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Commonwealth Games In Your Own Back Garden

This year the start of the Summer holidays coincides nicely with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Tempting though it may be to flop out on the sofa while your children are immersed in vidoe games, there's a whole lot of fun to be had when you play together outside.

Kick-off your Summer break with these fun ideas for bringing the Games to your back garden.

Fitness Training

To excel at any form of sport, children must first develop the basic sporting skills of running, jumping, throwing and catching, balance and cooridnation.

Elite runners don't hone there skill by running alone. They develop a range of skills to support their chosen sport through an extensive training programme.

In the same way, for your child to attack a sport, they need first to be equipped with these skills.

Set up an obstacle course in the garden incorporating your slide or climbing frame, and practice running the course and improving the time taken to complete it. This is a fun way of testing stamina and exercising all the main muscle groups.

Improve coordination skills by playing in pairs. Throw a ball to each other, taking a step back after every successful catch, to increase the level of challenge. Or play a tennis rally, seeing how many times you can successfully hit the ball between each other.

Younger children, or the young at heart, can chase and catch bubbles, either clapping them between their hands, or balancing them on the bubble wand.

You should also develop a warm-up routine with basic stretches. Your children might already use one at the start of their PE lessons so this is their chance to teach you something.

Commonwealth Back Garden Games

If you have access to a park or beach, those are great places to re-enact the Commonwealth Games, as there is plenty of space to run, jump and throw things. If you don't mind the children having a later bedtime, head out around tea time when there will be less people around, and you can enjoy the space to yourselves.

If you don't have a wide open space nearby, you can host Commonwealth Games style activities in your back garden, with these events especially adapted for smaller spaces.

1. 20m Narrow Track Sprint You know runners have to stay between the lines right? Doesn't that look just a little too easy? Liven things up by making the lines really close together. In order to stay in lane your athletes will need to concentrate hard. Space the athletes a few feet apart, but make each track lane no wider then 4 inches. They will need to put one foot in front of the other, as if balancing on a tightrope. This will test speed, balance, coordination and patience.

2. Super Safe Discus Hold a discus / shot put style throwing event, using a bean bag instead. You don't need as much space and it won't hurt if someone gets in the way of the flight path. You can measure each throw if you like, or mark out score zones and total up points. Either way this is a great way of incorporating some maths into your sporting afternoon.

3. Long Jump Use cushions, pillows, blankets, whatever you can find to soften the landing. Use coloured tape to mark out distance lines, with each zone scoring a certain number of points.

Hopefully these ideas have inspired you to create your own sporting events for the back garden.

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