It is an excellent plan to rig up half a dozen games, each of which can be played in a small space in the various corners of the garden, and the various accessories can often be found about the house and in the garden shed without the necessity for buying anything whatever.
Most of the following games can, moreover, be rigged up in the wee garden plot of any country or seaside cottage during holiday time, and prove a godsend in keeping the little folk happily employed during the hotter hours of the day, while their elders take a well-earned siesta after an arduous morning spent in the woods or on the beach.
Bumble-Puppy is a splendid game, for which a long bamboo pole, or long, straight clothes-prop, a ball of coarse twine, and a huge flower-pot are all that will be required, besides the ball in a net with a heavy waxed string, which can be bought ready to hang on the top of the pole at any toy-shop for 9 1/2d., and a couple of old tennis or badminton bats.
The first thing to be done is to find a nice level spot for setting up the pole. This done, fill the flower-pot three parts full with rather heavy mould, and invert it at the chosen spot.
Next tie the string attached to the ball to the extreme top of the pole, so that the ball hangs to within about three and a half feet from the ground when the pole is held in an upright position. Six inches below the top of the pole fasten a cork bung with the help of a long nail, and nail on a second cork four or five inches below it, leaving a clear space of four inches between the two bungs.
Now push the lower end of the pole through the hole in the bottom of the inverted flower-pot until it touches the ground below. The earth in the flower-pot will steady it to a certain extent, but it makes it much more rigid if the pole can be driven into the ground itself for six inches or so.
To begin the game the two players, each armed with a bat, stand on opposite sides of the pole, and the server, taking the ball in her hand, stands back as far as the string will allow. She then cries " Play ! " to her opponent, and strikes the ball sharply to the left, in order to wind it up to the left on the space between the two bungs. He in his turn endeavours to intercept it as it flies past him, and with a skilful back-handed stroke to set it whirling up round the pole in the opposite direction. Whichever player first succeeds in winding the ball up between the bungs wins the game.
Bottle Ninepins is a most successful game, for which a dozen empty stone Apol-linaris or ginger-beer bottles, a penny packet of sticking-on labels, four old croquet balls, and a length of wide white tape will be required.
Stick a large white label on to the front of each bottle and write a huge number on it in black ink, marking them from one to twelve, and then arrange them in two rows, seven bottles in the first and five in the second, in such a way that the number on every bottle shows when standing in front of them. Using hairpins as pegs, stretch a barrier of white tape at a suitable distance, which depends chiefly upon the age and skill of the players.
The players stand behind the tape barrier, and each one takes it in turn to roll the four balls, one after another, at the bottles. The score made by adding together the numbers on the overturned bottles is noted down, the bottles are set up again as before, and the next player takes his or her turn.
Bottle Ninepins. This is an excellent game for a small garden. Only a dozen stone ginger-beer bottles and adhesive labels and broad white tape are required
A Garden See-saw is an endless source of delight, and the children will play happily on it for hours together.
To make a very safe one, which yet is quite exciting enough for small nursery folk, find a nice long springy plank - if one is not already to be found about the house, a suitable one of strong, well-seasoned wood, which may be relied on not to break, can be bought for a couple of shillings.
A big empty flower-pot, for a support, will also be required, and this can be bought for ninepence or a shilling at any florist's, if there does not happen to be one in the garden.
If a couple of holes are bored in the middle of the plank, with the help of a red-hot poker, a strong wire can be passed through the plank and into the central hole of the fiower-pot and brought up again on either side of it and through the holes in the plank again, thus making it impossible for the board to jump off its support, and obviating the necessity for one of the players to stand on the plank just above the flower-pot, to keep it on by her weight.
Garden Quoits is an excellent game, for which a couple of squares of board - wooden box lids would answer admirably - and four dozen corks, and some big French nails, or strong glue, will be required, besides a dozen rope rings, which can be bought very inexpensively at a good sports' shop.
Nail or glue the corks upright on to the boards in even rows four inches apart, and the quoits boards are ready.
To begin the game the boards are placed flat on the ground from fifteen to twenty feet apart, and one player stands beside each, armed with half a dozen rings, which must be thrown, one after another, on to the corks on the opponent's board. Each cork encircled by a ring counts one to the thrower. Four players may compete, two standing at either end and playing as partners. In a foursome the players take it in turns to throw the set of six rings from either end alternately.