10 Fun and Free Summer Activities for Kids in the Garden

Once the weather warms up, we can’t wait to get back outdoors and start enjoying lots of fun outside. Here are 10 Fun and free summer activities for kids in the garden, which my boys enjoy. You definitely don’t need to spend a lot to have a great time. Sometimes the simple ideas are the best.

Lots of Fun and free garden activities with kids

1. Chalk

chalk activities for kidsA large pack of chalk can keep my boys entertained for hours, and can be used to bring in some learning ideas too. Even if they just free play with the chalk they are developing their mark making skills, fine motor skills for pencil control, and exploring their creativity. You can see some of our backyard chalk activities here from last year.

If you are feeling creative and want to make your own chalk then check out this chalk recipe from Fun at Home with Kids

2. Bubbles

Bubbles in the garden

These are a timeless classic for all ages, and guaranteed to get the kids active as they run and jump to catch them.

If you want to make your own try this recipe from Red Ted Art, or this method from Happy Hooligans for giant bubbles

3. Berries and Apples Picnic

My kids love this and it helps to get them excited about eating more fruit! If you’re lucky enough to have blackberries, apple trees or any kind of edible fruit and berries growing in the garden then get the children to help pick and wash the berries and set up a picnic.

Have a garden picnic with apples and berries

You can see our berries and apples picnic post from last year for more on this.

4. Treasure Hunt

Make a map and hide clues and treasure around the garden. My kids also love to make a pirate ship by sticking a broom through the parasol slot in our garden table to serve as a mast. Treasure hunts can fit in so well with this pirate themed imaginary play.
5. Set up a car race

If there’s a toy your kids love to play with indoors, then chances are they will also love to play with that outdoors. For my boys, that’s cars!

Check out this outdoor road from And Next Comes L, made out of stones. If you have a little more time, you can not get much cooler than this garden race track. I totally want one!
6. Stone Collection

activities and ideas for playing with stones

Every kid seems to love to collect stones. It gives lots of opportunity to talk about the different colours, sizes and shapes. If you have an easy-to-use kid’s microscope, you can build your kid’s curiosity while looking at the collected stones and letting them discover what these are made of. They can also set up a display with all of the stones and treasures they have found. You can then use them for craft activities, like just simple painting on rocks (this was our first ever blog post!) or glue pictures on to make story stones. You can find out more about Story Stones on Teach Preschool
7. Water Play

This is one of my favourite pictures of the boys playing outside, because I love how much fun they can have just with a bath of water!

water play ideas for fun in the garden this summer

You can mix this up by making it into a car wash or adding colour to the water. Check this post from Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails for even more water play ideas
8. Relay Race and Home Sports Day

My kids love an outdoors sports day. Last year Mr Z was sick and missed his school sports day so I thought we would recreate something at home. You can use empty kitchen roll tubes for the relay race (you could decorate these in advance for a craft activity) and let the children write up the scores with chalk. A small bean bag will also be useful for balancing games, or you can use ball pool balls and baskets for a fun race where the kids have to collect all the balls and quickly collect them into their baskets. (Either one colour per child, or the most balls in the basket wins)

9. Messy play

Summer is a great chance to get the kids involved in some of the messier sensory activities which you may have been reluctant to do inside. Moon dough is a good one for outdoors as it’s so crumbly.

messy play ideas for in the garden

We also love painting outdoors and setting up sensory bins with rice, sand, jelly and lots more. For a wide list of sensory materials that would be fun outdoors check this post
10. Outdoor Twister

Outdoor Twister is lots of fun. Last year we bought one very cheaply in Asda, with inflatable dice but you can also make your own by spray painting the Twister board right onto the grass and making a spinner.

Backyard Barbecue Blog Hop 2014

Welcome to the Second Annual Backyard Barbecue Blog Hop! (But the first time I have joined!) I am so excited to be joining with my blogger friends to create a collection of fabulous ideas for family fun this summer.

Be sure to visit all of our co-hosts to see their amazing posts and be sure to share yours at the end!


All Done Monkey
The Squishable Baby
Creative World of Varya
Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes
Twin Falls Mommy
In The Playroom
Slow Family
Adventures of Adam
Adventure in a Box
Planet Smarty Pants

Now your turn:

21 thoughts on “10 Fun and Free Summer Activities for Kids in the Garden”

  1. Some great ideas here – especially handy with the school hols coming up in a couple of weeks (and the 6 week break not long after that!)


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