Some of the kids have already gone back to school. The rest will board the bus in the coming days. School means homework and homework means less time for outdoor fun. Which, in turn, means it is imperative we make the most of the outdoor time we do have before those white flakes start falling from the sky. Good news for parents and kids alike: Toysmith has you covered with their Get Outside line which includes both Spring Rings and Bashminton.
Toysmith was kind enough to send my family samples of both games, along with a glow-in-the-dark capture the flag set we haven’t had the chance to play with yet. Both the Spring Rings and Bashminton were… wait for it… hits with boy and the girl.
The girl (who turned 5 in July) is partial to the Spring Rings because the larger surface area of the “racquet” makes it easier for her to actually score a hit and return the ball to her partner. She also likes that there are two different kinds of balls provided in the set: one with a bit of bounce and one that’s more like what we used to call a “Koosh” back in the olden days. The former provides a bit more exercise and excitement while the later allowed Z more control over the ball and meant it didn’t tend to escape quite as far when it got away from us, making it the safer option for our itty-bitty front yard; it stayed, for the most part, in the postage stamp rather than flying into the bushes or the neighbor’s hard or the street. The ring’s larger diameter necessitates a two handed grip for the littles, a boon in that it gives them more control over both the ring itself and the direction in which they’re sending the projectile (i.e., not backwards over her head and directly at my coffee). Back and forthing for half an hour is a pretty good workout for all concerned and a great interlude for the kids between the walk home from the bus stop and homework time.
The boy (who turns 8 in December) had fun with the Spring Rings but he really loved Bashmiton. He’s bigger on sports with actual rules and serious competition than the girl is, and he immediately took to the challenge of volleying and running to and fro to reclaim the bouncy shuttlecock (which I very much prefer to those plastic things that used to inevitably nail you in the back in gym class). Plus, it didn’t do any damage to my car when it went out of bounds. We even started discussing the rules of tennis (yeah, I know, it’s badminton, but his great-grandfather was a tennis nut and he’s heard a lot of stories), including the concepts of boundaries and faults. Bashminton-ing also helped I work on his coordination and physical multitasking (running and swinging, jumping and swinging, trash talking and swinging)…
We had tons of fun playing Bashmiton in front of the house, but I think the full effect is probably better experienced in a larger area than our mostly dirt patch covers—a suburban backyard or a wide-open park. I’d also recommend confining games of Bashminton to grassy areas whenever possible; I went for a low return and scraped the edge of the racket against the sidewalk. When I checked it, I found a few torn spots in the fabric. Totally my fault for playing on a hard surface, but to keep your set in peak form, stick to the green stuff or a smoother court than Pittsburgh concrete or a municipal tennis court.
Even when school is in session, it can’t be all work and no play, at least not in my house. The kids end up climbing the walls (sometimes literally) or taking their need for physical activity out on one another. Loudly and usually when I’ve been handling raw chicken or am in the middle of making meatballs. Ew.
So take a few minutes very day to Get Outside.