Whether you’re having a cookout or are just looking for low-key time with the family, there’s no beating a day in the sun. Amp up the fun by trying out some yard games. They allow for friendly competition, a quick workout, and a great way to bond. With classic games like bocce or newer innovations like roundnet, there is a perfect option for all skill levels and ages.
Cornhole is a classic lawn game popular with both kids and adults. Players simply stand back from a slanted board and attempt to land four bean bags in the hole in the board. If you’re comfortable with woodworking, you can DIY a cornhole board with just a few pieces of wood. Otherwise, there are many options available for purchase.
This ancient game has alleged Viking origins, leading to some fans nicknaming it “Viking chess.” Kubb is like a combination of horseshoes and bowling. Ultimately, the goal is to knock down the “kubbs” — small towers — on the far side of the pitch and then knock over a “king” piece. Though it sounds simple, this surprisingly difficult game can bring hours of fun to groups of all ages. However, it does require an almost completely flat landscape.
Sometimes known as ladder ball, this game requires all of your skill and precision if you want to beat your friends or family. Ladder golf requires a specific stand with a heavy bottom and three perpendicular bars. The goal of the game is to land bolas (two heavy balls connected by rope) on one of three bars; you earn points for higher bars. Setup takes only a few minutes, so it never feels like a hassle to pull it out for a get-together.
Chances are you’re aware of pong games and their many variants. Why not scale them up for even more fun? Replace the plastic cups and table tennis ball with some large buckets and a tennis ball to ramp up the difficulty and the fun. Try out different balls or bean bags. Plus, you don’t need to be a professional athlete to enjoy the game, so invite anyone and everyone to give it a shot.
Like many other lawn games, bocce focuses on tossing a small ball toward a goal. However, this game allows players to engage in various strategies and mind games. The goal itself is a ball that players can hit to move out of the way. You can even hit other players’ balls to move them away from the goal. Because the game is so reliant on rolling or tossing balls, you’ll want to play it on a relatively flat surface.
Volleyball is a hugely popular outdoor sport, but it’s difficult to transition to a standard yard; the large net simply isn’t as easy to set up or move around. Roundnet or spikeball is the answer to that dilemma. This game is a combination of four square and volleyball that requires both athleticism and skill, though messing up is a big part of the fun. Plus, it’s great cardio. The best part is that the net and ball are small enough to fit into any yard.
Despite its somewhat silly name, pickleball is an incredibly fun game. It is a fusion of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. The rackets are smaller than tennis rackets and the ball floats more thanks to the holes in its surface. These elements slow the pace of the game, making it more accessible to people of varying ages and skill levels. Pickleball does use a net, which can be an issue for people with smaller yards or for those who want a quick-and-easy setup.
Carnival games are tons of fun but often aren’t worth the money we end up spending on them. Why not bring the carnival home? Many products online allow you to set up bottles on stands and attempt to knock them over with discs or balls. Start adding your own rules and variations to make it truly yours. You can even play for silly prizes, just like a real carnival.
Some of the most fun you can have with a yard game starts with something that is already a party pleaser and scaling it up. Sure, piling up tiny wooden blocks and competing to see who can take the most pieces is tons of fun. But there’s nothing like having to stand on your tip-toes to reach the top of a tower that could collapse at any moment.
Most people probably associate croquet with aristocratic parties and bougie gatherings, but it honestly is a lot of fun. At its core, croquet is essentially lawn billiards. Your goal is to get your ball through each wicket or hoop in the correct order. Ultimately, there are many rule variations and different games you can play with a croquet set, so experiment! Consider making up your own rules so you can maximize your fun.