The shuttlecock - a flying object made out of feathers, known to most of us through badminton, has been used traditionally in kicking games of skill in China.
You may already have (or be able to purchase) a shuttlecock. Alternatively, you can follow our instructions to make your own shuttlecock - it makes a fun craft activity to do with the kids, with the added bonus of some games at the end of it (although the home-made shuttlecock may not last long!)
How to play:
1 person games:
Throw the shuttlecock into the air, then keep it in the air bouncing from one palm to the other. How long can you keep it going?
Throw the shuttlecock up in the air, then keep it up in the air using only your feet. See how long you can keep it going before it hits the ground!
When you have had some practise at this, try hitting it up into the air with your knees.
Now try alternating between your feet and your knees, and between left and right, too!
2 person games:
How about playing with a friend? One of you throws the shuttlecock up in the air, and the other kicks it back. How many times can you pass the shuttlecock between you?
Play with more than 2 children: stand in a ring and see if you can keep the shuttlecock in the air using only your feet, passing it around the ring.
Put your best player in the centre of the circle and pass it from the centre out and back each time.
One person throws the shuttlecock high into the air and calls out the name of the child who should hit it next. That child hits it at high as possible, too, with the palm of her hand, calling out the next player, and so on.
See if you can pass the shuttlecock down a line of children with your palms, your feet or your knees.
Make your own badminton game:
String up a "net" - perhaps using a rope tied between two trees - at just above chest-height. A traditional badminton net is 5ft 1inch high, but you will want it to be lower than that for children. Stand either side of net and see how long you can keep the shuttlecock going between you, using your palms, tennis racquets, or whatever else you can find if you don't have badminton racquets!