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AD. Summer is FINALLY on the way, right?! May was a bit of a wash out, and so I’m looking forward to lots of relaxing Summer days stretching out ahead of us very soon so we can enjoy lots of fun in our garden.
It is just a matter of weeks until we begin our first Summer holidays with a 5-year-old at home, AND a new baby too, so we’ve spent some time getting the garden ready for us to have lots of fun in it!
We only moved into our first house 18 months ago, so having a garden is still new, and very much novel, to us, and it is fair to say that we’re enjoying it more and more as we have more work carried out. We have had new fencing, and a sleeper wall installed in the last year.
Next up we’re going to have either a patio, or decking, once our roof is replaced, and then we’ll be purchasing some new furniture, a table and a pizza oven for homemade pizzas.
In the meantime we are making sure that our garden is a great source of fun, especially for Daisy. We have been fortunate enough to be able to spend some money on a few items and I want too share some of our favourite fun ways to use the garden.
Start with great storage
It is GREAT to have fun toys, accessories and other items to use in the garden, but you’ll want somewhere to store everything! We’ve got Daisy her own storage box, that doubles as a seat, so there is somewhere to tidy the toys away at the end of the day.
We spend a few minutes at the end of each day encouraging Daisy to pack away her balls from her sand / water pit, put her mud kitchen accessories away (to prevent animals playing with them overnight) and just generally respect her belongings.
Storing items away from the wind and rain also helps them to last longer.
Buy toys suitable for multiple purposes
We have a small plastic children’s slide. It’s nothing special to look at I’m sure, but it is ideal for use both as a slide AND as a water slide! We’ve been able to place a hose with a sprinkler attachment on the top, and put the slide into Daisy’s pool. This increases the fun, and the longevity of her use of this item too!
It is also perfect for creating a small shaded area for Daisy to turn into a den, and we’ve used it during treasure hunts in the garden too. Think outside of the box with toys and I’m sure you can come up with different ways to increase their longevity!
A quality playhouse can last for multiple children
Another example is this wonderful Smoby Neo Friends house from the Outdoor Toys section at Very. Not only is it is a beautiful playhouse, but it has a built in area for Daisy to enjoy her lunch each day in the sun too.
The garden area with removable picnic table and benches is a really fantastic addition to this playhouse and it is great for Daisy to eat outside, where she can make limitless amounts of mess and spread crumbs absolutely everywhere, without a care in the world.
This is a really spacious playhouse, that has enough space to accommodate both of our girls over the next few years. There are lovely accessories available, and it comes with windows, half doors and even adorable little shutters.
What I love about this playhouse is that you can buy additional accessories, such as slabs to make a patio and even garden accessories like flower boxes.
Daisy is absolutely in love with this playhouse so far and will happily spend hours playing in the garden, opening and closing the windows and doors, making me queue up as a customer for her shop and expanding her imagination in the garden.
I love that this playhouse is anti UV-treated and it feels super safe and sturdy. This is on the larger side for a playhouse, and I love that you can change it up with a variety of add-on accessories available to purchase.
If in doubt put them in water..!
When Daisy is having a day where she is a little bit grumpy, or just struggling to be as relaxed as I might prefer with a newborn in the house, I always feel that water helps to improve her mood vastly, and mine at times too!
Sometimes I go with cups and spoons in the kitchen sink, other times a pampering shower, but the paddling pool is ALWAYS a winner in our garden.
We have a water, and sandpit. It is a shell that we have fastened with string to sit on top of one another when not in use. This keeps cats out in the garden overnight, especially as we have a cat who lives in our garden, and keeps the sand fresh too.
One side is filled with sand, and I have purchased a set of buckets, spades and other shapes for her to enjoy in the sand.
The other shell is kept empty, and then we fill it up with water when in use. At the end of the day we use the water to empty around the garden, especially where ewe are growing new grass and plants, with the help of a fun watering can. This is a great little activity for Daisy in itself!
There is a little mess with this item, as Daisy loves to rub the sand into her hair, but sand is great for grass anyway, and the 3 bags of play sand we purchased have lasted her for weeks and weeks so far, with no sign of the sand level decreasing seemingly.
Why not MAKE fun toys?
Whether you’re short on money, or just fancy trying your hand at something new like a little DIY, you could make some toys for the garden.
DIY wind chimes are great fun made from old plastic bottles and you don’t need to spend money on a sand pit if you’ve got a large plastic tub you can use instead.
I must admit we didn’t make this lovely wind chime..!
Thomas made Daisy this great, super fun mud kitchen from a couple of pallets he collected for FREE!
We bought a metal bowl to fix in for around £2, a plastic jug for 50p and then we asked family and friends if they had any unwanted kitchen utensils or pans that they could donate to Daisy’s mud kitchen.
When we needed a new frying pan, as ours had seen better days, the old one was promptly snapped up by Daisy for use in her mud kitchen.
Daisy loves to mix up ‘potions’ and practice ‘science’ at her mud kitchen. I love that I can hose it down with either the garden hose or pressure washer at the end of the day.
Little ones love crafting and with some beads, sand and a few plastic bottles you can make a number of great crafts for the garden.
Don’t overlook growing things…
When thinking about fun ways to use the garden this Summer don’t forget about the joy of growing things.
Little ones can practice patience, waiting to see those first sprouts from planted seeds, and you can even take cuttings and grow multiple varieties or favourite plants or seedlings to save money.
Remember the birds too!
Another source of great fun, and joy, in our garden would be our bird table and bird feeder. We spent only around £20 on the table, feeder and some fat balls, but we love to look out each day and see which birds are visiting us!
We had pigeons only, for many months, which was exciting in itself for Daisy, and more recently we’ve had a Robin and a few Starlings too! Daisy loves to learn about new animals, and it is so satisfying to see birds enjoying the items we leave out.
When we’re cooking together, or enjoying a garden picnic, we also leave any scraps of fruit, pastry or breadcrumbs on the bird table, as we have read that these are enjoyed by lots of different birds.
For us we feel that we have got a great balance in our garden. We have several areas for Daisy to play, be creative and explore, and then we have space to grow flowers, enjoy the trickling sound of our water fountain and twinkly wind chimes and have guests over too.
Daisy loves her playhouse, mud kitchen and swing in particular, but the main thing that she wants is to just enjoy time together!
Our garden is a source of great joy for our family and being active outdoors, in the fresh air and sunshine, is something that we absolutely love.