Five Great Garden Games to Keep the Kids Occupied

When it comes to entertaining the kids and keeping them occupied while you're trying to get some peace and quiet, expensive days out like going to the cinema or big events are not the only option available to you, there are plenty of activities you can set up closer to home to make the most of your green space while saving some cash at the same time.

Once the game of aging men in string vests, Boules has become cool for the whole family. This French game, otherwise known as pétanque, involves throwing a 'jack' target ball into some space in front of the players. The players then take turns to throw two of their own coloured balls towards the 'jack' ball. The player with their ball closest to the 'jack' after everyone has thrown is the winner.

The best thing about this game is that it's very easy to pick up but very difficult to master. It's highly competitive and can be played by people of all ages and both sexes. You can pick up a boules set for next to nothing.

This is a great game because you don't need much room or any equipment to play.
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.

This game is best for a large family or perhaps your children and your children's friends as you need two teams. You put out four bases that batters will hope to run around after they've hit the ball before the fielders can put them 'out'.

Families have been enjoying this game since Tudor times but have a full read of the rules online to see if it's suitable before investing in a set.

Traditional croquet
Another British pastime, this game involves setting up a series of hoops in the garden that you have to hit a ball through with a wooden mallet. You can concentrate on the course or you can try and put your opponent off course. Kids will like nothing more than smashing their siblings' croquet balls off course! This one could get competitive...

Gardening fun
Gardening isn't what immediately comes to mind when you think of garden games for the kids but it's actually a great way to start children making the most of their garden. It encourages an appreciation of the natural world and they will have lots of fun helping you plant herbs and vegetables that you can then use with them in the kitchen.

Garden games inevitably lead to grass stains on fabric, mud marks on clothes and carpets and possibly even some blood stains that you'll need to get out. Don't let the collateral damage detract from the garden fun, treat any staining as soon as it occurs and clothes and carpets will come out as good as new.

If only you could turn housework into a fun-filled game for the little terrors!