Earth has a variety of textures and smells. It molds and manipulates very well. To include some form of earth works along with other items such as branches, stones, pipes and a variety of digging tools can make for an ongoing play event. Water is optional. But a clean up tub will be very helpful.
Your selections of plantings need to be self sufficient (perennials preferred), non- toxic and able to take use. Berries and fruits should be avoided because they attract bees.
Grasses can be beaten to the ground and will return twice as big. Bulbs woody bushes and evergreens can outlast a lot of attention. Large bushes can be pruned to form enclosures and play spaces
Using planter of a manageable size makes for success with annuals. All plant take constant care. So don’t overwhelm yourself with large gardens.
Water flumes are recycling systems that use only 5 to 8 gallons of water. Flume is powered by kids using hand pumps. Fill the holding pond and release the dam Sending boats and toys down the rushing water.