Eileen Unwin lives in Henley and certainly knows how to keep the kids amused in the great outdoors. She reminds us of the importance of good old fashioned games, and has pulled together five fantastic ones to keep you amused this holiday.

Remember the days when children were able to play outside with a sense of wildness and freedom to their days?  When they literally did not appear home unless they were hungry and/or it was dark?  Sadly, that is not the case for this generation whereby children are pushed to extraordinary limits to succeed from such a young age in a technology driven world. Let us make it our priority to encourage them out of the classroom and into the playground so they do not miss out on the simple pleasure of playing games; games that ensure no technology, no time limit just plain and simple fun.  This was a rite of passage for us so let it be for them also.

Old School games translate as nostalgia.  Hide and Seek at any age never loses its appeal and who remembers “Kick The Can”?  A game of hide and seek that had us running for hours with only a can as our target aim.  Hurdles may be ahead of our children but for the moment, let them only be jumping obstacle hurdles and cheering each other on in a game of Bull Dog, Dodgeball or Rock, Paper, Scissor Tag (a particular favourite!).

By making the effort to play ‘old school’ games with our children and friends, mixing ages, abilities and generations in a team will provide a bonding experience above and beyond any consumer driven activity.  They will learn the quality of supporting others and at the same time build confidence, trust and belief in themselves.  In turn you will be helping them establish memories of a childhood that cannot be taken back.  It is without doubt that there will be absolutely no regrets on either side of the generation gap.

Here are five of Go Kids favourite games for you to try and enjoy with friends and family.  In all games, set up a four-cornered boundary and with some basic equipment and preparation you are ready to go.

1. ROCK, PAPER, SCISSOR TAG  –  Divide everyone into two teams.  Each team decides what they are going to play (rock, paper or scissors).  The chosen leaders from each team then have a ‘face off’ in the centre of the pitch.  Whichever team wins then chases the other team for 1 minute in a game of Tag.  Whoever is caught joins the opposing team for the next round.  The games ends when one team has been formed and you are all winners!

2. CAPTURE THE PEARL  –  This is a combination of Dodgeball and Capture the Flag.  Divide everyone into two teams and establish a half way dividing line within your boundary with a cone and a tennis ball on top (the pearl) at the baseline of each zone.  There must be no guarding of Pearls.  Distribute 2/3 soft footballs to each team (dependent on numbers) and start a game of Dodgeball.  The rules of this are to fire the balls at your opponents from within your own zone.  Once a person is hit (with no bounce), they are sent to jail and can only be released if one of their teammates catches a ball without it bouncing.  After 2 minutes of play, a designated and secret retriever from each team can attempt to cross the boundary to retrieve the pearl from the opponents zone and return it back into their zone to claim victory!

3. DIAMOND THIEVES  –  Divide everyone into two teams and set up two buckets for each team.  Place a number of diamonds in one of each of the team’s buckets (i.e. 10/20 coins, bean bags, socks etc) and leave the other bucket empty.  Establish a half way dividing line within the boundary.  The aim is for the teams to use tactics to enter into their opponent’s zone in order to steal their diamonds and deliver them back to their empty bucket.  There must be no guarding of the buckets. The first team to successfully do this is the winner!

4. PINBALL  –  Divide everyone into two teams and establish a half way dividing line within your boundary.  Set up four cones at the end of each zone balancing a tennis ball on top (pinballs).  Distribute 2/3 soft footballs to each team (dependent on numbers).  The idea is for each team to remain on their side of the boundary and aim to hit the pinball off the top of the cone.  The first team to successful dismount all four pinballs is the winner!

5. FARMER GILES  –  Within the boundary, set up a chicken coup of 2x2m sq and place a number of chickens (i.e. 10/20 coins, bean bags etc.) within the space.  Choose a farmer or two (depending on numbers playing) and everyone else are foxes.  Each fox has a tail which can be a sock or tie tucked into the back of their clothes.  The farmer counts to 30 whilst the foxes go and hide.  The aim is for the farmers to go seek the foxes and for the foxes to sneak to the chicken coup to steal one chicken at the time without being caught.  The farmer must try to grab the tail of the fox in order for them to join him as a farmer.  The game ends when either all the chickens or the foxes have been caught.

We guarantee that the element of re-living and participating in these games will unleash the inner child in you.   Remember we don’t stop playing games because we get old.  We get old because we stop playing games.

Go Kids sessions are held every Saturday in Henley on Thames. We also offer parties, pop up events, family sessions and adventure days during the school holidays based around fun and exciting themes. 

By Eileen Unwin