Not only will your kids love you for this, but you as parents will reap the rewards too. Making the most of your outdoor space so your kids can get plenty of exercise and fresh air has its obvious benefits, and there are many more reasons why it’s a great idea to make the garden a place the kids want to spend time. While going to the park can still be on the agenda, having your own outdoor play area gives you the flexibility to stay home and invite friends over when the trip out feels too much, you’re waiting in for a delivery or when there’s work to be done at home.

For those of you who have kitchens overlooking the garden, it can make tea-time a whole lot easier if you can give the kids a run out in the garden while you get on with prepping the evening grub. Obviously this applies to younger children, as older ones won’t require such a watchful eye. Having friends and their kids over also means adults can relax over a cuppa, watching the little ones make the most of the inventive playground you’ve worked hard to create. You can get nostalgic and relive your childhood joining in with fun and games outdoors too. It can be a great tool for getting your older ones off their screens for a while too.

Here are 12 great ideas for giving the kids the garden playground they’ll love.

1.    A chalk board; kids love to draw on walls right? Install a large chalkboard on your fence. Kids will have hours of fun chalking up some giant pics for the family to admire.

2.    A zip line will give the kids hours of fun and great kudos with their mates. If you are lucky enough to have a big garden, and especially if you have a large tree, setting up a zip wire safely will make your garden the go to place for all the kids in your street.

3.    There’s nothing cooler than a tyre swing. You’ll need an old tyre (great to recycle), some chain and/or rope, as well as something to hang the swing from (most likely a large tree). Be sure to test it’s safe before giving the kids a go.

4.    Teepeescome in all sizes and let’s face it are the coolest of tents. Red indian outfits can make a great addition to the dressing up box and making a totem pole (big or small) could be a great creative family project.

5.    Sandpits come in all shapes and sizes and can easily be bought or handmade. Be creative; it doesn’t have to take over your garden. Sand in a large tin flower tub can be just as fun. You can bury treasure in the sand for the little ones to find.

6.    The ultimate treehouse is a fantastic project for the DIY enthusiast and a big hit with the kids. You’ll obviously need a tree you can safely put the magical sky house in.

7.    If you don’t have any trees for a treehouse project, then a playhouse is just as good a space for kids to ramp up their imaginative play and to feel they have their own space to hang out in the garden. Playhouses range from tiny one room plastic options to luxurious wooden 2-storey creations with balconies. It’s just a question of budget and aesthetics.

8.    A hammock is always a winner and a great place for you to relax on a balmy summer evening with a glass of your favourite wine once the kids are in bed.

9.    Trampolines are all the rage these days, but a quirky way of adding it to your garden is to sink it into the ground. It may take a bit of back-breaking work to dig the hole, but it makes it less of an eyesore in the garden, and you could even make a wooden cover to go over it, making a funky raised sitting area.

10.    Little ones will love an outdoor kitchen for making mud pies. It’s a great way of recycling your old pots and pans and kitchen utensils too. It doesn’t need to be elaborate – a small table with an oil cloth cover, a washing up bowl and a chopping board make a great play kitchen.

11.    A water feature is great for the summer months. Having a pool might not be an option, but splash pads with fountains can be a compromise and feel safer for the little ones. Failing that a sprinkler (while perhaps not ethically great for conserving water) can be a cheaper option for giving the kids a fun treat on hotter days.
12.    A vegetable patch might not sound quite the thing for an adventure playground, but you’ll be amazed at how fascinated kids can be with growing and tending things in the garden. There’s the planting project, the feeding and watering and the harvesting, not to mention the cooking sessions. If you’ve invested in a playhouse, you could even add on a mini veg patch as the garden to that.

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working alongside a selection of companies including UK Log Cabins, who were consulted over this post.