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Avoid Watching The Ashes And Play Cricket Games Instead

Initially this post was planned to be about harnessing England's Ashes success and inspiring your children to play cricket. It's not looking likely that England will triumph over Australia this series, but perhaps you children have seen a few clips of the sport on TV and now fancy trying their hand at it.

Cricket's Good Anytime Of Year

You probably think of cricket as a Summer sport, but there are plenty of reasons to get outside and play it in the winter months. A key requirement of cricket is a wide open space without any people who could get hurt. This can be hard to find in the Summer when everyone wants to be outside in a public space. Head to the beach or your local park in the winter and you will likely find you have the place to yourselves.

Int he winter you have no need to worry about sun stroke or heat exhaustion from standing around in the Sun all day. Instead you will need to wrap up warm and stay hydrated and heated with a thermos of hot chocolate.

Getting Started

If your child is new to cricket, don't put them off the sport by hitting them with all the rules at once. Instead choose from one of these easier, cricket-based games.

1. Roller Ball Help your child learn how to time their swing by rolling the ball along the ground towards them at different speeds. They need to hit the ball without letting it hit the stumps behind them.

2. Defend The Boundary Mark out an area with chalk or a rope. The batter hits the ball along the floor (it is rolled rather than bowled to them), and the fielders must stop it before it hits the rope. One point is scored for each time the ball hits the rope. Let each child have six opportunities to hit the ball before switching players. Each save counts as the fielders point. You can make the game more interesting by requiring the fielders to stop the ball using just their hands, feet, or one particular hand/foot. This helps develop fielding skills, and enables children to see the integral role of the fielder in the game of cricket.

3. Throwing Practice If you have a slide outdoors you can use it to practice underarm throwing. Although underarm bowling is not permitted, fielders need to perfect the art of a gentle, accurate underarm throw for returning the ball to the bowler or wicket keeper. The aim of the game is to throw the ball so it rolls up the slide and stops at the top of the platform.

4. Bowling Practice Children can practice their overarm bowling technique buy throwing a ball at a target marked a few feet from the ground, about 20 feet away. Tennis balls can be thrown at brick walls, or throw a sponge ball at targets hung from the climbing frame, or aimed at the swing seat.

5. Three Person Cricket This game needs at least three people but can be played with more. One person bowls, another bats and the remainder fields. The bowler throws the ball, the batter strikes it, then must run around a cone or obstacle placed around 10-15 feet from the wicket. In the meantime the fielders return the ball to the bowler, who must bowl as soon as he receives the ball, whether the batter is ready or not. The only way to be out is through a catch, or if the bowler takes the wicket.

For more outdoor play ideas, visit the Wicken Toys blog.

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