Five fun park games

Summer isn’t just about weekends – enjoy half an hour after-school playing with your kids at the park. Don’t sit on a bench chatting when you can be at the heart of a great game with the kids – the perfect way to create a holiday feeling on your doorstep.

Nature hunt
See who can return to base (for this one you can get away with ‘base’ being the park bench if you must!) fastest with one key item at a time: a yellow leaf, an ant, a stick, a handful of sandpit sand...

Chalk portraits
Let the playground be your canvas. Each person lies down and gets drawn around with a chalk outline then you each pick one to colour in, adding faces, hair and clothes. The most realistic or silly one gets top marks. A pack of chunky chalks costs around £1 and is always handy in your bag for impromptu hopscotch, too.

Random racing
Get everyone to follow one leader’s instructions: ‘Run to the nearest tree,’ ‘Hop to the first pushchair you can see,’ ‘Forward-roll three times’. Each person gets to make five silly demands per turn as leader.

Fruit bowling
If you’ve got a few bruised leftover apples or oranges at the bottom of your picnic bag, get into two fruity teams. The winners will get their ‘bowls’ closest to that unwanted brown banana you put down as the marker!

Target practice
If it’s really hot and there’s a paddling pool at the park, take bathroom sponges along, soak ’em up and have a watery ‘shoot out’. Make sure you have a towel and that your battle doesn’t spoil anyone else’s trip to the park.

Savvy tip
Make the most of the longer days by taking a picnic tea to the park. Or once a week take it in turns with a friend to collect the kids from school for park time while one of you makes tea for both families. That way the kids get fresh air and a proper meal.

Pass it on – summer activity ideas
There are tons of great ideas on our Fun Activities pages.