Long gone are those pre-kid days when garden fun meant a book, a glass of rose and a sun-drenched patio. With kids swarming at your ankles, outdoor entertainment takes on a whole different perspective. Between all of us, we've pulled out our top boredom busters, guaranteed to keep them busy and give you five minutes peace. (Ok, maybe four...)

1. MAKE THEM THINK THEY'RE WINNING

Toddlers and pre-schoolers love playing with 'proper' kitchen utensils, so set up some water play fun outside and let them use all those fun spoons, spatulas and pans that you usually keep hidden behind child-locks. Grab a big pot of water and maybe even some fun bath toys for good measure. There's something about being allowed to play with the forbidden stuff that keeps them happy for hours.

2. USE YOUR PATIO

Hands up who hates the mess of painting indoors? When the weather's fine, take their art classes outside. Grab an old sheet, get the paints out and let them craft away for houerrrs. Take their easel outside or let them paint the patio using a brush and water. Just don’t forget to keep your little artist protected with their summer essential hats and sunnies. Oh, and a coverall bib might be useful if things are likely to go all Jackson Pollock.

3. GET GROWING

Ask a kid to tidy up inside and they'll likely have a moan, but give them a mini rake or brush and they'll gladly tidy up the garden for ages. Janod's garden range for preschoolers are perfectly sized for them to use: just remember to show them which beds not to dig. Want to encourage their green-fingered ways further? Sembra Kids' seed kits help them to grow their first flowers and tasty crops... they'll be bursting with pride when they are able to pick their first homegrown strawberry.

4. THINK OUTSIDE (OR INSIDE) THE BOX

We aren't all fans of sandpits here (after a few cat poo incidents) but obviously kids can't get enough of them. Sand, we mean. As an alternative to an open pit, use a lidded storage box that's easy to carry outside when they want to get digging. We stock some awesome, silicone buckets by Scrunch that can be squeezed down to store inside and there are loads of other shapers to get them making some impressive sand play sculptures as well.

5. CHALK IT UP

Chalk is so good for outdoor fun, from drawing hopscotch on the garden path, designing roads for them to zoom their cars over or tracing their outline on the ground, for them to colour in. Got a garden wall that's looking neglected? Measure out an area, apply chalkboard paint and stick on a frame for a quirky place to get designing. We love the Kitpas dustless chalk, that come in a set of vibrant colours. You don't even need to worry about cleaning up either - just wait until it rains. β˜”

6. KEEP THEM FED & WATERED

Once you get them in the garden, you'll want to make sure they've got happy tummies and are well-hydrated. A picnic on the lawn is magic for kids: pack a lunchbox for them to graze on through the day and we love insulated bottles that keep liquid cool for hours. Pura and Liewood have stylish steel designs that are a great alternative to plastic, plus they keep drinks fridge-cold for ages.

So there you go. Some cool tips to help you chill and encourage them to play during those garden days. As always we’ve listed our top picks below or you can check out our outdoor category here.

And if you need any more guidance, our Live Chat Team are always here to help, 7am-11pm, every day. Just hit that purple button, bottom right.