Growing up, my neighborhood friends and I played outdoor games regularly. The largest backyard was for baseball. The person whose parents needed them to stay within earshot, their lawn was for throwing a flying disc. The backyard with a swale was for creating our own skating rink during the winter. Now that my neighborhood friends and I are adults and moved from our childhood homes, when we all reunite we still gravitate toward outdoor games. Lawn games bring everyone together and lead to fun and laughter (someone is bound to biff it and hit the badminton birdie straight-up in the air, to no effect). There are lawn games available for any level of athleticism or competiveness, so find your favorite and play!
|500 – Played with any ball or flying disc, the object of the game is to be the thrower, otherwise known as “It”. One player throws the ball or disc and shouts a number from 0 to 500. The person who catches the ball or disc wins that number of points. Once a catching player reaches 500 points, then they become the new thrower.|
|Badminton – This game is played by hitting a shuttle, also known as a birdie, with a racquet over a net to the other player’s side of the court. A player scores points by landing the birdie in-bounds on their opponent’s side of the court.|
|Bean Bag Toss – Turns are taken throwing four bags at a raised 2ft x 4ft platform with a 6in hole. Points are scored by landing a bag in the hole or on the platform.|
|Bocce – Developed in its current form in Italy, this game is played by bowling four balls at a target ball, or jack. The team with the closest ball to the jack at the end of a round scores points. There are lighted bocce ball sets that glow, so this game can be played at dusk or in the dark.|
|Croquet – This delightful game is played by hitting balls with a mallet through wickets, also known as hoops. Croquet may be played various ways, but one of the most common methods is the player to finish the course first wins.|
|Horseshoes – Four horseshoes are thrown at target stakes, 40ft apart, in the ground. Points are scored by throwing a horseshoe nearest to the stake.|
|Ladder Toss – Three bolas, which are two balls connected by a string, are thrown at the rungs of ladder-targets. Points are scored depending on which rung the bolas are suspended.|
|Volleyball – A team sport played by bumping a ball back and forth over a net to the receiving team’s side. Scoring points are achieved when the serving team grounds the volleyball in the opposing team’s side of the court.|
If you are unfamiliar with the rules and scoring details for any of these games, feel free to explore and look them up. However, so long as everyone agrees on a set of rules, then you can modify and play any of these games with your own set of house rules. If everyone is enjoying themselves, that is the most important goal of lawn games.