HOZAT?! It’s a familiar cry in backyards across Australia as garbage bins are transformed into stumps and driveways become cricket pitches.Then there is shuttlecock, croquet and even boules. If your kids have been spending more “screentime” than “greentime”, send them outside with some alternatives.Try a few of these ‘top ten’ classic garden games and modern twists on old faves.
- Make a scavenger hunt up – or if you have older kids or cousins over they can create one for the younger kids. Feathers, flowers, caterpillars and cocoons are all good ‘gardenesque’ inclusions. Use a bug catcher or butterfly net to help add to the fun.
- Have a bonfire – it’s a great way to encourage the kids to pick up all the leaves and twigs, and we have a selection of fire bowls at Eden that make a great hub for gathering around and toasting marshmallows in as they sun sets.
- Have a nerf war. If you were lucky enough to get some new ‘ammo’ from Santa, try playing outside instead of inside. It can be terrific fun hiding behind trees and darting around the garden commando style – and that way none of the china gets broken either.
- Go arty and crafty. Get some chalk - It’s cheap and fun to use for making a hopscotch outline on pavement, or perhaps playing “pathway Picasso or garden Van Gough”, where you simply draw some fun faces or flowers on the footpath and bring some smiles to your neighbours. Use crayons for nature rubbings – an oldie but still a goodie. Or, up the standard and get some wax proof paper and place flowers and crayon shavings between two layers of paper then gently iron the two together – you’ll end up with a wonderful pressed flower paper that can be made into a charming mobile or gift wrap.
- Climb a tree – rig up a pulley and take up a pair of binoculars for bird watching and haul up some snacks and drinks for hours of fun. Hang a rope from a secure branch and just swinging can be heaps of fun.Use the rope for skipping, or playing snakebite – where you spin around with the rope on the ground and your friends have to jump it as it whizzes past or get ‘bitten’ by it – then it’s their turn.
- Lowering your expectations with elastics and limbo – use a garden broom and a few garden seats or step ladders to create limbo outside, where you have to get under the arching your back and bending your knees. Elastics are a terrific game for three or more people outside – or less if you use a post or that garden chair again as a support.When you have had enough of that, grab and old sheet and make a cubby!
- Cloud spotting and bubbles – there are hours of fun to be had chasing and blowing bubbles in the garden – especially if you have a dog – they love to chase them. When you’re tired, lie down on the grass and go ‘cloud spotting’ to catching your breath.
- Hide and seek and ‘sardines’ – everyone knows hide and seek, but the take on this is sardines. Here, one person hides, but if they’re found, that person has to hide with them, and so on and so on till the last person finds the group all tightly packed into a hiding spot – hence the name sardines!
- No backyard yourself but still want to have some fun? Eden Gardens have a range of games they can hire out when you arrange your party at our place for only $200. There’s croquet, hoopla and boules, so you can let us do the cooking and entertaining! There’s even a kids art trail as part of Eden Unearthed.
- Mad scientist in the garden? Think about planting some fragrant leafed herbs and they can mix up their own beauty potions… or try some ‘messy experiments’ like a mentos in soda pop for fun.
Summer is the perfect opportunity when the weather is fine and the days long. So don the hat, slip, slop, slap and check out some of these great ideas for outside play.Of course, the backyard has tons of scope for inventive play, once kids get out there they are bound to find other fun things to do and see. In no time at all you’ll be calling them inside when it gets dark, instead of coaxing them outside to play.
By: Meredith Kirton