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Make the most of the Summer with these 10 cost effective ideas for outside fun.

Suddenly June has crept up on us and it is now officially summer time!

Getting children outside in the fresh air, playing and being active is great for their well-being and they learn so much whilst playing. Most importantly these summer days will become the fond childhood memories that they will look back on. You don’t need expensive toys and equipment, what is so much more important is spending time interacting with your children.  We have come across some great outdoor play ideas in recent months and so we wanted to collate and share them in one post.

If you don’t have access to a garden of your own, maybe you can invade a willing relative’s garden, take to the park or suggest these ideas to your local playgroup or nursery.

We have trolled the internet to find 10 fabulous ideas that look the most fun without breaking the bank! We especially like number 9 as it’s created by us at Zest! Zest 4 Learning is a pre-school learning programme and if you like the types of activities we suggest here then take a look at our pre-school learning programme at www.zest4learning and make sure you sign up for our future newsletters.

1. Dens and Tents

Kids love hiding away in a secret place. A simple sheet over a low clothes line and a blanket to sit on can be as good as any expensive shop bought Tepee. Add cushions, bunting and leave them with their favourite soft toys for some imaginary play.

Or make a semi-permanent reading den.

If there are resources to hand have a go at building a den together. It could be a mini one for dolls or toys.

2. Sand and Gravel pits

My daughter spent hours playing in her sand pit with diggers and also burying toy dinosaurs and excavating them! So I would highly recommend finding a place in the garden to create a sand, or gravel and stone, play area. But remember to protect it from cats - as they notoriously like to use these as their toilet!

If you don’t have the space in the garden a large tray could do the trick!

And if you’re brave enough, let them have some fun with mud and tractors!

3. Outdoor Black Boards

Outdoor blackboards are great to get creative with or play word games on, such as hangman. And thankfully the chalk dust is less of a problem being outside! Just get some plywood and paint it with black board paint (most DIY stores stock it) they can be very easy to make.

You can use your black board to keep scores for games (maths skills practice too!).

4. Outdoor Games

Create some target games to keep them entertained. Throw balls, bean bags or small soft toys into hoops or suitable containers. aprender-jugando/page/2/

Or play "get the balloons into the laundry basket!" outdoor-kids-party-ideas/

Or fill those balloons with water and stand back as they have some batting practice!

5. Create an Assault Course

Assault courses are great for physical skills and maths too if they time themselves! As well as the ideas suggested below you could add in a target throwing game, egg and spoon, sack race or hurdles.

6. Get Planting

Learning how plants grow, especially if they’re ones we can eat, is important stuff to know and can encourage your child to try new foods they have grown themselves. A little vegetable patch or herb garden in a corner or a large pot is a great idea. Sun flowers are great too or try to grow a pumpkin you can then use at Halloween. Most garden centres will sell easy to grow, child friendly, seeds. inspiring-outdoor-play-spaces-kids.html

Up-cycle those grown out of wellies! 2011/08/my-obsessions.html

7. Make a Secret Garden

Help them create a secret garden for fairies or maybe a dinosaur jungle in the plants and weeds! 2013/06/not-fairy-garden-dinosaur-garden.html

8. Or make a Race Track

If you have a patch of grass you don’t mind chopping into then this is a brilliant idea.

9. How about a Scavenger Hunt?

This can be played individually or in teams. Send them off to collect the items… But give some boundaries as you don’t want them to pick your prize flowers! Make sure they collect only a fallen petal or the flower of a weed in the grass. The pdf document can be downloaded here! 

Garden Scavenger Hunt pdf's 

10. Get Arty with Nature

Using clay or Plastercine and a collection of sticks, leaves or stones get creative. Give the trees some faces or make them on the patio. garden-crafts-meet-the-little-folk/

Just threading leaves on a thin stick looks amazing! There are even more great ideas on the link below.

And then when it all gets too much … just take a nap!

http:// aprender-jugando/page/2/

Enjoy your summer.

Carole x

Carole Hender is the founder of the Zest 4 Learning, a pre-school home education programme. We create competence, confidence and a love of learning with our exciting monthly subscription box. Zest is an innovative programme that supplies learning activities and all the resources in a fun and structured format . Find out more at 

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