One of the best ways to inspire children’s imaginations and creativity is to get them outdoors! From forests, to woodlands, mountains and beaches and right at home in your garden. Exploring the outdoors is a fantastic way to spark children’s imaginations. So why not start at home in your own back yard?
Here are 9 magical garden ideas to inspire your children’s imaginations…
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. Please see my disclosure policy for more details on what this means.
A Big Tree
Who remembers a big tree from your childhood? Trees are the the ultimate symbol of a carefree childhood outdoors and inspire imaginations big and small. Children love climbing trees, building dens under trees and hiding behind trees. Trees give shade in the summer, shelter in the winter, are inspiring in all seasons, and are fairly low maintenance. If you have the space, try a weeping willow tree to create a much-loved children’s play area. A big tree gives lots of den making opportunities at ground level with enough room up top for a tree house. Perfect to add a touch of magic to your family garden.
A (safe!) Fish Pond
I know what you’re thinking. Is a fish pond safe for children? But did you know that you can now find purpose designed grates that sit invisibly just under the surface of the water? Not only do these wonderful little contraptions stop children tripping headlong into the frogspawn – but the fish beneath the rippling surface will be protected from any passing birds with a eye out for a seafood supper. A fish pond is a source of endless fascination with children. Plus, if you have the space, ponds offer lots of expandable options in terms of pond shrubbery, seating, and a perhaps a pathway, helping to create a really magical and inspiring space.
An Outdoor Kitchen
Mud kitchens are really popular at the moment, especially with the growing interest in Forest Schools. You can buy beautiful ready made mud kitchens, but it’s really simple and cheap to create your own outdoor kitchen too. You can make it as simple as a plank of wood across two logs. Or you can nail two wooden pallets together to create a simple and effective mud kitchen. Add some pots, pans and ladles and your children will be ready to make mud pies galore!
I don’t care how old you are, who loves hopping along stepping stones? The great thing about stepping stones is that it’s the hopping that’s fun – regardless of where they lead! Put a bench at the end. Choose a bird bath if you wish. Build a garden shed and lead the stones to the door. If you’ve got room to play with you can have fun with where your stepping stones go. If you have a smaller garden, stepping stones are a fun feature to lead to somewhere the children might want to go…
Create a fun hideaway space for your children by adding a wooden play house, or even a tree house! Children love little hidden play spaces where they can play creatively and let their imaginations take over.
A Sand Box
When you can’t get to the beach, bring the beach to you! Whether you only have space for a small sand box, or create something more elaborate, sand is always a winner with children of all ages. Children will love building castles, making sand ice creams and imagining they are out at the beach!
For that magical touch, try adding something to your garden that your children would not expect to be there! How about an old row boat filled with sand, or a door they can really open, or maybe some miniature fairy houses! Putting something unexpected in the garden can turn an ordinary garden into a one that will inspire imaginations.
A Winding Pathway
Most children love exploring on wheeled vehicles or scooters. Adding a winding pathway will give them a smooth surface to move around on, whilst adding an element of fun exploration.
A garden to inspire wouldn’t be complete without a small gardening area for children. Encourage children to get involved with gardening by providing them with their own little set of gardening tools. Plan to plant easy to grow plants such as sweet peas, beans, sunflowers or tomatoes. If you can, also leave a ‘wild’ area where children can encourage wildlife, such as bees and birds. They might enjoying making a bee hotel, or designing a bird feeder to add to their wild area. Children will be inspired to get creative, whilst also developing a love and appreciation for wildlife and the natural world.
Do any of these ideas inspire you? Do you have any to add? How would you inspire children’s imaginations out in the garden?