Following a long winter lockdown and a whole load of rubbish weather, it feels like our whole family has cocooned itself inside for months. The toll it has taken on all of us is pretty clear to see, we are sluggish, pasty and even paler than usual. We desperately need to get outside and get some much needed Vitamin D, but there’s a new battle to fight. Like many families, both of my children (aged 8 and 5) are firm fans of their screens and are somewhat reluctant to leave them for the great outdoors without a good reason. Their much loved trampoline and swings were over-used last year in the great home-schooling summer of 2020, so don’t hold much appeal. We need something different to hold their attention, and the cheap frisbees and skipping ropes from bargain stores are just not cutting the mustard.
Garden Target Ball
For my son in particular, competitive games always go down well, so the Garden Target Ball game from Jaques of London was just the ticket. It’s a simple concept, an inflatable circle inside a cover with coloured velcro pads at various points. You have three velcro balls and the aim is to score as many points as possible (or in our case, beat your mum and dad). It is super simple to get set up and suitable for all ages. The outer cover is even waterproof if you get caught out by the inevitable unpredicted summer shower, or a rogue sprinkler. It is portable too, so great for taking with you to the park or friends and family. We kept the game intact but it would be very easy to disassemble and pack it up again. The game does work best if you have somewhere solid to hang it – as I found out with a load of balls in the face when I volunteered to hold it!
Jaques of London
Jaques of London have been making games and sports equipment since 1795 and specialise in wooden toys. They are responsible for inventing a whole host of family classics like Snakes and Ladders, Croquet, Tiddley Winks, Snap and Happy Families.
Browsing their website is like stepping into a wonderful old school toy shop. There’s every game you could ever think of from outdoor games like badminton, croquet and giant dominoes to classics like solitaire and cribbage. There’s a beautiful range of toys for younger ones too, with my daughter especially favouring the play food. Everything is elegantly packaged in cardboard, tied with ribbon so it’s a real experience to open your purchase.
*We were gifted a Garden Target Ball game in exchange for an unbiased review.