With Winter behind us, the kids are itching to get out in the garden once more and Spring is the perfect time to encourage plenty of physical play.
The garden has so many opportunities for exploring and discovering all that nature has to offer right now, so with that in mind we share five of our best play ideas that are guaranteed to tempt the kids outdoors, come rain or shine.
1. Set up a playhouse
Kids of all ages love playhouses: they are great fun to play in, whatever the weather. Playhouses also provide an immense range of opportunities for child development, from ‘pretend play’ that sparks the imagination through to the development of social skills and increased problem solving abilities. There are three types of playhouse to choose from: wooden playhouses, plastic playhouses and play tents. Play tents are great for warm weather but the wooden and plastic houses are better for year round play. A number of models come with extra play features such as slides and platforms which provide added play value, and you can also buy two storey houses which are perfect for allowing a number of children to play together.
2. Let them go ‘camping’
A great way to nurture your kids’ love for the outdoors is to put up a tent for them to hang out in through the day and into the evening. This gives them a taste of camping without the worry of them sleeping out in the garden overnight. To create an authentic camping experience, help them cook their supper using a camp stove and let them sit up telling stories after it gets dark. This gives them the opportunity to spend time outside in the fresh air, away from computers, games consoles or the television, and offers a good precursor for future camping trips.
3. Get them gardening
Gardening is an incredibly beneficial activity for children – it teaches them responsibility, builds their self-confidence and helps to instil a love of nature. They’ll also learn plenty about the science of plants, the environment, the weather and nutrition.
If you have the room, it’s a great idea to give your kids their own space in the garden, such as a flower bed or planter, where they can prepare the soil, sow their own seeds and nurture the plants as they grow throughout the year. Kids also love growing fruit and vegetables, and will love picking and preparing what they’ve made for the family dinner. A cold frame will guarantee them great results and give them the flexibility to choose from a wide range of crops including broccoli, cabbage, beets, kale, lettuce, radishes and spinach.
4. Choose a climbing frame with a den
Your kids will love playing on the climbing frame when it’s sunny but what do you do on soggy, wet days? Some climbing frames incorporate brilliant dens for your kids to hang out in when it gets too drizzly to use the swings and slides, and these offer hours of play potential in rainy weather. The Plum Climbing Cube has a brilliant camo play den underneath, complete with roll down door – the kids will just love putting on their wellies and piling in for a secret meeting, important mission or a tasty packed lunch! The Plum Climbing Pyramid also offers a large play den area underneath, sheltered by the camouflage fabric side panels – allowing your kids to set up HQ in the garden, even on wet days. Both play centres offer fantastic year round play value, helping kids burn off energy when the sun’s out and still benefit from the fresh air when it’s cloudy and damp.
5. Set up a gazebo
There are so many activities that kids can enjoy doing outdoors, and with a gazebo in the garden, they’ll never be limited by the weather. Many of our gazebos feature a sturdy yet lightweight steel frame with an easy pop up canopy that makes assembly really quick and simple. Once your gazebo is set up, the kids can enjoy an endless range of activities in the fresh air, many of which they can’t do inside. Make a bug house, blow bubbles, plant up some pots, make bird feeders or simply let them take their indoor toys such as plastic bricks and painting outside!