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Best garden equipment to keep 2yo entertained?

(13 Posts)
dekari Sun 09-Mar-14 14:21:42

Hi

I'm currently 23 weeks pregnant with twins and, as the sun has come out (yay!) I'm thinking about how to keep my 23mo dd amused as I get ever larger and (before I know it) have two newborns to look after (thankfully she'll be in nursery 3 days a week).

She is obsessed with parks (particularly swings, slides and seesaws) at the moment but our nearest is a 15-20 minute walk, which is becoming more of a struggle every week!

Our garden is small and not very child-friendly - there is a large step down from our decking area to the pathway infront of our patio doors (ruling out cars/trikes) and we have a low drystone-style wall surrounding our small lawn, which I don't think she'd attack but distractions would be good, just in case! We don't want to spend money remodeling our garden, as we're likely to move in the next couple of years. Obviously I'd consider any childproofing tips though!

My dd was much less adventurous in the summertime last year and, although she's still pretty good at avoiding danger, I' d like to get her some safe play equipment (hopefully secondhand) for her birthday so I can watch her from inside (we have a sofa next to the patio doors) while looking after the babies. They would need to be compact, suitable for decking or lawn and multifunctional.

I think she might like one of those plastic wendyhouses but worried about their longevity in terms of entertainment value? I guess a swing/slide would be obvious choices, but are these practical for a small garden? Any other ideas would be gratefully received!

Thank you!

TheBookofRuth Sun 09-Mar-14 14:35:45

Your garden sounds like mine! Earlier on I filled a box with some of her sturdier toys, especially ones she hasn't played with in a while, and brought it out here. She spent a happy hour going through it. I also bring a big roll of paper out with some paints and felt pens (she's only allowed pencils and crayons in the house) and she'll spend a while drawing.

When it gets warmer, I'll get her paddling pool out, and chuck some empty plastic bottles and cartons in it, that'll keep her occupied for a while too.

TheBookofRuth Sun 09-Mar-14 14:36:37

Should have said, my DD is also two, and I'm due in July, though with just the one.

Purplehonesty Sun 09-Mar-14 14:46:53

Sandpit in a wooden box, Wendy house with dolls and play kitchen.
Skittles and a ball?

Goblinchild Sun 09-Mar-14 14:53:31

Somewhere to play with wateer in different forms.
Somewhere to dig.
A small outside table and a chair or two, a rug that she can sit on when the ground is cold and damp. A a pop up tent and a tube tunnel to crawl through gives you more flexibility than a playhouse, my two ended up with two separate tents and various ways of joining them.
For the rest, let her explore and decide what she'd like to play with, and you limit it on common-sense grounds.
We are still finding teaspoons in the flower beds 20 years later. grin

BackforGood Sun 09-Mar-14 14:53:59

wendyhouses are lovely as they will often play with them on their own.
Swings are brilliant as they last for years, but at 2, they need you with them all the time, so I'd leave them for a few years.

ForTheLoveOfSocks Sun 09-Mar-14 14:56:23

How about a small trampoline? They have a surround that you can zip them into

Somersaults Sun 09-Mar-14 15:03:24

My 2yo loves her little tikes house. She plays in it at every given opportunity. Recently she's loved playing 'washing up' with an inch of water and bubbles in the washing up bowl on the patio and her playhouse plates and cups. We've done painting with water on the flagstones and a few other bits but the best for long periods of independent play is definitely the house. By far. She has a little ball pool that sometimes comes out but it doesn't entertain her for anywhere near as long!

Eletheomel Sun 09-Mar-14 19:39:30

My son used to love just playing in our pop up sun tent (he'd take out toys, cushions, blankets and snacks for a picnic :-) (mind you, he always liked making 'nests' of his stuff (2 years later, he still does).

He also loved the tent/crawl tunnel/tent combo pop up thingy that we got from argos.

Small paddling pool (large basin) and bath toys, water pistols, scoops, cups, etc.

Similarly, you could fill a large basin (cheap small paddling pool) with playsand and small spade, bucket etc.

neversleepagain Sun 09-Mar-14 19:39:38

My twins are nearly 18 months and love their sand and water table. They also like to dig in the mud with their spades and buckets. DT1 likes those kitsch resin pot plant stakes with animals on top, she like to arrange them on our various plant pots.

Congratulations on your twin bump, you have some special times ahead of you thanks

BikeRunSki Sun 09-Mar-14 19:41:18

Sandpit and lots of buckets, spades, rakes etc. By far the most well used toy we have, by both dc.

TinkerbellTrains Sun 09-Mar-14 19:44:52

We have a small garden too. My dc are a bit older (3 & 4 years) but 1 loves dinosaurs and 1 loves fairies so we bought 2 big pots and made "small world" scenes for them to play with their little plastic Dino's and fairies. Pinterest have loads of ideas for this.

We also have a slide which doesn't take up too much room an in the summer we pop a small paddling pool under the end of the slide. They love sliding down into the paddling pool.

Also thinking of buying those plastic "clamshell" sand/water containers and filling it with sand. Big enough for 1 to sit in or both to lean into but doesn't take up much room.

Otherwise we just do things like a bucket of water and paint brushes to paint the fence/ground. I made a big blackboard that we pinned to the fence, those interlocking foam mats for pretend tea parties/picnics and a small section of the flower bed for digging and making mud pies. I'm thinking of picking up a 2nd hand play kitchen especially for the garden.

dekari Sun 09-Mar-14 20:26:57

Wow! Some really great ideas here - thank you so much.

Should have said, dd hates sand... and mud for that matter! Hopefully she'll get over it at some point soon though - maybe some gardening tools (spade etc. would help). We have a paddling pool and a vinyl playmat I use for outdoors, so think I might look into a slide, tents/tunnels/wendy house and perhaps even a trampoline - not that i'm planning to go overboard!

I'll also try to get more creative - starting by saving plastic bottles and checking out pinterest... Bet it rains all spring/summer now!

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