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Article: Outdoor Play Ideas for Small Spaces

Outdoor Play Ideas for Small Spaces

As part of our Power Pastels launch, we were lucky enough to meet some of our amazing Instagram followers at our Ballie Ballerson photoshoot experience. Mum of two Lisa came along with her beautiful bundle of fun Ella and we were totally inspired when she told us about her thriving community of play fans over on @theearlyyears_

kids play ideas, the early years

We asked Lisa to channel her expertise into some awesome tips to help you get outside into your personal space, no matter how small it is. Lisa, thank you so much, you are a star!

In a time where our routine, socialising and way of life have been drastically altered many of us also find that we are now a teacher, perhaps on top of a day job, housework and all with the current worries on our mind. Take a step back.  It’s going to be ok.   My biggest advice, get outside.  No matter the size of your outdoor space there are things to do to keep little ones entertained and to maintain your own positive mental health.  Here are some ideas to get fresh air and keep children entertained. 1.Movement - wake up, get dressed, open the doors and whatever space you have try and do some movement in it. A quick family dance, a running race, some keep fit.  Get some endorphins going, energy and fresh air in your lungs. 2. Garden games - bring out the classic garden games and join in, swing ball, football, cricket.  Break the day up with short sessions of games as a family.  Even if you are working at home, try to involve yourself in short bursts of play through the day.  Show that you are present and this will help attention seeking behaviour.

kids play ideas

  1. Pavement chalk - get your child drawing on the patio and on the pavement showing words of encouragement and pretty pictures for passers-by and yourselves. This will just wash off in the rain and then the activity can be done again.
  2. Themed days - that’s right, do some fun things and ‘go to town’ on them.  A) Sports day - egg and spoon race the lot - wear sports kit and get a trophy for the winner.  B) Day at the fair - make some traditional fair games, hook a duck, knock the cans, apple bobbing.  Have prizes and treats at the ready.
  3. Water play - all you need is a big container for water and pots, pans, jugs etc. Children love water play and if you want to turn it into a maths lesson about weights and volumes etc. 6. 'Find it' games - set a challenge each day to go find things - things beginning with different letters, things that are crunchy, things with a funny texture, things that look like other things. Collect all of these over the days and weeks and see what you end up with.


kids play ideas


  1. Get messy - mud kitchens (makeshift or shop bought) add mud, add water - let them get messy.  If it’s dry, soak the ground and jump in muddy puddles.
  2. Use outdoor space to relax - walk barefoot on the grass, lay down and look at the sky.  This is an amazing tool to use if it is all getting a bit much. What does the grass feel like between our toes? How slow can we walk? What can we see in the sky? What does that cloud look like? What can we hear? Just slow and mindful, it will work wonders.

You got this, it’s a moment in time. Stay safe, stay home, stay well. Lisa Read more from Lisa's blog The Early Years Shop Power Pastels here


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