The sun is out, the sky is blue, and the summer half-term holidays are upon us! Hopefully the sun will really be shining, and you’ll be able to get the kids out and about, rather than being stuck in the house all day.
But even if you pack the perfect picnic, a day at the park or the beach can soon turn into an exercise in endurance if you don’t plan it well. Kids get bored very easily, don’t they?
However, giving your kids a fabulous day out is simply a matter of a little planning. All you need are a few essential items of play equipment, and a large bag (preferably with pockets!), and you’re good to go.
So here are 10 essential games items which all stash easily into a bag.
1. A football
No active session is complete without a football! Choose a lightweight ball so it’s easy to carry and suitable for smaller children. If your kids aren’t into football, there are lots of other games you can play with a ball, such as throwing and catching games, or favourites like Kick the Can. Check out this list on Education.com.
2. Tennis balls
Tennis balls are also a great choice and easy to pack. Again, there’s a wealth of games to play with a tennis ball, including Say and Catch, Dodgeball and Down Down. About Parenting has a useful list.
Younger children may get on better with lighter sponge balls that are softer on the fingers when you’re catching them.
A frisbee is one of the best options if you truly want your kids to be active. It does a little practice so they’re able to control it well, but once they’ve got the hang of it, they’ll love it.
And now there’s all kinds of super-charged versions that make the frisbee ideal for older kids (and even adults!), as well.
4. Cricket set
Even if you’re not really into playing cricket, a small set with a soft ball will keep the kids entertained for a while. Keep the distance between the stumps short if you have young children, or they’ll get discouraged. And you can always try non-stop cricket if you fancy a change.
5. Skipping ropes
Kids love skipping, but it’s frustrating trying to skip with a rope that’s too long or short. To get the ideal length, have your child hold the ends of the rope with their arms stretched out – it should just touch the floor in front of them. Then challenge them to skip forwards, backwards, double time, or teach them some traditional skipping games.
6. Rounders set
Invest in a rounders set with soft ball, and you can have hours of fun. These are very light to carry and don’t take up too much space. You can adapt the rules for younger players and make the distance between the stumps shorter. You’ll probably find other kids want to join in, but if not, try a version like non-stop cricket that doesn’t need too many players.
7. Small bean bags
We all remember little coloured beanbags from school, right? Well they’re also great for organising active games with your kids, and are much easier for small children to manage than a ball. Play catching games, circle games, or even set up a mini-sports day e.g. throwing them into a hoop to score points.
8. Hula hoops
Keeping a hula hoop spinning around our waist is a childhood memory for almost all of us. And today’s kids are no different – get them started and they’ll love it too. Choose version with a weighted ball to make it even more exciting and they’ll play for hours. (And why not have ago yourself? It’s a wonderful way to tone up your midriff!)
You can also use them with balls or beanbags for games such as target practice.
If it’s a bit windy, flying a kites is fabulous fun. Choose one that disassembles easily so it fits in your bag, and make sure you have plenty of string.
If you want to go upmarket, try one of the Chinese-inspired designs that whizzes around at great speed – some even make a fearsome roaring noise to add to the effect.
10. Outdoor board games
Larger versions of board games, such as Snakes and Ladders, can be played outside easily with a printed plastic sheet and inflatable dice. You can pack several of these in your bag with no problem. Or how about that old classic Twister?
Once you’ve got everything ready and packed in your bag, you can grab it at a moment’s notice and head off for a fantastic day out or an hour at the park. The kids will be entertained and they’ll be so active that hopefully they’ll be more than tired out by bedtime.
Photo courtesy of Lighttruth at Flickr Creative Commons