11 Awesome Ways to make a small garden fun for kids

11 ways to make a small garden fun for kids

We have a typical London garden meaning that it is scarcely bigger than a postage stamp, but it is outside, it is safe and it is ours and despite living in London, just a few minutes’ walk from a tube station it is strangely quiet.  In fact, right now all I can hear are the birds singing and my children playing.  It has to be said that all most people can hear are our children playing – sorry about that! 

We wanted to make our small garden fun for kids so that we can keep them entertained and not always have to head out for activities.  There are lots of ways to make a small garden fun for kids and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.   This post contains my 11 favourite ways to create fun within a small garden for kids which have been working for our family of six.



Small Garden fun

Here are my top 11 ways to make a small garden fun for kids:

  • Use tunnels (play ones rather than just letting the kids loose with a shovel), tents and soft play blocks to create an obstacle course and time the kids completing the course. They can race one another or just the clock

Bestseller No. 1
MantraRaj Kids Animal Pop Up Crawl Tunnel Tube Play Tent Toy Indoors and outdoors Garden Game
  • Kids Play Tunnel, Portable, foldable, lightweight and convenient to carry
  • Multi coloured. This play tent is great for anywhere such as home, beach, backyard, park, parties, camping, day care, etc
  • Size: 45 x 180 cm
  • Main steel wire diametre: 2.8mm
  • 170T polyester material
Bestseller No. 2
World's Apart Pop Up Play Tunnel by Kid Active
  • Great fun pop up play tunnel
  • Includes holes to post balls through promotes physical activity
  • Quick and easy to assemble
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Size(L x W x D): 120 x 42 x 42cm
Bestseller No. 3
Kids Kingdom Red Polka Dot Play Tunnel
  • 180cm or approximately 6 ft long x Diameter 47cm
  • High quality fabric
  • Supplied in an attractive carry case for easy storage.
  • Matches our Kids Kingdom Play Tent
  • Can be used on its own or in conjunction with the tent.
Bestseller No. 4
KiddyPlay Pop-up 3 Way Play Tunnel - Indoor or Outdoor Toy Tent For Kids
  • Durable fabric/mesh construction. Light spring steel mechanism.
  • 3 tunnels in 1 for hours of crawling, hiding and playing!
  • Size: Width 152cm x Depth 152cm x Height 48cm
  • Comes with carry bag making it easy to store and transport.
  • Quick and easy to assemble - pops up in seconds and folds compactly for easy storage

  • Use the soft play blocks and tents to make barricades; split into teams and grab the water balloons
  • Maximise space by building or buying a playhouse. Ours is elevated from the ground so that we could fit in a sandpit underneath and a place to store the bikes, which over time may be converted to a reading den.  My husband designed and built this, which was a great deal cheaper than buying one, and the kids just love it.
  • Build a den, get out some books and have a reading session. We take blankets and cushions to make our dens cosy.  The den can be simple – just chairs and sheets.  They don’t need anything complex. Our kids love it.
  • Chalk drawing on patios. Chalk drawing is a great way to let littles get creative outside, but also to sneak in a bit of letter writing practice.  The best part of this is of course that unless you have the queen coming to visit there is no tidying up required you can just leave it until it rains

Bestseller No. 1
Kids B Crafty 24 Giant Bright Coloured Chalks Chunky Pavement Washable Fun For Children 8 Super Vibrant Colours - Outdoor - Garden School Drawing Games - Artists Imagination - Toddler - Chalkbard -
  • BRIGHT AND BOLD: Each Tub Contains 24 Sticks Of Giant Chalk ( 8 Colours )
  • IDEAL FOR CHILDREN - Creative Play - Young Artist - Giant Size Drawings
  • WASHABLE: Washes of Pavements - Kids Love Chalk And Have Hours Of Fun
  • CHUNKY: Easy To Hold For Children - Ideal For Little Hands
  • PRESENTS: Ideal For Schools Clubs Nurseries Groups And Stocking Fillers

  • Make an outdoor kitchen corner and get imaginations firing. Developing vocabulary around home items forms a part of the early year’s curriculum so this is a great way to get toddlers started with this.  Our children turn the kitchen into a restaurant or pretend to make a picnic
  • If there were one product, I would recommend parting with cash for if you have a small garden it would be a canal system – this has been the best value toy that we have possibly ever bought.  We have had our one for 9 years and it is still going strong.  Even our 10 year old still plays with it.  I honestly can’t rave enough about these canal systems they are just amazing.

Bestseller No. 1
Aquaplay Waterway Canal System Toy with Lock Gates Crane, Amphibious Truck and Boat
  • Article size when assembled: 105x115x22 cm
  • Number of pieces: 29
  • Recommended age: 3 years and up
  • A portable waterway system for in doors or outdoors
  • Educational and fun
Bestseller No. 2
Aquaplay Portable Waterway Canal System Toy with Lock Gates Crane, Amphibious Truck and Boat
  • Article size when assembled: 85 x 65 x 22 cm
  • Number of pieces: 25
  • Recommended age: 3 years and up
  • A portable waterway system for in doors or outdoors
  • Educational and fun
Bestseller No. 3
Aquaplay 8700001528 Megabridge Waterway Colourful Water Play Table with Working Canal System, Lifting Crane, Bridges, Boat, and Car Toy, Suitable for Kids Ages 3+ Years
  • Your child's eyes will light up with delight as they enjoy this amazing water playset. Watch them load containers on to the ship and then have fun controlling the working canal system (complete with locks) to steer the ship around.
  • These waterplay sets are a totally tactile and sensory experience for kids as there is so much to see and do! Comes with an amphibian car and fun tug boat (complete with cute bear driver!) for shipping their containers around the canal.
  • They will be fascinated by figuring out how to regulate the water level by using the pump and opening the lock gates to move their boat around. Aqua play is a fun way to teach science concepts such as volume, measurement and problem-solving.
  • Spark their imaginations! They will love enjoying amazing adventures with Captain Bear and his fun boat! These indoor and outdoor toys keep kids immersed and absorbed in imaginative play for hours. Can also be emptied and used as a sand table or race track.
  • Item Weight: 4kg. Dimensions: 124.6 x 88 x 35 cm. Manufacturer recommended age: 3 - 7 years. Assembly is required. No batteries required. Sand water table made of plastic. Manufactured in Germany. To be used under the supervision of an adult.
Bestseller No. 4
AquaPlay 8700001544 Play Children | Water Table with Canal System & Lock Gates, Loading Dock & Water Wheel, Suitable for Kids Ages 3+ Years
  • Your child's eyes will light up with delight when they see this amazing toy! These water play tables for children come with a boat, car, sailor figures, crane, 3 canal locks, waterwheel, water gates and bridge, ramps, loading dock, and water pump.
  • There is so much for kids to do with this immersive and multi-functional toy. These outdoor toys are a totally sensory and tactile experience that will keep your little one immersed and absorbed in educational and imaginative play for hours.
  • Your child will be fascinated as they turn the paddlewheel and control the flow of water to watch their boat bob and sail around the canal (which has three working locks). The fun water wheel is another fun, fascinating feature.
  • Waterplay is a valuable and fun way to educate kids and help them learn science concepts such as volume, measurement, problem-solving and concepts of full/empty. Pouring, splashing and filling the containers also helps improve their hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
  • Item Weight: 3.63kg Product Dimensions: 145 x 160 x 22 cmManufacturer recommended age: 36 months - 7 years. Not suitable for children under 36 months.Assembly required. Does not need batteries. Kids water table made of plastic. Made in Germany.

It is perfect for imaginative play and has some elements of STEM learning when you start using the dams and the water pumps to move the water around.  In a small garden they are perfect as they have ones that fold up and so they are easy to store and they make it possible to let them play with water on those days when it is warm, but not quite warm enough for the pool.  Recently our boys have combined this with their playmobil pirates for literally hours of fun.

  • If you don’t have space for a sandpit a bit of kinetic sand (which you can make yourself) and a builders tray (Tuff Tray) works just as well.

Bestseller No. 1
JMS we create smile Classmates Small Black Tuff Spot Children's Messy Play Tray/SMALL BLACK PLASTIC MIXING TRAY SAND WATER PLAY CHILDERN_BUILDER EQUIMENT
  • Concrete and Mortar Mixing Tray - MADE IN UK
  • This item is suitable for kids to play, colour an work in , Sand Glitter, Water and Soil.
  • Approx Dim: SMALL 70cm (W) x 70cm (D) x 7cm (H)
  • Made from durable plastic, Compost Tray
  • Colour Mixing Spot Ideal For Mixing Things Like Mortar And Concrete, This Tray Is Easy To Clean And Helps Provide A No Mess Solution To Building Mixing. Also Great For a Wide Range of Other Applications, Including Oil Leaks, Sand, Water, Compost

We have a sandpit, but the fact that you can actually build things with the kinetic sand means that our kids often request to use this instead.

Dinosaur world – sand, rocks and foliage along with toy dinosaurs

Water play – either for splashing or for seeing what floats

Paint and Flour mixing – fun, but oh so messy

Ice cubes with toys hidden – great sensory experienceSmall Garden Fun for Kids

  1. Bug Spotting – we have fake grass now so this is a bit trickier, but a recent caterpillar infestation did give them a great entertainment. I was less thrilled!
  2. Wacky Races; our space is too small for running races, but throw in a space hopper, a ball to dribble around cones or an egg and spoon and you have got some excellent small garden fun and a great way of tiring out energetic kids

What would I do if I had a bigger garden?  If it was huge I would have a swimming pool.  Dream, dream, dream, dream…. Mrs Mummy Harris also has a small garden and a great wish list which could be great ideas for those of you with bigger patches of lawn, but I hope that this post will help you to see that a small garden for kids is far from a problem.   It can be great fun.

In the meantime I will look on the bright side; the great thing about a small garden is that it is easy to take care of so there is more time to be out there enjoying it and you can always see all the kids so you know what they are up too!  Oh, I do love a silver lining….

Looking at our garden, I would never have thought that four children could have been entertained in such a small space and yet in the holidays they spend hour upon hour out there.

ways to make a small garden fun for kids

Last update on 2021-05-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  1. We have a really small garden too, So these ideas were fab. Thank you for sharing. Looks like your littles had a fab time playing, too.

    Jemma x

  2. What a great list! Defin pinning so i can refer back to, i havent done chalk drawing On the pavement in ages #DreamTeam

  3. Gardens are such wonderful places for kids to play. I love the idea of a canal system. I will have to check that out for my grandchildren!

    1. Yes do. I will add a link into the post shortly as I have been getting so many people asking me about the canal. They really are great

  4. These are great ideas for those who have big or small gardens! we love the water play and sandpit, it keeps the little one occupied for hours! #DreamTeam

  5. We also have a tiny London garden and these tips are actuall Really usefull. Thanks! #dreamteam

  6. Our playhouse remains a favourite. chalk drawing is a biggy (when its not raining!!) and the sandpit is right up there. we are getting to the stage when a decent trampoline is needed! None of which I had growing up as a kid !!!!

    1. We defo don’t have room for a trampoline unless I want to stop sitting in the garden, but we are thinking of doing a climbing wall

  7. We’re currently re-vamping our garden and I love these ideas – made a mud kitchen for our ‘kitchen corner’ out of an old pallet

  8. We’ve got a tiny garden but have always tried to make the best of it as it’s the only outside space we’ve got. Yours looks great 🙂

    1. This was honestly the best money we spent on pretty much any toy for the kids. It has been going strong for like 5 years and they all play with it for hours

  9. That little canal system is brilliant! I hadn’t seen one of those before!
    We are finally getting rid of our rock landscaping this year to get some grass outside so the kids can play! Thank you for sharing at #DreamTeam!! I have so many fun ideas for this summer and fall now!

    1. I know they are fab. I keep meaning to go back to the post and add a link to the canal as honestly it is the best purchase we have made for the kids. Glad you enjoyed the post.



  11. Our outdoor space is small too. Thank you for showing us ways to be small and mighty! The key is, outside is outside, and that is fun no matter. xoxo #dreamteam

  12. I have lived in an apartment all through raising my kids but we have a big open field with trees and bushes that I could take them out in and play. We also have bike paths and several playgrounds nearby so it made getting them outside easier and me to not feel so guilty about not having a yard of their own to play in. Your tips are great. I did most of them with my boys when they were small:) #DreamTeam

    1. We often debate moving for a bigger garden but we too are very near a massive common and woods so we just go there if they need a run. Thanks for joining the #DreamTeam this week

  13. Love your ideas – we don’t have a garden at all as we live in a 4th floor flat but we have an allotment which the kids love in summer – I keep a paddling pool in my she shed! #DreamTeam

    1. My parents have an allotment and the kids just love it. Such a great way to get them engaged with what they are eating too. My kids love it when we are at my parents house and they get to pick their own veg for dinner!

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