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In our opinion, the best thing about summer is getting to spend time outside with our families and friends.
And in my opinion, the second best thing is whooping their butts in outdoor games. Yes, I’m a tad competitive and I will think nothing of taking my young nieces and nephews to school in cornhole, Spikeball, or frisbee golf. You may be a mature adult and let the younger kids win, but I’ve made several of them cry, and I have zero regrets.
One of our all-time favorite summer outdoor games is frisbee golf. All you need is a frisbee and a few friends, and you’re good to go! If you’ve never played before, the object of the game is to throw your frisbee into each “hole” (which can be anything from a trash can to a tree) in the fewest throws possible.
Are you looking for some fun outdoor games to play this summer? Here are some of our favorites, plus best practices to employ when you’re on the hunt!
What to Look for in Outdoor Games For Families
“When choosing a lawn game, the major factors are going to be age of players, size, and portability,” says Gordon Buchanan, founder of Triangle Lawn Games.
Users should also consider entertainment value, durability, safety, and developmental level when the kids will be joining in on the fun!
NY Mag lays out these parameters when looking for outdoor games:
Number of players: Because the typical size of your group will influence what kind of outdoor game suits you best. We’ve taken note of games that are more suitable for larger families and groups of friends as opposed to one-on-one players. Some of the games here are more flexible, with rules that can shift to accommodate larger teams or casual bystanders who swap in and out.
Terrain: Classic lawn games like croquet really are best suited to actual lawns, but these days, many outdoor games will work on a variety of surfaces, from concrete to sand to packed snow. Our best overall game comes in two versions: one that can be set up semi-permanently in your yard, and another that’s more portable. For lawn games, we looked for solid workmanship and classic aesthetics. For beach games, we also put an emphasis on durability and lightweight materials for maximum portability.
Difficulty: We’ve also noted the relative difficulty of our outdoor games, most of which are fairly intuitive to learn with a few (literal) curveballs. You’ll find recommendations for classic cornhole as well as two more grown-up versions of the game. While everything on our list should be appropriate for kids, we’ve noted which games are quicker and easier to pick up than others.
KanJam is a perfect game to play with friends at the beach or with the family in the backyard, says La Jolla Mom. “To play, you’ll form two teams of two players. One player tries to toss a Frisbee (or the generic “flying disc”) into a can from 17 feet away while the opponent tries to deflect it. You’ll receive points for hitting the can, too.”
Cornhole is a classic outdoor game that is perfect for summer. All you need is a couple of bean bags and a cornhole board, and you’re good to go.
Liam Macleod, the director and head camper at Camp No Counselors, notes that it’s as fun for a few as it is for many: “Giant Jenga is inclusive of everyone — you can play with two or 20 people.”
Elite Sportz Ring Toss Game
Easy to set up and play, this ring toss game teaches kids hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and simple math. To play, kids take turns tossing the colored rings onto the target. Each peg denotes a different amount of points, and the first player to reach the agreed upon amount of points wins.
Enjoy lawn games even after the sun goes down with these glow-in-the-dark lawn darts. Simply set up your target and launch the soft weighted missiles into the light-up circle. Whoever has the most darts in their target wins!
A modern (and safer!) take on the classic game, the rubber version of horseshoes means you can enjoy the beach or lawn game without the threat of injury from a heavy, metal horseshoe.
You can make family memories with this beautiful croquet set that doesn’t involve injuries. The set is also stunning, so we suggest you grab it up as soon as you can.
Another classic game is bowling! While you can’t take the alley home with you, this cute Coca-Cola style bowling set is a wonderful addition to your outdoor game night.
If your family is a little more active when it comes to games, look into this pickleball set that comes with a net. We love pickleball because it’s a little smaller than actual tennis, but you still get that same joy.
Pool Beer Pong
In this case, classics means college years. This floating beer pong table is such a fun treat if you’re having an adult’s night or if your kids are grown up! It’s super fun to play, and the cleanup isn’t too hard if you’re already in the pool.
If you are heading to the park for the day, you can bring along some no frills entertainment for yourself and the kids. Just pack a frisbee, some sidewalk chalk for the kiddos, and bring a hula hoop – portable, easy fun for all!
Spikeball is a fun game that is perfect for summer.
The Spruce says “This fun, fast-paced game is a combination of four square and volleyball. To play, you slam one of the balls down onto the net, sending it soaring back up to your opponents. If the other team misses the ball, your team scores a point. The first team to 21 points wins the game. Because it’s designed for four players, this game is great for groups.”
The Pro Kit is an upgrade to the classic Spikeball set, thanks to added texture on the Pro Balls and stronger rims and legs. According to users, the sturdier materials make for much better play (stronger hits) and easier fold and portability.
L.L.Bean Bocce Ball is an easy-to-play bocce ball kit for outdoor competitive fun.
Checkers/Tic Tac Toe Rug
You can play tic tac toe in the sand on the beach, but we elevated that a bit for you. This giant rug gives you a chance to play the classic games of checkers or tic tac toe. This is super easy if you have younger children you want to entertain for a bit while you get your tan in.
The volleyball net set includes a carrying bag to fit the regulation size volleyball net, winch system, poles, PU volleyball, guide ropes, and boundary line, so you can readily take it wherever you want.
There is so much fun to be had with these outdoor games for families! Tell us your favorite games in the comments!
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