Summer is a time of joy and excitement for children, offering endless opportunities for outdoor play and exploration. Transforming your garden into a child-friendly paradise doesn’t have to break the bank or consume all your time. With a few simple, cost-effective improvements, you can create a vibrant and safe outdoor space that will keep the kids entertained all summer long. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. DIY Outdoor Chalkboard

An outdoor chalkboard provides a perfect canvas for children to express their creativity. It’s easy and inexpensive to make. Simply purchase a large piece of plywood, paint it with chalkboard paint, and secure it to a fence or wall. Provide some chalk in various colours, and watch as your kids create outdoor art. This not only encourages creativity but also makes for a colourful garden display.

2. Sensory Garden

Creating a sensory garden is a fantastic way to engage children’s senses. Incorporate plants with different textures, scents, and colours. Add elements like wind chimes, bird feeders, and textured walkways to stimulate hearing and touch. Sensory gardens can be created in small sections of your garden and don’t require expensive plants. Local garden centres often have sales on perennials and annuals that can add bursts of colour and fragrance.

3. Homemade Water Play Table

Water play is a hit with most kids and a great way to cool down on hot days. Instead of buying a new water table, you can easily make one. Use large plastic bins, or repurpose an old table by cutting out spaces to fit the bins. Fill these with water, and add cups, boats, and other waterproof toys. Always supervise children during water play to ensure safety.

4. Tyre Swing or Sandbox

Old tyres can be repurposed into swings or sandboxes, providing hours of entertainment. For a tyre swing, all you need is a sturdy tyre, strong rope, and a secure tree branch. Ensure the tyre and branch can support the weight and that the swing is safely installed. Alternatively, a tyre can be filled with play sand to create a simple sandbox. Cover the sandbox when not in use to keep it clean.

5. Nature Scavenger Hunts

Designing nature scavenger hunts is a cost-free way to encourage exploration and learning in your garden. Create lists of items for kids to find, such as certain leaves, stones, bugs, or flowers. You can adjust the complexity based on the children’s ages. This activity promotes observation skills and an appreciation for nature.

6. Grow a Pizza Garden

Involve your kids in growing a pizza garden featuring tomatoes, peppers, onions, and herbs. Choose a sunny spot in the garden, and allocate a small plot or use containers. Children will learn about the growing process and enjoy the rewards of their labour. Cooking a pizza with ingredients they’ve grown themselves can be a fun and educational summer project.

7. Recycled Bottle Bird Feeders

Making bird feeders from recycled bottles is an eco-friendly project that can attract wildlife to your garden. Clean a plastic bottle, make holes for the birdseed to spill out, and insert wooden spoons or sticks as perches. Hang the feeder from a tree and watch as birds visit your garden. This teaches kids about recycling and bird species.

8. Create a Reading Nook

A quiet corner of the garden can be transformed into an outdoor reading nook with just a few cushions and some fabric for shade. Encourage your children to spend time reading outside by making this space comfortable and inviting. This can also serve as a spot for relaxation and quiet play.


Improving your garden for children doesn’t require a lot of money or resources. With a bit of creativity and DIY spirit, you can create a fun, engaging, and educational outdoor space that your kids will love. These improvements not only benefit the children but can also enhance the overall appeal and functionality of your garden. Enjoy the process of making these changes, and look forward to a summer filled with joy and laughter in your newly improved garden.