Summer's (almost) here. And while we have some great family vacations lined up, from group tours to Disney, we're also hosting friends and family at home. So here's to a little friendly competition in our own yard, firing up the barbecue and creating an inaugural backyard Olympics with these 12 outdoor games that the whole family can enjoy.
12 Backyard Games for the Whole Family (Because Everyone Loves a Little Friendly Competition)
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Backyard Games for the Whole Family At-a-Glance
- Best Classic Outdoor Game: Hathaway Games Croquet Set
- Best Backyard Game for Adults: Bigtree Yard Pong Bucket Toss
- Best Two-in-One Backyard Game: Franklin Sports Badminton & Volleyball Set
- Best Backyard Game for Lawns: Beyong Outdoors Bocce Set
- Best Outdoor Board Game: Megachess Large Premium Chess Set
- Best Updated Backyard Game: GoSports Giant Horseshoes With Case
- Best for Older Kids: GSE Games Ladder Ball with Carrying Case
- Best Beach Backyard Game: Kan Jam toss Game Set
- Best Indoor-Outdoor Set: ECR4KIDS Jumbo 4-to-Score Giant Board Game
- Best Lightweight Backyard Set: Splinter Woodworking Shop Yardzee & Yardkle Set
- Best Giant Backyard Game: Jenga Giant JS7 Hardwood Game
- Best Backyard Cornhole Set: Beyond Outdoors Wooden Bean Bag Toss
Best Classic Backyard Game
It's not summer unless someone slices an amazing shot through a wicket to win the game. This version of the perennial lawn game includes colorful mallets, balls, wickets and a carrying case, so that you can be your family's own croquet shark.
Best Backyard Game for Adults
Twelve buckets and a pair of balls can be arranged in various formations to challenge all ages, and this comes with a carrying case so you can play at the beach and in parks. To play, divide into two teams with six buckets each, fill 'em with water or sand so they don't tip over, and take turns tossing the balls into the opposing team's buckets. The first team to get a ball in all six buckets wins.
Best Two-in-One Backyard Game
Two games in one convenient kit? Yes, please. This set includes everything you need for a four-player game of badminton or multi-player volleyball.
Best Lawn Game
You don’t need much for this game, aside from a flat, grassy space and these resin Bocce balls. It includes a convenient storage case to safely hold and transport the game, a set of eight 90-mm balls, one 40-mm pallino and a measuring tape to keep everyone honest.
Best Outdoor Board Game
This oversized backyard set comes with 12-inch-tall pieces made of durable polyethylene that can be left outside for extended periods, plus a lightweight vinyl mat. So you can leave your position before your next move, and it's a cool-looking lawn ornament.
Best Updated Backyard Game
The Encyclopedia Britannica notes that the game of horseshoes dates back as early as the first century, when Roman officers played it during the Roman occupation of Britain. Luckily, things have been modernized a bit since then, so heavy metal horseshoes are no longer a requirement. This set includes oversized pieces that have a throwing arch all their own—so even horseshoe pros will be trying something new.
Best for Older Kids
This ladderball set not only assembles quickly, but it also folds into a compact unit for storing once it’s built. Not sure how to play? Space the ladders 15 feet apart and toss the ropes called "bolas," trying to wrap them around each rung. The top rung is worth three points, the middle is worth two and the bottom is worth one. The first team to 21 wins!
Best Indoor-Outdoor Set
Sure, Connect 4 can be played anywhere there’s a board. But this brightly colored set is made from weather-resistant plastic and a lightweight frame that can be easily transported from the basement to the yard and back again. It takes just two people to play but you could also tap into your competitive side with a kids vs. parents duel.
Best Lightweight Backyard Set
These dice are 150 times the size of those used in the vintage board games Yahtzee and Farkle, which makes it extra fun for backyard play. They’re made from lightweight wood that's weather-resistant (so you're OK if you accidentally leave 'em out in the rain). Plus, for every game purchased, a tree is planted.
Best Giant Backyard Game
Don’t have a ton of space? This giant Jenga game stacks vertically, so it can be played almost anywhere—even in the living room.