Invented on Sunday April 22, 2018 by the Young Assembly, Brighton, and over several centuries by the rest of the world: a feast of creativity.
RIBBON DANCE: It’s sadly easy to find caution tape strung all over a hedgerow, abandoned by builders, road maintenance operatives, etc. No worries: tie it to the end of a stick and wave it around – you are an Olympic ribbon dancer! (thanks, Amelie)
NET GAMES: Two uses for the handy-looking net bags used to house supermarket satsumas: a) use thin, bendy willow shoots to make a hoop, then attach the netting, and go catch butterflies (Thanks, Magnus). Or string it across two hoops or other suitable shapes, then see how many times you can bounce a ball between two of you (Thanks, Ky).
CROOKED CROQUET: Make a croquet hammer from a Pringles tube on a stick. Obviously you will soon be trailing the professionals in your match; but if you reverse the tube, you can scoop the ball up in the open end, then pretend you’ve lost it. While the others are searching, saunter over to the winning post and let the ball slip out, leaving you one stroke from victory. Maybe. (Thanks, Gaius).
GAMES FROM AROUND THE WORLD:
FOLLOW MY LEADER: Encourage one of your gang to “lead” you through the trail, over, around, and under obstacles, incorporating as many trees, shrubs, and rocks along the path as possible.
FOXES AND RABBITS: The fox has to catch the rabbits by touching them; they must then go to his larder and wait to be eaten. But once in the larder (i.e. touching a tree, bench or somesuch) they can be released by the touch of another rabbit. SO the fox has to simultaneously catch rabbits and guard its larder. If there are many rabbits, extra foxes can be created to keep the game alive. Meanwhile the grown-ups can discuss the evolution of balanced ecosystems.
KICK THE CAN: Like hide and seek, but without the anxiety of getting kids lost in the woods. Whoever is He (or She, surely – end) counts to 60 while the others hide; though they need to keep close by, because their mission is to kick a can or other noisy object placed prominently at home, at which point they are safe. He/She has to find them and chase them down (or alternatively call them out, depending on the terrain)
CATCH THE COLOUR: Think of a colour, shout it out and watch as everyone sets off to find an object in that shade. Start with easy-to-find colours like green and yellow before you move on to the much rarer blues and reds.
LEAF CATCH: Stand the kids under a tree, then shake a branch and see how many leaves they can catch. Best in Autumn, natch.
MINI-BEAST HUNT: A mini-beast would be one that can sit on a leaf without bending it. Hours of peace for the family, so long as you can hear yourselves talk over the squeals of horror and delight. Don’t forget to count them every now and then (the kids, not the mini-beasts – they may go after a butterfly and disappear).
FRISBEE-FREE FRISBEE*: If you have paper plates, they will behave like Frisbees, though, as we found out on Sunday, you have to tape or stick three or more together for them to work. Good fun, and less painful than china plates.
(*Correct name ‘Frisbie’, after the Frisbie Pie Company, whose pie dishes started the craze)
RUSSIAN EGG-ROULETTE #1: Two people stand face to face, two paces apart. The one with the egg lobs it gently towards the other, who must catch it to save their clothes and reputation. Then they lob it back. If successful, the heroes take a step back and repeat. They carry on like this until the inevitable happens. In #2, they both have eggs, and try to make them collide in the middle to totally avoid the mess. In #3 they use a balloon half-filled with water.
PEBBLE BALANCING: Usually considered a waste of time, because you only manage to balance three before they collapse, this becomes more fun with a simple trick: put a sprinkle of sand in between the pebbles, which will stop them from wobbling. Now you can build high enough to scrape the sky.
BRANCH BALANCING: Collect fallen branches and twigs from the ground. Balance a big one across the lowest branch of a tree, then another branch across that one, then smaller ones across that one, in whatever way and with whatever adjustment will keep the arrangement from collapsing.
STICK BALANCING: Can you balance a branch vertically on your hand? Strangely, the bigger the branch, the easier the task. (Also, the bigger the branch, the greater the distance you must be from other people). Grown-ups can try with a leaf or feather; very hard.
LIMBO DANCING: Nuff said.
BADMINTON: Got a cork? Find some bird feathers on the path, and stick them into one end, bash it at the other end with a piece of cardboard box, and have a game of badminton.
WHACK A BALL: Use a stick to whack a tennis ball ahead to you as you walk. This is so much simple fun that it has been somewhat formalised and re-named ‘golf’.
CLOUD SPOTTING: When you are exhausted from all the fun, lie on your backs and watch the way the clouds make pictures for you.
DON’T FORGET to forget about the walk. This lot is much more fun.