When it comes to play, kids are the professionals. There's not a lot we can teach them. Show them a game to play, and they'll listen politely to what you say. Then, turn your back for a moment and they've moved on. They'll either abandon your game altogether, or adapt it to their own. The power of their imaginations is unstoppable, and who'd want to stop them anyway? The best that we can do is providing a fun environment for them to enjoy, and the garden is one of the best places to do that.
Kids don't like activities that hold them back, they like open-ended fun. Sand is a simple enough thing, that's why the possibilities are endless. If you're a kid, you can build a whole new world in a sand pit. Imagine ruling a kingdom with impregnable castles and fairy-tale palaces, this is what kids do. Then, when they think of something better, they start all over again. The term 'hours of fun' is much overused, this is more like weeks of fun.
The only thing that comes close to a kid's imagination is their energy. They just love running around and letting off steam. A trampoline is perfect. It's just the sheer fun of bouncing up and down. As an adult, you can try and explain it, but you'll never succeed. Give a kid a safe place to bounce, and away they go. Meanwhile, you can sit back and relax, knowing they're getting plenty of exercise.
Play is exhausting work, and kids need feeding on a regular basis. You'll struggle to get them indoors, so provide them with a comfortable place to sit in the garden while they take on fuel. Wooden benches and picnic tables are a sure winner. Before long, they'll become the focus of a new game themselves.
A kid's reluctance to stop playing, if only for a few minutes, is legendary. A swing seat makes sitting down fun, it's the ideal place to have a drink or take a snack, without losing all the momentum of the play. When it's not being used by the kids, you can always relax on it yourself.
Cast your mind back, and try and remember the excitement of a trip to the park, and a go on the swings, slides and climbing frames. If you've got a big enough garden, you can build a whole play area for your family. But, even if space is limited you can still create the same fun for your kids, especially with a compact play centre that has just about everything in it.
Dens are probably the ultimate adventure. They're a few private world of kid's stuff, and they're not a bad place to get out of the heat of the sun either. Without any encouragement, kids will make their own dens. But, a ready-made den is a lot less hassle. Many of the play centres include a den, so they don't take up any more space either.
So, garden fun for the kids couldn't be easier. All you have to do is provide a few bits and pieces to focus their imagination on, and they'll do all the hard work.