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Outdoor Activities for Kids: The Art of Making a Mess

Fed up of finding scribbles and spills in your home? Worry not. If you’ve got kids, making a mess in the garden is WAY easier to clean up than if they are making a mess in the home – just make sure your little ones are playing with natural, biodegradable materials that won’t harm the wildlife in your garden. Studies have shown that ‘messy play’ is key to the development of babies and children – as they explore the world through touch, giving them a variety of textures to splash around with is not only fun, but can also improve their concentration, encourage communication and teach them how to play independently. So here are some green ideas that’ll get your kids super-excited and should help save your walls and soft furnishings from any more colourful handprints. Here’s our list of outdoor activities for kids that will hopefully help keep them active through the summer months.

Make a mud kitchen

A simple, but effective, outdoor activity. Mud. Now there’s a material that isn’t in short supply.


Set up a mud kitchen for your children to make their own mud pies. You can repurpose an old toy kitchen from indoors, or a simple low outdoor table and a little imagination will do the same job. Encourage the kids to use buckets and spades or old baking tins and trays to move the mud around and shape the ‘pies’. It’s very little outlay for literal hours of fun. 

Plant some bulbs

Getting the kids involved in planting is a lovely way to grow their understanding of nature and get them invested in the future of your flower beds and pots. Why not start by planting some bulbs together? Springtime favourites like tulips and daffodils need to be planted in September or October. They’ll keep popping up year after year to remind your littles ones just how rewarding gardening can be.


Not only is planting flowers or bulbs an enjoyable activity, but it also helps teach patience and care for the environment – not to mention, your garden will reap the rewards, having new flowers bloom up in the spring. This is an outdoor activity for kids that keeps on giving.


Urban Bloomer Elevated Garden Bed
Urban Bloomer Elevated Garden Bed

Collect leaves and twigs

Why not make tidying the garden into a game? Ask your children to rake up leaves or collect twigs into piles – whoever gathers the most, wins! It’s a simple but effective way to clear the debris from your garden and tire your kids out.

Get a sand pit

Creative play with sand can be great for a child’s development, and a fantastic summer activity. You can either build or buy a traditional low sandpit, or you (and your back) might prefer to fill a play table with sand. Encourage your kids to build sandcastles and other structures and really let their imagination run wild. And because they’re outside, it doesn’t matter if it goes everywhere (and it will).

Darwin 570L Storage Box
Darwin 570L Storage Box

Try al fresco painting

How about setting up an easel and some water-based paints for a little outdoor landscape painting? You could even arrange a still life with some objects from around your garden. Using water-based paints will mean no stains on their clothes, plus you’ll make some fun new art to take pride of place on the fridge.


Trying an al fresco painting, looking at a landscape is a great outdoor activity for kids and adults alike – so why not give it a try?

Water way to go

When it comes to outdoor activities for kids, a winning idea for when the weather warms up is playing with water. Whether that means filling a paddling pool, play table or simply a washing up bowl, you’ll be amazed just how long your kids can be entertained by filling and emptying things with water. And when they’re done, you can use the water to give your plants a long, cool drink.


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