Make the most of your garden and teach your kids how to play garden football, garden volleyball and other fun garden games with 10 of the most fun garden games around
Get into the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games with our 10 family garden games. We’ll help you make the most of your garden space, put any equipment you already own to good use and show you how to teach your kids garden football, volleyball, and to run and jump about in our energetic racing games.
The real challenge is to get your kids off the computer and out in the garden, but once they really get stuck into our garden games you won’t be able to get them back inside!
Don’t forget you can join in with any of the games or play them down at your local park, if you run out of space.
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Hold your own Games by encouraging your kids to race from one end of the garden to the other in a series of imaginative ways.
How to play: You can have as many competitors as you like. In the 1st race get them to walk to one end of the garden and hop back. In the 2nd race ask them to skip to one end of the garden and jump back. In the 3rd race make them run to the end of the garden, do 10 star jumps then jump back to the finish line like a frog.
You can also add in things for them to jump over (like buckets or potted plants) and make up your own variations of the races above.
How to play with 1 child: Ask your child to take part in the races above and time them using a clock with a second hand or a stopwatch. Keep a record of how fast they complete each race and see if they can beat their times tomorrow.
Instead of letting them sit in and watch the game on the telly, encourage them to get outdoors and play their own game of footie.
How to play garden football: Split the kids into 2 teams of 2-8 and use some old flower pots or T-shirts to mark out the goals at each end of your garden. Pick 2 goalkeepers to stand in goal and let the teams battle it out to score goals against each other.
How to play wall footie in smaller gardens: This footie game is perfect for smaller gardens and only requires 2 players. Ask the players to face a tall wall and get the 1st player to kick the football against it.
When the ball bounces off the wall and back onto the ground, it’s the 2nd player’s turn to kick it back to player 1 in the same way, until either of them misses. If a player misses the ball, the other player gets a point.
The great thing about this garden game is that you don’t have to buy any equipment for it. The first child to stepping stone to the end of the garden, wins.
How to play stepping stones: Each child playing, is given 2 stepping stones. You could use old T-shirts, hula hoops or garden chair covers for the stepping stones.
Ask each child to throw out their 1st stepping stone and jump onto it, taking their 2nd stepping stone with them. Next they must throw out the 2nd stepping stone, jump on it, then pick up the 1st stepping stone behind them, which they must use as their next step and so on until they reach the end of the course. At least 1 foot must always remain on a stepping stone.
You don’t need much equipment or space to play a lively game of volleyball. As long as you’ve got a soft ball, all your kids need to do is keep it up in the air for as long as they can, using their hands and arms.
How to play volleyball: 2-6 kids can play a game of garden volleyball at a time. Set up a halfway mark in the garden and ask the kids to stand on either side with their hands at the ready.
The kids must use their hands and arms to hit the ball back and forth to each other. If they allow the ball to drop, the other team score a point.
Kids love throwing water balloons and this game to find out who can throw the furthest, means that they won’t end up launching them at each other. If you don’t have much space in your garden, you can swap the water balloons for sponges, which don’t travel as far.
How to play water balloon shot put: Ask each child to choose a different colour from the selection of water balloons and fill 3 balloons up with water for each child playing. Ask the kids to take it in turn to throw a water balloon as far as they can, across the lawn.
You can see where the coloured balloons land when they break on the ground, just look out for the burst balloon, and award the child with the longest throw, a treat.
Create Wimbledon in your back garden with this fun game of tennis. You’ll need a tennis ball and rackets, but your child can play our game of wall tennis if you don’t own a racket.
How to play: Split 2-4 kids into 2 teams, then set up a halfway mark in the garden and ask the kids to stand on either side with their tennis rackets at the ready. Start each team off with 10 points and toss a coin to find out who gets to serve 1st. Encourage the children to keep a rally going – they’re allowed 1 bounce before they have to hit the ball back. The team that misses the ball loses a point.
How to play 1-man tennis without a racket? Choose a wall that your child is allowed to throw a tennis ball against. Ask them to throw the ball against the wall then catch it. They’re allowed to let the ball bounce once if they like. Then the next time they must throw the ball at a higher point on the wall, and get higher with each turn.
A game of basketball is best played on the patio or drive.
How to play garden basketball: The more players, the merrier, but this game can be played by just 1 person.
Set up 1 hoop for your child/children to dunk the ball into and if you haven’t got a hoop, use an old bucket.
Split the kids into 2 teams of 2-8, ask them to form a circle, then throw the ball in the air for one of them to catch and start the game off. A player who has possession of the ball must bounce it towards the hoop, avoid the other team’s players and throw it in to score their team a point.
All you need is good weather, a roll of extra-large plastic bin liners and soapy water to turn the garden into your very own water park and help the kids cool down.
How to play water slide: Unravel the roll of bin liners on the grass to create a long slide. Then throw a bucket of soapy water over it.
The kids must take it in turns to run, jump and slide along the slippery liners. See who can slip right to the end of the slide.
Top safety tip: The kids could slip quite far so place a towel at the end of the slide, to slow them down and stop them from crashing.
Create a fun game of cricket in your garden with just 3 players. If you don’t have cricket equipment, use a rounders bat and an old bucket for the wicket, or you can buy a set for £9.99 from Toys R Us.
How to play single wicket cricket: Choose a batsman, bowler and ask the rest of the players to be fielders. Each child gets a chance to bat once and score as many runs as they can in 10 bowls. Set up the wicket and a marker about 2-4 meters opposite. The batsman must stand in front of the wicket ready with their bat and the bowler must take his place behind the marker and throw the ball with the intention of hitting the wicket.
If the batsman hits the ball, they can run to the opposite marker and back (scoring them 1 run), before the fielders and bowler get the ball back to the marker. If the bowler hits the wicket or the ball is caught by a fielder, the batsman is out and the next player can take their turn to bat.
This jumping game, where the kids have to leap like frogs over each other, is great because you don’t need much room or any equipment to play.
How to play leapfrog: You need 2 or more players. Choose someone to be the lily pad and ask them to crouch on their hands and knees, and keep their head tucked in.
The other kids must take it in turns to run up to the lily pad player, place their hands on their back and use their upper body strength to lever themselves up and over with their legs spread wide. If each child makes the jump, the lily pad player can stand a little taller. If a child doesn’t make the jump, they’re out and the 1st child out must become the lily pad in the next round.