Summer is finally here and parks across the UK are filling up with people and picnic baskets as everyone tries to soak up some sunshine. While you’ll see plenty of people lounging around in bikinis trying to get their tan on, the more restless park-goes will usually be indulging in something more stimulating.
There’s no official category of park sports, but for me, they are sports that don’t require a special terrain and can be played with minimal set up and equipment. All you need is an open space and some people willing to run around with you. So, if you’re planning on hitting the park while the sun is out and want to stay active while you’re there, check out these fun sports you can play.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, British bulldog is always good fun. The game is simple, you have two parallel lines on the ground, about 15 metres apart. You can make these lines by using people’s jumpers etc. Everyone then stands along one of the lines and whoever has been designated the “bulldog” stands in the middle, between the two lines, facing the people. The aim is for everyone standing along the line to run to the other line without getting caught by the bulldog. If they get caught they become a bulldog too and have to help catch people. Depending on how willing your players are to get dirty, you may be allowed to tackle people to the floor.
For this game you will need some equipment, but not much. A tennis ball and arounders bad (a smaller, wooden version of a baseball bat) are required and can be bought in most sports shops and supermarkets. You then need to create the diamond. It requires four bases like in baseball, set up to form a big square – place a jumper or bag in each corner of the square and that will act as a base. You then need to mark where the batter and bowler will stand. When the bowler throws the ball, the batter should try and hit it as far as possible. The fielders will then have to retrieve it while the batter runs past as many bases as possible. If they make it all the way round the diamond, they have gained a rounder, which equals one point for their team.
This game works best if there are trees and bushes you can hide behind. Firstly, you need to create a “home”. This can be made by designating a certain landmark, such as a tree, or by using an object such as someone’s bag. Everyone then starts at home and someone is designated as the chaser or “it”. The chaser will count to 40 while everyone else runs away from home and hides. Everyone must then make it back to home without getting caught by the chaser. Anyone who does get caught becomes another chaser and helps catch people.
Cops & Robbers
You need a reasonably large group of people to play this game – ideally a minimum of about eight but the more you have, the better. Divide the group into two – cops and robbers. Then create a designated ‘home’ and ‘jail’, this could be trees if you have them or just jumpers lying on the floor. The robbers start by running away and it is up to the cops to catch them and put them in jail. Once a robber is in jail, the other robbers can come and free them by tapping their hand as they run past. The robbers can also go ‘home’ for a maximum of 10 seconds to get a breather. The game ends when all the robbers are in jail.