What with all this modern technology we have (iPhone apples, Wii machines, Sting-rays), it transpires that kids these days don’t know how to play good old fashioned playground games like Hopscotch. Or communicate with their parents face to face (can’t I just text you mum?). Thankfully, this alarming finding is being addressed by family holiday specialist Western & Oriental who are launching their Holiday Playbook to get British families back on track.

The book has been written by Josie Curran, author on screen-free games, activities and fun things to do, and is free to download from Western & Oriental’s website wandotravel.com/playbook. It has instructions for games for the whole family, from ways to keep little ones occupied on the plane (Airplane Bingo and Human Slot Machine), to beach games for all ages (Sand Skittles and Flip Flop Tag) and ideas for rainy days (The Brilliant Ball Bashing Game and Speakers Corner).

Here are two of our favourite games from the book: (Illustrations by Alice Stevenson)

#1 Human Slot Machine

This is a re-interpretation of the classic pub fruit machine that’s been re-invented to play on the plane.

How to play

·         Get yourselves set up with three bags with the same items in each bag. The easy way to do this on the plane is to use the handy paper sick bag that can be found in the pocket in front of each seat and then wait until the airplane meal is served and swipe three of the same items from three meals – a plastic fork, cup or empty can of soda are all ideal.

·         Next give each of the players one of the matching bags, and if there’s anyone else then they can take it in turns to play on the Human Slot Machine.

·         To give it a go, whoever’s turn it is to gamble makes a whirring fruit machine noise (or any other noise of your choosing) and on the word ‘Ping” the three bag holders each simultaneously pull an item from their paper bag. The player wins if three of the same items are pulled out.

#2 Gilli Danda

Gilli Danda is a hugely popular Indian kids street game that’s a bit like cricket but played with two sticks instead of a bat and ball.

How to play

·         Get yourself set up with two sticks. A longer one of about 12-18 inches that is called the Danda and is used in the same way as a cricket bat. The smaller one called the Gilli and is about 3-6 inches long and should, if possible, tapered at both ends.

·         Next prepare the pitch by drawing a circle in the ground of about 1 metre diameter and score a hole in the middle that is deep enough for the Gilli to stand in it. It doesn’t matter if it rests at an angle.

·         Get into two teams. One team lines up to bat and the other spreads itself around the circle to field. The first person to bat rests the Gilli in the hole and then strikes it using the Danda.

·         Once the Gilli is struck, the batter places the Danda over the Gilli hole. The fielders then have to try to catch the Gilli to get the batter out. If the Gilli lands on the ground the fielder closest to it grabs hold of it and throws it towards the Danda (which was placed on top of the Gilli hole). If the fielder hits the Danda then the batter is out. If not, the batter scores one point and gets another turn to bat.

·         If the batter fails to hit the ball three times then they are out – similar to the game of cricket or rounders.

The winner is the person or team with the most points at the end of the game.