There’s no escaping it. When a ball bounces off a wooden fence it is loud.
If you have restricted space in your garden (and a lot of us do) you may fear the dreaded crash caused by an errant football, or speeding tennis ball.
But stopping these games altogether does you children no favours. Balls games give children the chance to develop hand-eye coordination skills, social skills as they interact while playing, and of course get much needed fresh air and exercise.
So what can you do to prevent the bang crash wallop.
We’ve got some suggestions here for ‘ball games’ without the wayward balls.
1. Badminton Often overlooked in favour of tennis, but badminton requires just as much skill and concentration. Because the shuttlecock travels slowly it is unlikely to go far enough astray to hit the fence. And if it does, you’ll hear barely a tap as it is much lighter than a ball.
2. Swingball Swingball is just like tennis, only the ball is tethered, so no chance of it escaping into the neighbour’s garden or bashing into the fence.
3. Boules Played properly there is no chance of loud noises. These heavy balls plop soundlessly onto the lawn and stay there. You may hear a gentle ‘clink’ as two balls touch each other. This is a calm relaxing game requiring concentration so is ideal for taking energy levels down a notch if things get a little frenetic.
4. Skittles If you don’t have a skittles set you can make your own with some sand filled [plastic bottles and a tennis ball. Help younger children aim by having them roll the ball down the slide towards skittles assembled at the bottom. Older children can add extra challenge by placing the skittles at the top of the slide and rolling the ball up it.
5. Outdoor Table Tennis For the ultimate outdoor accessory, get a waterproof table tennis set. Designed to be kept outside (although best covered over the colder months), these tables are always set up and ready to go whenever the mood takes you. The lightweight ping pong balls will bounce all over the garden, but barely make a sound, so you there won’t be any loud bangs….unless you crash into the fence chasing after them of course.
With a bit of imagination you can adapt traditional games and invent your own to provide plenty of outdoor fun with none of the noise.
You may also be able to make small adaptations to your garden to help stop balls hitting the fence. A gulley around the edge of the lawn will catch ground skimming balls, as will borders filled with dense shrubs.
If football is an essential activity it is possible to buy inflatable fully enclosed five-a-side pitches with high side netting.