Mother and two children

Fun Playtime Activities for the Family

Get the kids out in the sunshine and enjoy some of that vitamin D goodness yourself with games you can all play in the garden or at the park.


Having a giggle while you’re running about is way more fun than a slog at the gym! It’s also a lovely way to spend time with your kids away from daily chores and homework. Here are five easy outdoor games you can all try, whatever your age or level of ability.

Rounders

So much easier to explain to children than cricket, with rounders you simply set out four ‘bases’ in a circuit, then two teams take turns at batting and fielding. Hit the ball and run from base to base before the fielders catch you out or they get the ball to the next base before you get there. If you run all the way from the batting spot to the last base, you score a run. If you make it to second base, you score half a run.

TIP Less able athletes can do runs base-by-base and fitter friends can break out for a home run.

Volleyball

Don’t worry about marking out a pitch: just put up a head-height net, split into two teams and hit the ball to each other using only your hands. Up to three people can hit the ball before it has to go back over the net so no-one has to whack the ball too hard. Just don’t let the ball bounce on the ground or you lose the point.

TIP Use a light ball (something like the kind of plastic ball toddlers play with) rather than a football, as that will be too heavy for smaller children to hit over the net.

Wacky races

In two teams, dream up silly races. You could try stepping through hoops or passing a ball backwards over one person’s head and between the next person’s legs until it gets to the back, where the last person runs to the front of the line with the ball, and the process starts again.

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TIP If it’s raining and you’re inside, try using two brushes to ‘sweep’ a dust cloth around obstacles – it’s harder than you think!

Back-garden badminton

Even with a cheap playset of racquets and shuttlecocks you can work up quite a sweat in your garden, batting to each other over an improvised net.

TIP Unlike tennis, you can take badminton at any pace you want – ideal for younger or older players.

Time trials

Play scavenger-hunt challenges where each person is timed as they run around the house, garden or the park in search of hidden treasure or a random object.

TIP Keep games informal so they can still be played even if a couple of friends don’t show up.

More summer games to try

Make the most of long, warm days. Take teatime sandwiches to the park after school and try these Five fun games.

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