Budget Garden Activities for Children

Keeping children entertained every day throughout the summer holidays can be a difficult -and expensive – task.

When we had our garden redesigned earlier this year I was really excited to have a safe outdoor place for the children to explore and enjoy. I quickly began to research all the things we could buy for them to enrich the space…playhouses, trampolines, swing sets – the sky was the limit! Well, actually our wallets were the limit, and Josh quickly reminded me that we had already spent a fortune on planting up the garden and we needed to be sensible!

I’m glad he is the voice of reason because when I am not caught up in an online shopping frenzy I actually believe that less is more, and you don’t need to buy a lot of ‘stuff’ to entertain your children. It is good for them to be bored occasionally, to explore and use their imaginations. It leads to far more interesting games and means your house isn’t filled with plastic tat!

Here are some of the low cost, but fun things our kids have been playing with this summer:

Homemade Giant Bubbles

If you don’t have any ready-made bubble mix around you can make your own really easily. I used this recipe –
6 cups of water
1/2 cup of washing up liquid
1/2 cup of corn flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. glycerine

Mix it together without causing too much froth and you’re good to go! We only had one bubble wand so I made a quick (very) DIY version with two sticks and some wool threaded through two screw eyes and weighted down with a necklace charm!

Water Play

Children seem to love playing with water! As well as having a paddling pool for hotter days they also love playing with containers of water and pouring it from one place to another. One of most successful, and time consuming games they like is to ‘paint’ our fence or wall with water! I first tried it when I was trying to get on with painting our garden fence and was so surprised by how long they stayed doing it. Super simple and practically no mess involved!

Climbing Logs

This is one of my favourite parts about our garden! The kids love climbing on the wooden ‘stepping stones’ at the park so I asked my friend if he could get me some tree stumps to use in our garden. They are so versatile and the children use them as a table and chairs, as well as for climbing and lots of other imaginary play! I love that they are natural and blend in well with the garden rather than having a large garish play structure.


Even the simplest things can be fun for children. We don’t have a sand-pit, but we do have an area of gravel and the kids will spend ages with their buckets and spades digging around, sorting out the different coloured stones and piling them up.

We are so quick to provide ‘entertainment’ for our children that we often do them a disservice by not letting them explore their own imaginations. Often, the simplest and cheapest solutions can provide hours of entertainment and being outside can only do them good!

What are your favourite outdoors activities for kids? I would love some more inspiration!



  1. August 23, 2018 / 3:39 pm

    I love these ideas – I really wanted to do homemade bubbles this year but it didn’t happen!

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