Spending time in the garden with the family is a great way to build memories and fill those cherished scrap books, but thinking up fun activities isn’t always as easy as you might think.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great ideas out there, and we’ve pulled together ten of our favorites to inspire you to get out in the garden with your loved ones.
1. Drive-In Movie Theatre
Projectors are very affordable these days, and with the addition of some garden furniture or even just a blanket, you can turn a summer evening into a homemade drive-in movie experience.
For added drive-in movie effect, and to bring a little creative flair into the proceedings, have your children make their own “cars” out of cardboard boxes.
2. Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are a great way to have fun, get a little exercise, and for the younger members of your family to burn off some of that excess energy. You’d be amazed at how easy it is to make an obstacle course out of things you have around the house.
Of course, you will need to think carefully about what you use and where you put it for safety reasons. It’s best to keep everything on grass where possible and avoid obstacles that involve climbing on anything unstable.
3. Anything Involving Water
Paddling pools, water balloons… even hose pipes and sprinklers. It’s easy to have a good time with water, especially when the sun is out. Children often love getting wet regardless of what their parents want, so it can’t hurt to have their water play be a little more intentional!
Just be sure to take proper precautions. Don’t let wet children run around on decking or flag stones, for examples, as they could slip and fall.
4. Build a Fort
Building a fort in the garden can take many forms. You can rig something up with a few lawn chairs and a sheet, or you can go all out, bringing cushions and boxes into the mix.
Naturally, once you have a fort, you need to use it! There’s no shortage of games to play using a fort, but you could also combine this suggestion with one or more of our other suggestions.
5. Go Camping
Camping is a lot of fun, but we can’t always get out to all the scenic spots we would like. Fortunately, there’s nothing stopping you from breaking out the camping gear and camping out in your own garden.
If the weather is nice enough, you could even use the fort you made as your tent! Be sure to make sure everyone is appropriately dressed for sleeping outside in your region, and that appropriately rated sleeping bags are used.
6. Go for a Picnic
Picnics are a great way to get everyone together for a nice meal outdoors, but you don’t have to lug everything out to the local park, or head for the nearest nature spot—just lay a blanket down in the garden and roll out the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!
Having other activities to keep your young ones entertained between bites wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
7. Start a Family Gardening Project
Having fun in the garden with your loved ones can also be productive. Starting a gardening project that the whole family chips in for can help to bring everyone closer together, give everyone a sense of accomplishment and ownership of the thing you create, and make the garden a more enjoyable place to be in.
Some ideas for a garden project include starting a vegetable patch, building a tree house or shed, or just general gardening to keep the place looking tip-top. You can take this opportunity to develop your youngest children’s green thumbs by enticing them out with farm toys.
8. Make Some Art
Art is often inspired by the artists surroundings, so why not take your young ones outside for a bit of artistic inspiration. You could do some painting on the lawn, create collages on the patio, you could even let your children go crazy on the paving with some chalk if you don’t mind washing it off afterwards.
9. Outdoor Story Time
While it’s true that a good story only requires a good imagination to come to life, story time can still be greatly enhanced by the right surroundings. Taking a good book out into nature can also be a great way to get your kids interested in reading. You can also combine outdoor story time with a lovely garden picnic.
10. Go on a Bug Hunt
Children often like to collect bugs, no matter how many times you tell them not to! Turn that interest into something productive by sending them out on a bug hunt!
Have them keep a bug journal where they keep a record of all the different bugs they find, as well as where they found them and the kinds of behaviors they were exhibiting. You can also combine this activity with the above suggestion about making art and have your children draw detailed pictures of the bugs they find.
Gardens are often under-utilized, which is a shame because they are often the best place to bring the family together for a wide range of fun activities, not to mention some great photos. If your garden doesn’t seem up to the task of hosting a family activity like those suggested above, use that as an excuse to get the family out there with their best gardener’s gloves on!
The important thing, of course, is that you have fun. And this list is far from definitive, so if you have other ideas for great family activities, don’t be afraid to go with your instincts.
Leslie Vincent is our Gardening expert at Atkins. Atkins is one of Ireland’s biggest garden centres advising gardening enthusiasts and professional landscapers on all their gardening needs.