Sure, we live in a time of smartphones and smartwatches, but that doesn’t mean that we still can’t have some good, old-fashioned fun with our friends and family this summer. So, get outside and enjoy playing some old school summer games like cornhole, lawn bowling, and ring toss with your loved ones!
10 Outdoor Games To Play This Summer
One of the most classic yard games of all-time, corn hole is perfect for either two or four players. The aim of the game is to toss bean bags at a wooden board with a hole in it with the goal of getting your bean bag on the board, or better yet, in the hole. A bean bag in the hole scores three points, while a bag on the board scores one. You have four bean bags to throw per round before you swap sides to face the opposite board. Whichever player (or team) scores 21 points first, wins. It’s simple, yet addictive and also works well for larger groups as the next in line to jump in can play the winner of the previous round–and so forth–until you have a corn hole champ.
- Lawn Bowling
Why bowl indoors when you can take it outside? Played in two teams of one to two players, lawn bowling is great for kids and adults alike. What makes lawn bowling different from traditional bowling or bocce is that the ball is slightly curved, making it extra challenging. The trick to perfecting the throw is how you grasp the ball – the large logo side is the side you want to grasp when you’re throwing the ball. Unlike typical bowling, you’re not aiming to knock pins down. Instead, you’re throwing balls across the green in an attempt to get as close to a smaller white ball called “the Jack” as possible. You get four balls per round and alternate throws with the other team. In each round, a single point is up for grabs. Whichever team gets to 21 points first wins.
Similar to lawn bowling, bocce is played in teams of two to eight players. Much like lawn bowling, one team begins by tossing the pallina (the small ball) and then throws the first ball. There are four balls per team per round and the objective is to get as close as possible to the pallina. A team wins once they hit 16 points. There are two distinctive differences between bocce and lawn bowling. In bocce, the ball is perfectly spherical unlike the curved ball in lawn bowling. And the second difference is the way the ball is thrown. In bocce, the ball is thrown underhand similar to how you throw a softball, whereas in land bowling, the ball must be rolled.
Horseshoes are a classic lawn sport as old as time that involves two or four players and a horseshoe game set that comes in a bag. A field is set up with two stakes driven into the ground at 40-feet apart (if space allows) and each team takes turns tossing horseshoes with the goal of getting as close to the stake as possible, ideally wrapping the horseshoe around the stake. A horseshoe within six inches of the stake is worth one point and those that wrap the stake—known as ringers—are worth three points. What makes this game exciting is that cancellation scoring is used, which means only one team can score per round, whichever lands closest. The winning score is 21, or at least a two-point lead if the game must end early.
- Giant Four In A Row
A simple game that is oddly addictive and easy enough for just about any age group, four in a row is even better in its giant, life-sized version. The objective here is simple, in fact it’s in the name: player red or player yellow compete by dropping colored discs into an upright board with holes in an effort to be the first to align four of the same-colored discs in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row.
- Giant Tumbling Tower
Another perfect yard game is the giant tumbling tower made of wood. It’s so popular that this game doesn’t even need to be named—and probably requires no explanation at all. First, a vertical tower is built using the wooden blocks and each player takes turns carefully removing and stacking blocks on the top of the tower without toppling the tower. If you’ve ever played this version before, you know that it’s all the more dramatic in its giant size, which can reach as high as four feet before it topples. Be prepared to move fast. Best of all, you can have as few or as many players as you like play this classic game.
Hailing from England in the 1860s, croquet is one of the oldest lawn sports that’s still played today. Two to six players can play and a very simplified explanation of the game is that the players take turns hitting a wooden ball with a mallet through nine metal wickets in a specific pattern on a field in order to reach a stake, turn around, and return to the starting stake. Where the game really gets exciting is all the ways there are to earn bonus shots, which quickly turns a seemingly snoozy antique sport into a fast-paced and heated competition.
- Ring Toss
Quite possibly the easiest game on this list to grasp, simply set up the peg board and toss plastic and rope rings at the pegs. Whichever player or team has the most rings on the pegs in the end, wins. Light and easy to transport and quick to play, ring toss is a great addition to just about any outdoor event.
The sport of roundnet has exploded in popularity over the last few years and has become a summertime staple game to play on beaches, in parks, at family reunions, and at backyard barbecues. Similar to volleyball, two teams rally to keep the ball in the air, but instead of it going over a net, the ball must return to the center of a round and horizontal, low-to-the ground net after a maximum of three touches by one of the teams. The rules are very similar to two-on-two volleyball. If the ball touches the ground, it’s returned to the other team to serve and a point is gained. What makes roundnet so fun is that once the ball is served, players can rotate around the net in a 360 rotation freely, there are absolutely no boundaries.
- Paddle Ball
A paddle ball set is an easy decision if you’re looking for a game for two that you can scale to the players’ skill levels. Sets come with paddles and several balls with varying degrees of bounce. You can adjust the rules based on whether you’re playing with little ones that can’t yet hold a paddle well and just want to catch and throw, or if both players are ambidextrous pros and want to rally using two paddles instead of one. All that’s left to do is outline a court, and much like tennis, you score a point when your opponent misses your square or fails to return the ball.