is a bucket shooting game. Just grab some buckets or containers and place them around the garden in challenging positions. Then fill up a super soaker. Assign each container some points and challenge your kids to see who can score the most. Keep track with a scoreboard and give a prize to the winner. Plus, it’ll help develop their hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills.

Skipping and any physical games are an excellent energy-using option too. You could create an obstacle course with plant pots, chairs, tables and more in the garden, or see who can skip the longest.

Make a playground – more of a parental activity, but it’s sure to keep the kids occupied when it’s up. You could get their help choosing parts and pieces, then let them paint everything however they want.


At the end of the day, your garden, patio or any outside space has loads of potential for fun and games. No matter if your kids are looking for fairies in the garden, to have a picnic with their bears or to just fly through the air on a swing – the sun makes outdoor fun more possible and more enjoyable, so get outside and encourage your kids to make the most of the free and fun activities on offer. For more fun activities that you can enjoy, follow our blog: