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

[amazon bestseller=”kids garden tunnels” items=”4″]

  • 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

[amazon bestseller=”kids pavement chalk” items=”1″]

  • 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.

[amazon bestseller=”aquaplay canal” items=”4″ “grid”]

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.

[amazon bestseller=”tuff tray” items=”2″ “grid”]

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…. 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

47 thoughts on “11 Awesome Ways to make a small garden fun for kids”

  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. Dave - Dad’s Turn

    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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