Posted by TP Toys on 1st September 2014
The summer holidays are sadly drawing to a close and you've hopefully all had a wonderful time, playing in the garden, jumping on trampolines, going on day trips and generally doing all the things that make great memories.
To keep your troops happy until it's time to pack up those pencil cases and fill lunchboxes once again, we've put together five of our favourite games that can be played in any garden without too much equipment or organisation - give some of them a try.
1. Mini golf
Mini golf course might look quite complicated, but it's actually really easy to recreate a simpler version at home. All you need is some coloured paper and garden cane to make the flags and some cups (or buckets if the kids are really little) to make the holes - it saves you digging up your nice lawn that way.
Construct some obstacles so it's not too easy - perhaps make a pathway through upturned plant pots, get someone to sit on a deckchair to disguise the route, or make a tunnel underneath a trio of bricks. All you need then are some balls and clubs (make your own or pick some up inexpensively from the shops) and your budding Rory McIlroys will be ready to go.
2. A treasure hunt
Children love hunting for things, especially if it's a competition to find them first. A treasure hunt is therefore ideal - and you don't have to come up with flashy prizes or complicated clues like in an organised game. A little riddle for each stage and a well-hidden final item will suffice. Alternatively, if you haven't time to write poetry, give the kids a list of everyday garden things to find, like plant pots, a sycamore leaf and an empty snail shell. The winner is the first to collect them all.
3. Sports day
Sports day is always eagerly anticipated at school, so why not host your own version at home? It's easy to make courses for an egg and spoon race and sack race, while a hula hopping competition is simple and fun. You can also add a water race for a longer game - just give each player a plastic cup and allocate two buckets per player. The first will be full of water coloured with food dye and the second will be empty.
Put the empty buckets at one end of the garden and the full ones at the other. The game is to run to the full bucket, fill the cup, run back and then empty it into the other one for a designated length of time. When that time has elapsed, measure the amount of water left - the player who managed to transfer the most is the winner.
4. Get creative with chalk
Coloured chalk is hugely under-rated, so get creative with it outdoors. You can chalk out a hopscotch grid on the patio or establish a chalk picture art gallery, just like Bert's in Mary Poppins. If you want to make the latter competitive, mum and dad or nana and granddad could judge the 'paintings' once they're done. Simply wash everything away with water or a brush once you've finished playing.
5. Archery tournaments
We're not going to suggest getting hold of real bows and arrows, as that would obviously be far too dangerous for the back garden. However, you can still set up target practice games. All you need to do is draw targets on big pieces of paper and stick them to the wall or put them on an easel. Children can take turns to throw balls at them for points.
If you don't mind getting messy, you could use balls dipped in washable poster paint, or substitute balls for wet globs of paper that will stick. Water balloons might also be an option if it's hot.
Prizes for any of these games can be anything from little toys to an extra 15 minutes of time downstairs before bedtime - and you'll also benefit from occupied children who are getting plenty of exercise too. Beat boredom and make the most of summer!