On a warm summer’s day, nothing beats the fun and convenience of backyard games.
Whether you have a sprawling lawn or a small patio, there are plenty of exciting yard games to help you create special memories with your family and friends. From classic backyard games like cornhole to more modern lawn games like Spikeball, there are options for every age group and occasion. With so many entertaining options, sometimes the hardest part is choosing which games to buy (or make)!
To help you decide, we’ve highlighted 20 of our favorite backyard games in the sections below, broken down by category. We’ve included yard games for all ages, plus some DIY ideas in case you’re feeling creative. Let the games begin!
Benefits of Playing Backyard Games
Before we dive into specific backyard games, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of playing backyard games:
Physical activity: Many backyard games encourage you to get moving in a natural way, which is essential for maintaining good health and fitness.
Social connection: Playing backyard games with family and friends can help improve feelings of connectedness and reduce feelings of isolation.
Mental health: Studies show that engaging in leisure activities can positively impact mental health, helping to reduce stress and improve mood.
Skill development: Many backyard games require skill and/or strategy, which can help develop cognitive and motor skills. For example, playing a ring toss game can help improve hand-eye coordination, while giant Jenga can help improve strategic thinking.
Family bonding: Studies show that children who spend more quality time with their families are less likely to have behavioral problems and participate in risky behaviors.
Child development: Outdoor play is very important for children’s physical, cognitive, and social development. Medical professionals recommend that school-aged children get around 3 hours of outdoor play each day.
5 Fun Backyard Games for Families
Backyard games are the perfect way to spend quality time together as a family. Here are five of our favorite family-friendly yard games:
1. Corn Hole
This is a classic yard game that can be enjoyed by all ages. Cornhole sets come with two boards with holes in them and eight bean bags. Players take turns tossing the beanbags, trying to land them in the hole or on the board for points. It can be played in teams, making it a good option for families of all sizes. For larger families or groups, you could even hold a tournament.
2. Ladder Ball
Ladder ball, sometimes called ladder toss, is another popular outdoor game that involves tossing two balls connected by a string at a ladder-shaped structure with several rungs. Players attempt to wrap the string around the ladder rungs, with each rung worth a certain number of points. Teams of players stand opposite of one another and take turns, so it’s another good game for families.
3. Giant Jenga
Giant Jenga is just like regular Jenga, but much bigger! Players stack the oversized wood blocks into a tower formation and attempt to remove one block at a time from the center of the tower and place it delicately on top of the tower, without causing it to collapse. To add a unique twist to this classic game, you can write questions or mini-challenges on each wood block for players to complete as they draw.
4. Frisbee Golf
You don’t have to go to a disc golf course to play a round of frisbee golf! Simply grab a frisbee and set up a series of targets or baskets. The goal is to land on each target in as few throws as possible. There are also more fancy backyard frisbee golf sets available with baskets that look like the real deal.
The classic version of croquet involves hitting wooden balls with a mallet and trying to navigate the balls through a series of small gates/doors called wickets. There are some modern versions of the game available, like kick croquet where you kick balls through a series of wickets instead of hitting them with a mallet. Each player chooses a color and competes individually, but many people can play at once, so it’s a good option for families.
5 of our Favorite Yard Games for Kids
1. Water Baloon Toss
This game is perfect for a scorching hot summer’s day. All you need is a bucket full of water balloons and at least two players. Have the players toss a water balloon back and forth, taking one step backward with each throw. If multiple teams are playing, the last one with an intact water balloon wins!
2. Giant Connect Four or Tic-Tac-Toe
These giant versions of two classic games are a great way for kids to practice cognitive skills and strategic thinking. Giant versions are available for purchase, or you can create your own DIY versions. Tic-tac-toe is an especially easy one to replicate with some chalk!
3. Twister Splash
This backyard game is just like regular twister, but with one extra twist – the twister mat attaches to a hose and turns into a sprinkler! The water makes the mat slippery, which makes the game even more challenging and silly. This is another great game to pull out on those hot, sunny days.
4. Relay Race
This is another game that is easy to set up on your own with household items. But if you’re after convenience, there are also versions available for purchase that come with child-size potato sack race bags, egg and spoon race supplies, whistles, and awards. It’s a fun option for a kid’s birthday party or block party.
5. Glow in the Dark Capture the Flag
Kids love playing capture the flag, and it’s a wonderful way to encourage physical activity. This glow-in-the-dark version makes the game even more fun and exciting. It’s designed for ages 8 and up and can be played by 4-20 players, so it’s a good option for a party or large gathering.
5 Popular Lawn Games for Adults
Adults enjoy playing backyard games too! These slightly more challenging or competitive yard games are perfect for a backyard barbeque or garden party with friends:
1. Bocce Ball
This classic Italian lawn game involves rolling balls at a target ball called a “pallino.” The goal is to get your balls as close to the pallino as possible while knocking the balls of other players out of the way. Some people create long and narrow courses for playing bocce ball, while others simply play in an open field or grassy lawn.
KanJam comes with two goals and a frisbee. Players take turns throwing the frisbee at the goal and score points if it lands in the slot or is directed into the slot by their team member. This game is portable, so it’s a great one to bring along to a park, the beach, or on a camping trip.
Kubb is a Swedish lawn game played on a rectangular pitch. Teams stand on opposite sides and try to knock over wooden blocks called “kubbs.” The rules are a bit more complex than some of the other games listed here, requiring both strategy and skill. It’s a competitive game that has become more and more popular outside of Sweden.
This is a more face-paced, athletic, and challenging yard game than some of the others on this list. Two teams of two players each compete at a time, taking turns bouncing a small ball off of a circular net near the ground. Successful returns earn points, so the goal is to make it difficult for the other team to return the ball.
Do we really need to explain this one? This game has been around for centuries and is popular across the United States, Canada, and several other countries. The setup and rules are simple but the actual playing is harder than it looks!
5 DIY Backyard Games
1. Obstacle Course
This is another good way to encourage kids to get moving and practice different motor and agility skills. And you can easily set up a course with items you already have around the house. Create boundaries with cones, pool noodles, or rope. Make a tunnel with big cardboard boxes. Set up hoola-hoops to jump through or layout sticks to jump over. Get the kids involved in setting up the course and they’ll be entertained for hours!
2. Water Baloon Pinyata
This is another refreshing backyard game for hot weather. Simply fill up some water balloons with water and tie them to a clothesline. Like a regular pinata game, blindfold one player at a time and let them take a whack at popping the balloons. They’ll get soaked in the process and everyone will have a laugh.
3. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts do require some planning and preparation but you don’t need a bunch of materials to set them up! You can set up a simple scavenger hunt in the backyard or go big and take players on a walk around the neighborhood to find clues in neighbors’ backyards or your local park. Keep it simple and write clues on paper or use a free app like Scavify or TurfHunt to customize your scavenger hunt.
4. Ring Toss
This game is simple to set up and fun for all ages. Plus, you can practice hand-eye coordination! All you need are some rings to toss and bottles or wooden dowels to aim for. You can make rings out of rope with hot glue and then line bottles up inside a crate to keep them secure. To make the game a bit more complicated, label or paint the bottles different colors so that they’re worth different points.
5. Fort Building
Do you have a bunch of old cardboard boxes lying around? If so, your kids will love the challenge of building a fort out of purely recycled materials! Building the fort, decorating it, and then playing in it will keep them entertained for hours on end – a very memorable way to spend a summer’s day.
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