What are two things that go well together? Hint: the answer is in the title. Okay, if you give up – one of them is playing games, and the other is playing outside. Playing outdoors is one of the best benefits of summer weather, plus it gets us out of the house, breathing fresh air and brings people together.
Lawn games have been around for a long time, but they’ve begun gaining more popularity in recent years. What’s great about them is that you don’t have to book the local sports field to partake in many of these activities. In fact, for most of these games can be played in any size yard or outdoor common area. Take these games outside for some fun, exercise, and quality social time.
Here are our suggestions of fun outdoor lawn games you’ll want to try this summer…
A ‘Hole’ Lotta Fun
With a minimal investment (depending on the type and manufacturer), you could get your family a beanbag toss set that can keep you happy for hours. The setup is simple: two wooden boards (each with a hole) are set up, and you take turns tossing bean bags into them from a distance.
“Cornhole” is a popular version of the toss that has been gaining in popularity. It involves 2 to 4-players and two boards, as well as bean bags (that were once filled with feed corn, which is where is gets its name from.) Two boards are placed about 27-feet apart (21-feet for junior participants), and the players take turn tossing at their opponent’s board. Points are scored depending on where the bags land.
Unlike some of the other games on this list, bocce appeals to people of all ages! The kids to play, and you’ll even be able to get some of the older adults to join in! Bocce is a classic game that doesn’t require a whole lot of space or equipment. You can buy an outdoor bocce set just about anywhere and they’re sold in a wide range of prices. All depends on the quality of the set. Plus it’s easy to store all year round.
Bocce is a test of strength, strategy, and skill. Players are divided into two teams. The two teams take turns throwing their balls as they try to get the closest to the pallino (the small white ball). In the process, they can knock the other players balls out of the way. Most sets come with eight balls, a pallino, and a carry case to store them in.
Spikeball is one of the newest games on the scene and it has quickly become one of the most popular summer activities. This game was originally seen on the show Shark Tank when it was pitched as a new business opportunity. The game requires four players divided into two teams.
The goal is to hit the ball down onto a bouncy net that sits in the middle of the four players. What’s great about this game is that it does require a bit of athletic ability as you’ll have to be ready to easily move around. It’s sure to get your heartrate up and have people laughing as they dip and dive for the ball.
Does anybody remember playing lawn darts? This game involves two teams throwing darts back and forth to try to land them into a target about 35-feet away. The trouble is that the original lawn darts were actually banned in the U.S. because of the danger risk – namely due to the sharp metal tips.
However, luckily someone came up with a variation of the game which instead includes darts that have a rounded rubber tip that stays in place when hitting the ground rather than digging in. This version is sometimes called “Jarts,” and Scary Mommy notes there’s another similar game called Flickin’ Chicken (about $16 U.S. online), which involves… you guessed it… throwing rubber chickens instead of darts!
Stay on Track
Trackball is another way to have a ball in your own backyard. Players hold a scoop-type racket, and the idea is to toss the plastic ball to their playmate that is standing some distance away.
This might not that exciting to you on the surface, but the source notes that increasing the distance can make it much more challenging to catch the ball with the scoop due to other factors. “When the ball is tossed long distances, the way it can sway in the air with the wind may send you diving to the ground trying to catch it,” notes La Jolla.
Unless you were recently born or are allergic to games, you’ve probably played a round of Jenga at some point. The idea, as the product jingle suggests, is to “take a block from the bottom and you put it on top.” The game gets more and more exciting as the block structure becomes less stable with each round.
Well, take that concept and mega-size it, and you have Giant Jenga. This version is suitable for the yard as it can reach up to 5-feet in height, so it’s maybe best played outdoors. However, you can also bring it inside if you want notes DigitalTrends.com – just be wary it doesn’t topple over on anything that’s breakable.
What game has two ladders and six balls that are red and blue all over? The answer is ladder ball (it is also sometimes referred to as ladder toss or ladder golf). The rules of the game are pretty loose compared to actual golf (apparently shouting and waving are acceptable to distract the other players), but go something like this: you set up the ladders in your yard and create a “toss line” that is about 15-feet away notes HowStuffWorks.com.
Each player steps up to toss a bola (Spanish for ball) that is either blue or red (there might be other color variations out there) that has a vinyl cord with another ball attached to it, it notes. You earn a certain number of points for getting the cord to wrap around the different rungs of the ladder. (You win when you reach 21-points).
Yardzee is exactly what it sounds like. The game of Yahtzee but in an larger, outdoor version. This game is great because it’s easy to play for all ages and it’s not too competitive or complicated. You can buy an outdoor sized Yardzee game on Etsy for only $40. Next time you’ve got some friends over or need something to do with the kids outside, pull this game out!
Who doesn’t love to play frisbee? That was the go-to activity as kids! If you’d like to relive your frisbee playing days, but also take it up a notch with some competitive spirit, try playing Kan Jam! There are two giant cylinders with a slit in them big enough to fit a frisbee. Two people can play (or you can include more and have people take turns) and each player stands beside their cylinder across from each other. The goal is to throw the frisbee into the other cylinder and get it in the hole.
You can purchase this game at most stores or online. There’s the original version, as well as a really cool glow-in-the-dark set.
The Hunt For Fun Is On
Want to create some adventure for your kids in the comfort of your own backyard? Then you can set up a scavenger hunt for them. You can find some of them pre-made with all the things you’ll need (the GoFindIt Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Game retails for about $13 USD).
Basically, it involves drawing cards and then searching out the items on the cards, which can be obscure. If you’re on a tighter budget you could also achieve similar results with a DIY scavenger hunt. For added excitement, you can break into teams and see who can track down the most items.