Summer is here and it’s time for outdoor garden games! Whether you need ideas for garden games to encourage your little reader outside, or summer activities to get your little one to slow down for a minute, here are some ideas for summer games and activities tried and tested by three grandchildren.
go big with giant garden games
Board games seem so much more fun when they’re giant sized! Lots of board games teach counting, matching, colours, problem-solving and spelling while you play… sneaky eh! Here are a few outdoor game ideas you can make yourself.
Noughts and crosses: draw a grid on your patio with chalks and use stones with noughts and crosses painted on them to play.
Twister: make your own giant twister game in the garden by painting coloured circles onto the grass (use non-toxic, washable paint). Get bending, stretching, reaching and most importantly giggling with all the family.
Matching memory game: this takes a little preparation but it’s perfect for younger children. Use large card cut into squares and either draw or print pictures on each one. Hey, it’s summer, so why not use images like ice creams and sand castles. Lay the cards face down on the lawn and take turns to turn over two cards trying to find the matching pictures. 24 cards (12 images) is a good amount, however, if you’re playing with younger less patient children, use fewer cards for an easier game.
If you haven’t got time to make a game, you’ll find giant board games including classics like snakes and ladders just a click away.
summer sports day
Having your very own summer sports day in your back garden or at the park is great summer fun. It’s perfect for when you have friends to play and gets little ones (and big ones) moving. Have all the traditional sports day races and make new games too. Create an obstacle course with hoops and outdoor toys for fast-paced fun, use a giant parachute to get little ones working together and slow the pace with a game of quoits or skittles.
Transform the classic bean bag toss game to monster fun by painting a big friendly monster face with a cut-out mouth on cardboard. Children will love tossing beanbags into his mouth to feed him. Make a whole gaggle of monsters with different sized mouths to make it tricky.
And then once everyone has had their fun, you can hand out medals for all your little winners!
have a ball with outdoor ball games
Do your little ones dream of being the next Premier league star or in the next Rugby World Cup squad? Get them running, kicking and scoring with balls of all sizes. Proper toy goals add to the fun, or why not draw goalposts on a wall? If your outside space means more lost balls than goals, try a football zoomer which is great for kicking practice.
If your brood aspire to play at Wimbledon rather than Wembley, gather up your bats, rackets, balls and shuttlecocks! For a serious match, you can set up a court with nets and mark court lines with tape. Or for novices, just see how many times you can bat a ball back and forth. Again, if you’re short on space, try a swing ball style game.
make a splash with water games
Water play is always a fun outdoor activity for kids - and it's refreshing on a hot day! Children big and small will always love paddling in a pool, splashing and pouring at a water table, running through sprinklers and shooting with water pistols and hoses, but there are lots of games you can play with water.
Everyone loves a piñata, but why not add a splash by using water-filled balloons for children to hit while they’re blindfolded – it’ll take the heat out of a hot day. Have races with buckets or cups of water… try not to spill too much! Play catch with wet sponges or water balloons or why not set up your very own toy car wash?
time to go on a scavenger hunt
Turn a walk, a trip to the park or even your own back garden into a nature scavenger hunt. You can make your own scavenger hunt checklists or you’ll find printable versions online with varying difficulties for different age groups. Make a game of collecting as many different leaves as you can, or why not take photos of the trees and flowers you see to paint or draw when you get home? Making a bug house is always a favourite summer game - little ones will love collecting wiggly worms to live in their new home.
games to play on your travels
Even if you’re not leaving home this summer, it doesn’t mean you can’t explore new places. We discovered this travelling game a few years ago and it’s now one of our top summer games. It’s also perfect for those typically British summer days… the rainy ones!
All you have to do is choose where you want to go, find it on a map and you’re off! Search the internet and look at books to find information about the place you’ve picked. Find out what food they eat there… and make some for dinner. What is the landscape like? Get drawing and painting or collect some boxes and build a replica city.
Write a weather report and present it like on TV. Find out what traditions they have, or if they have traditional dress – cue fancy dress! Do they have traditional dances or music? Time to put on a show! You’ll be amazed at where you can go!
Summer fun comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether at home or away, there are lots of summer games and activities to make a summer day special. By incorporating learning games and activities into your child’s day, you can have fun while helping them grow and develop… and you never know, you might even wear them out a bit!
Note: If you’re using paints, make sure they’re safe for children.