So it is summertime and you have the smoker out bbqing or grilling with company over. You are in great company and the food is smoking low and slow, now what?
Here are 35 party game ideas to entertain your guests in no particular order (both kids & adults) while you are grilling in the beautiful summer weather.
1. Cornhole (The Rules, Setup and How to Play)
How to Set Up Cornhole?
Cornhole is an awesome game to play that doesn’t take much thinking, it is great for any BBQ or summer outing. Cornhole is very popular at a lot of tailgates and even starting to show up in a lot of local breweries.
To set up cornhole you simply place the boards directly facing one another with 27 feet between the front edge of them.
How to Play Cornhole?
One one side of the boards you’ll find 2 people in which they are on opposite teams. If you are playing with two people you will simply be throwing to the opposite board then switching sides and repeating.
With four people, you will stay at your board and you will team up with someone on the opposite side in which you will throw from your side against your opponent (your teammate is typically inline with you on the same side as the box you are tossing from).
To assist with the potential confusion, the bags are also different colors so establishing points is done with ease by team.
To decide who goes first, one side of the boards each toss one bag. Who goes first is based on highest score and or closest to the whole if there are two on the board.
Any time throwing the bags it is important that your feet do not pass the front of the boards as this is a foul. Another important rule is that the bag must not touch the ground or skip onto the board. If it is hanging off the side of the board and touching the ground then it is also removed unless house rules allow it to remain.
Once it is established who goes first then the one side of board plays all eight bags in which you alternate throws. Once all eight bags are thrown that round is over and the score is added up giving points as specified next.
Whoever gets the most points per round then that team is who goes first on the next round.
How to Keep Score in Cornhole? (The Rules, Setup and How to Play)
Another favorite about cornhole is not only how easy the game is played but how easy the scoring is. After all eight bags are thrown the score is then tallied up prior to the bags being removed and thrown back the other direction for another round.
If the bag goes in the hole then it is worth 3 points. If a bag lands on the board then it is worth 1 point.
With this being said there are also a couple house rules or preferences that come into play. First of all, many play to 21 points but you can’t win until you beat your opponent by 2. Another way it is played is if you get 21 then you win, but if you go over 21 you are penalized and your points drop back down to 11 or 13.
With this being said the rules should also be established upfront on whether or not the opponent gets a rebuttable, which in my opinion is never played at my house.
One final rule that should be a house decision prior to proceeding with game play is some play the cancel rule. The cancel rule says that if each team makes it in the hole then zero points are earned. Or, if each team makes one on the board then they cancel each other out with zero added points.
For me, I prefer to speed up game play a little and do not cancel points. This allows games to turn over more frequently when looking to rotate people.
2. Ladder Ball (The Rules, Setup and How to Play)
Like many backyard games, Ladder Ball is another fun and addicting game which is typically played with 2 to 4 players. The goal is to simply toss the golf ball sized balls on a rope and ring one of the three levels to earn points.
These golf ball sized balls that are typically connected with a nylon rope are called bolas in which two balls attached by one rope is a single bola.
How to Set Up Ladder Ball?
Ladder ball is a super easy game to setup in the backyard. To set up, simply place the ladder ball ladders facing each other with fifteen feet between them.
Not serious enough to get a tape measure out? Me either, 15 feet is about 5 paces apart (with each pace being about 3 feet).
The Rules and How to Play Ladder Ball?
As with quite a few backyard games, ladder ball is played to 21 points. To win a game of ladder ball you must be the first person or team to get exactly 21 points.
To play, each team tosses 3 bolas in an alternating pattern (three sets of two balls on a nylon rope in which there should be a total of 6). Once complete the scores are tallied up.
Top Ladder Ball Rung – If you land a bola on the top rung then you have achieved 3 points. If you’ve landed two bolas on the top rung then you have achieved 6 points and as you would expect, a third bola on the top rung would count as 9.
Middle Ladder Ball Rung – Counting the scoring is the same as the top run with the exception of the points themselves. The middle rung is only worth two points per bola.
Lower Ladder Ball Rung – As you may have already guessed, this is true for the lower rung too with the exception of the lower rung only being worth one point per bola.
Similar to cornhole, one thing you cannot do when throwing is step passed the front of the ladder you are throwing from. This will result in a dead throw and the ball will be removed from the ladder. Unlike cornhole, if the bola touches the ground it is NOT dead. The point will still count.
Who goes first in ladder ball? Typically this is a house rule. Many like to flip a coin, but for me I find that a simple toss from two opponents does the trick in which the higher scoring point gets to choose to go first or second.
After a round is played the points are totaled (after all 6 bolas have been tossed would count as a round). Once totaled the bolas are then thrown back the other direction to repeat the process until someone gets exactly 21.
If the points go over 21, then all the points that were scored in that round are forfeited and the total score for that team stays the same as it was the previous round.
As with any game, ties do happen! To break the tie you must win by two points. So the overtime rounds continue until a team gets 22 without going over in which they are the champion of that particular game.
That is all there is to ladder ball, it is an excellent game to be played in the backyard while smoking or grilling or even tailgating at an event of some sort.
3. Beer Pong (How to Play and the Rules That Go Along with It)
With college kids these days, everyone in that age group pretty much knows what beer pong is! It is an excellent game that doesn’t shy away from getting a good buzz going at any summer BBQ.
Beer pong is also known as Beirut which is a drinking game that is played by players throwing ping pong balls across a table all while trying to get the ball to land in a cup of beer at the other end.
To me, this was always somewhat gross as everyone was always sharing germs. I resolved this by filling the cups with water and if a ball is made then you must sip “x” amount of sips out of your personal beer. This also stops the wet ball from landing on the floor and picking up who knows what just to be drank on the next shot.
The game is usually played either 1 vs 1 or 2 v 2 and with opponent’s on opposite sides of the table. The cups are setup in a pyramid like formation on opposite sides of the tables. The Pyramid usually consists of 6 cups with 3 cups in the back, two in the middle and on out front.
If the ball lands in the opponents cup, they must drink the cup (or if using water like suggested, remove the cup of water and take the penalty by swigging the agreed upon sips). The first team to eliminate the opponents cups is the winner.
If both players on the shooting side make it in the cup in the same round then two cups are removed and the ball is then returned for another “free” round before possession changes. With so many versions and rules of the game it is best to decide on all the rules prior to starting.
For instance, cups can be racked differently. Not only can they be racked differently but usually you get one or two requests for a re-rack at any point in the game. The re-rack allows the team shooting team to select how they want the cups to be positioned.
Another thing that can happen in beer pong is that when the first shooter throws the ball the second shooter might bounce the ball at the same time. This is done because bouncing the ball has a better chance of the ball going in the cups. However, there is usually a swatting rule which states that once the ball touches the table then it can be swatted.
Another beer pong rule that should be decided upon prior to starting is fingering or blowing. According to bpong.com, fingering is when the ball is spinning inside of a cup and the defending team pulls it out with his or her fingers.
Blowing is when the ball is spinning inside the cup and it is blown out by the defending team. Quite a few games are also played without this rule.
With multiple people the winner of the previous game usually stays at the table to play the next two people that are ready to be challengers.
4. Golf Beer Pong – Chipping (How to Play and the Rules That Go Along with It)
There is a couple version of golf beer pong. This one is based on your chipping game which is another super fun game to play in the backyard. This is especially true if you are a golfer at any skill level.
How to Setup Chipping Beer Pong Golf?
While there are many house rules that can be applied in a backyard chipping beer pong golf game I like to try to play a little bit to the skill level of the players. With that being said I enjoy setting the boards at the following distances from each other.
Novice – Set the boards so that they are 6 feet apart from one another (2 paces given that each pace is about 3 feet apart).
Beginner – Set the boards so that they are 9 feet apart from one another (3 paces given that each pace is about 3 feet apart).
Intermediate – Set the boards so that they are 10-11 feet apart from one another.
Advanced – Set the boards so that they are 12 feet apart from one another (4 paces given that each pace is about 3 feet apart).
Expert – Get crazy and set the boards so they are 13+ feet apart from one another.
The Rules and How to Play Chipping Beer Pong Golf?
The rules are basically the same as regular beer pong. These rules include the following for Chipping Beer Pong Golf;
Bounces are allowed. Once the ball bounces the other team is free to try and swat the ball away from the cups.
If two shots are made in a row then the balls come back to the throwing team and the other teams drinks there cups as a penalty.
After four cups are made, there is one re-rack that can be requested at anytime the throwing team has possession of the balls.
The first team who makes all the cups is the winner while the losing team must finish drinking the remaining amounts in each cup.
If you aren’t having luck making shots this game is also fun to play on a timed basis, say 15-20 minutes. Once the time is up, the team with the fewest cups remaining is the losing team and must drink the remaining cups.
If the game is tied, always play by house rules. For me, we usually proceed with one more round until a winner has won. This may require you to put one more cup on the board on each side of the chipping beer pong golf.
Another house rule that can be fun to play while playing chipping beer pong golf is you can penalize a team for missing 4 consecutive cups. This is usually done by forcing the team to put another cup back on the board if 4 cups are missed in a row.
Another chipping beer pong golf house rule that can be decided upon prior to game play is removing an additional cup. Instead of missing 4 in a row, you can make 4 in a row in which the team that made the 4 in a row gets to pick one more cup to be removed and drank by the other team for free.
If one team makes it for the win, the other team should always have a chance to rebuttal.
As mentioned in the beer pong rules, instead of filling the cups with beer, fill them with water. Prior to playing denote that each cup is worth “X” amount of sips. This prevents you from drinking whatever nastiness the balls may have been in.
As always, house rules are always trump and should be stated prior to game play.
5. Golf Beer Pong – Putting (How to Play and the Rules That Go Along with It)
Golf Beer Pong Putting is another fantastic spin on beer pong that can be played in the backyard! In my opinion it is a little easier than the chipping game but packed with just as much fun.
I won’t go into all the details as it is played the same way as the chipping game in which you can review above. The only difference is that instead of hitting the balls into the cups this putting game just has holes.
If you make it in a hole it is then plugged and you drink the same penalty as if you were pulling a cup. Enjoy this awesome additional golf game!
6. Giant Yard Pong (How to Play and the Rules That Go Along with It)
Giant Yard Pong is another fun game for the backyard and is for all ages. I wont go into a lot of detail on this one as it is played the exact same way as beer pong.
However, if little ones are playing I would recommend just putting water in the bottom of the buckets, you can still take penalties for sips and keep having fun with the little ones.
If you’ve never played, this Giant Yard Pong is a ton of fun in the backyard with the whole family or with friends!
7. Giant Jenga (How to Play and the Rules That Go Along with It)
Giant Jenga is another awesome game to play on the back deck or yard with family or friends. This is a very easy game to make yourself. I’ve included a video on how to create your own but I personally didn’t get as crazy as this video with staining everything.
Although, if you plan on leaving the Jenga pieces outside in the backyard it is probably best to seal the wood from the weather! Here is a quick video on how to make the pieces for the Giant Jenga game.
How to Setup and Play Giant Jenga in the Backyard?
Giant Jenga another super easy to set a up and play game that is easy for all ages to play. Prior to setting it up you’ll want to establish a good flat surface area to play on.
I recommend setting your Jenga up on your back deck but a piece of OSB, skid or crate like posted in the video would suffice.
The Giant Jenga game is setup with three blocks sitting next to each other on the base of the tower. You follow with another three blocks on top but you turn them 90 degrees.
You keep building your tower upwards turning each layer 90 degrees until you are out of pieces. Be sure to straighten and square the pieces up.
Now that the tower is setup it is time to play Giant Jenga in the Backyard (or whereever you have found space to set it up). Giant Jenga can be played with 2-6 people although, in my opinion, fewer is more fun and challenging as you get to play more.
To play Giant Jenga, the first player will pull a block and set it on top (when setting it on top it must be perpendicular, 90 degrees, to the layer below). Once complete it is up to the next person to pull a block and set it on top.
Giant Jenga is played alternating turns until the tower falls. Whoever knocks the tower over gets Jenga, and loses!
8. Giant Yard Bowling (How to Play and the Rules That Go Along with It)
Bowling is a classic, who doesn’t love a game of bowling? This giant inflatable bowling set is played outside and loads of fun for the family. With the pieces being so large it makes it easier for the little kids to even participate in this game.
How to Set Up Giant Yard Bowling?
This outdoor giant yard bowling comes with six pins and one ball. Start out by simply inflating all of them with the pump that is included with the game.
To set up, start with three pins in the back row, two in the middle row and one in the front creating a typical pyramid shaped bowling pin setup. That is all there is to setting up the giant yard bowling game.
How to Play the Giant Yard Bowling Game?
Backyard bowling is usually played about fifteen yards from the pins or five paces (given each pace is about three feet). If you are younger and need a handicap move a little closer and if you are older and need more of a challenge step back to about twenty feet.
To play, there are a lot of house rules that can be made up for this game. For my family, we simply take two shots with each fallen pin counting as 1 point. If you get a strike on the first roll it counts as 10 points.
If your second shot is a spare (remaining pins have dropped) then it is counted as 8 points. Other than that all dropped pins count as one.
We usually keep it easy and play just one round as a game. However, you can easily make a game a series of three, six or even more professional like actual bowling ten.
This outdoor backyard bowling game is a lot of fun and comes with a lot of laughs for the whole family. If you don’t have it, I highly recommend adding it to your arsenal of backyard games!
If you are looking for an alternative do it yourself game check out polkadotchair and how they made their own game. You can even incorporate water guns with it.
9. Ring Toss (The Rules and How to Play)
Ring Toss, this brings me back to my college days of having parties in the backyard while grilling some fresh food outside. Ring toss is another easy game to play in which the whole family can participate.
Ring toss is typical to what you would see at a carnival where you would toss a ring over a bottle and if you wrapped the ring around it you wing. However, we would always play this game with the rules from horseshoes.
In playing ring toss like horseshoes we would keep track of points the same way. If you ring it, its three points, if you are leaning or touching the cone its two points and if you are within a rings distance from the cone then it is one point.
As always, you can make up your own house rules. When we play ring toss in the backyard we usually play to either 11 or 21 depending on how long we wanted the game to go. In ring toss, you can also make a rule that you can’t go over which makes it more challenging. So if you went over 21 then you would drop back down to 11 points.
This is another excellent game to play outside on a nice summer afternoon with the family.
10. Yard Yahtzee (The Rules and How to Play)
Yard Yahtzee is another excellent game that is obviously spun off the original classic. It is a great outdoor game for families of all ages. Yard Yahtzee will come with six dice that you get to roll with just like the original Yahtzee game.
A nice perk with this Yahtzee game is that there really isn’t much to setting it up either, you are just ready to play.
How to Play Yard Yahtzee in the Backyard?
How to determine who gets to go first? While you should always follow the house rules it is recommended to just have everyone roll all the dice once.
In doing this, add up your roll and move on to the next person. The person with the highest score gets to play Yahtzee first.
The goal in yard Yahtzee is to get the best possible score. In doing this, you will get to roll up to three times and each time you roll the dice you get to decide which combo you are going for (in which you set them aside while you roll the remaining dice). Your score is kept on a Yahtzee score card (or white board).
Yard Yahtzee Scoring
The dice are regular dice but in Yahtzee the one is known as an ace. Rather explaining all the details I’ll refer you to ultraboardgames as they have done a great job explaining how to keep track of scoring along with all the combos you can roll.
Now that you know how to play and can see all the fun that can be had right in your own backyard, don’t forget to yell YAHTZEE when you receive one!
11. Horseshoes (The Rules and How to Play)
Horseshoes is a great classic game that is awesome to play in the backyard whether you are grilling or not, as long as it is summer or warm enough to play it is a blast. Horseshoes is typically played with 2-4 people.
Horseshoes played in the backyard can be played to any agreed upon point limit but the typical goal is 21 points with the addition of you must win by 2.
Horseshoes is a super easy game to play, so easy that it only has three ways to score. Usually only one player of the two can score points per inning.
The Ringer – this is the highest amount of points that you can earn which is 3. A ringer is a toss in which the horseshoe actually lands with the stake in the middle of the shoe.
If there is a dispute, a straight edge, like a ruler, is used at the two tips of the horseshoe in which the stake must remain inside the horseshoe with the straight edge touching both points of the horseshoe.
The Leaner – this is the second highest scoring point possible which is worth 2 points. If the horse shoe is leaning against the stake then you have earned yourself 2 points.
The final way to score points in horseshoes is all about the distance. If your horse shoe is within the width of the horse shoe (about 6″) then you have scored one point.
If both horseshoes from the winning player are closer than the opponent then both shoes count on the board for points. This is given that both shoes are either ringers, leaners or within the one point distant.
If each player throws a ringer in the same inning then the points are voided for both.
For a few more pointers or more on the history of horse shoes check out Wikipedia as they have another great description of the game along with the history.
12. Kan Jam (How to Play and the Rules That Go Along with It)
Kan Jam is another super fun game to play while grilling out in the backyard. Kan Jam is a fairly popular game in which you throw discs into and at the Kans.
Both you and a partner will stand on opposite sides of the Kans which are usually about 50 feet apart. You will both alternate throwing and deflecting the disc in which you are trying to get the disc to do one of three things which is also how the score is kept.
1 Point – 1 point is scored when a teammate deflects the disc and it hits the Kan which is also known as a Dinger.
2 Points – 2 points are scored when the disc is thrown and it hits the Kan which is also unassisted by a teammate which is also known as a Deuce.
3 Points – 3 points are scored when the teammate deflects the throw into the Kan which is also known as a bucket.
Kam Jam’s scoring system is pretty simple, it takes 21 points to win. With that being said, your team must get exactly 21 points to win. If you go above 21 then the points from that throw are deducted from the teams score.
For example, if you have 19 points and you score a bucket for 3 points you are over 21. This means you subtract 3 points instead which leaves you with a score of 16.
In the rare event that there is a tie Kam Jam is played out one more time. If the first team gets two points on the first throw and the second team gets a three point bucket then the second team wins.
If the second teams scores less than two points then the first team wins. If the second team also gets two points then a second overtime round is played. The over time rounds are played until there is a definite winner.
13. Lawn Darts (How to Setup and Play)
Lawn darts is another super fun game to play outdoors on a nice summer afternoon. Lawn darts is also fun for a family of all ages. While it always depends on the house rules, lawn darts are usually played to 21 in which you cannot go over. That rule helps make the game more fun and challenging!
How to Setup and Play Lawn Darts?
The hoops of the lawn darts are set up about 35 feet from one another which is approximately 11 paces (given each pace is about 3 feet). If you are playing with a novice or a younger child don’t hesitate to move them closer together to allow fun for all ages.
Now that the lawn darts are setup you can simply start playing. Start out by alternating throws by team. The goal in lawn darts is to score as many points as possible.
How Does the Scoring in Lawn Darts Work?
If both teams land one dart inside the hoop they are cancelled and result in zero points.
If no darts are inside the hoop then 1 point is awarded to the team with the dart located closest to the hoop.
If one team has both of there darts closer to the hoop then the other team then this will result in 2 points being awarded to that team.
If one team gets one in the hoop and also the second dart closest to the whoop then that team should be rewarded 4 points.
If a team gets two darts inside the hoop and the other lands one in it then one of them are voided and the team with two darts in the hoop is rewarded with three points.
Finally, if one team gets two darts in the hoop and the other doesn’t get any in the hoop then they are awarded six points.
14. Bottle Bash (How to Setup and Play)
Bottle bash is another great outdoor game that can be played anywhere from the backyard to the beach! The game is typically played with two teams of two (four players total) in which the bottle posts are setup anywhere from twenty to forty feet, depending on the age and experience of the players.
Bottle bash is a super easy game that will allow the whole family to play. The goal is to simply toss the Frisbee at the pole to try to knock the bottle off the top. Once split into two teams players must stay behind the poles at all times.
How to Setup and Play Bottle Bash?
As mentioned above, the bottle posts are set up anywhere from twenty to forty feet. If you are playing with little ones I recommend even playing at around fifteen feet. However, if you are older I would recommend playing this game with the bottle posts at forty feet apart.
The first team will throw the Frisbee and try to knock the bottle off the pole. The defending team, which again must stay behind the pole, will try to either catch the bottle before it hits the ground if it falls or the Frisbee.
We will get to scoring in a minute, the defending team will then, in return, throw the Frisbee back trying to accomplish the same thing.
How Does the Scoring in Bottle Bash Work?
If your at a party I recommend playing with the same scoring system but have each point count as a sip. This will definitely help ramp up your afternoon!
The defending team is strictly on defense when they aren’t throwing the Frisbee, so they cannot score. The only time you can score is if you are on offense / throwing the Frisbee. The maximum amount of points that can be achieved per round is three. The points work as follows;
1 Point – Frisbee hits the ground anywhere behind the pole.
2 Points – The bottle hits the ground anywhere (in front, side or behind the pole).
3 Points – Both the bottle and the Frisbee hit the ground.
Like cornhole and many other games Bottle Bash can be played to either 11 or 21 depending on how fast you want a game to go. To win, you must also win by two points.
One other cool concept that Bottle Bash has to offer is penalties. The bottle is always active in which even if you are on offense and you bump your own bottle and it falls, it counts. You are penalized 2 points if this happens.
Another way you can get a penalty is if you catch the Frisbee in front of the pole. If this is done, you are also penalized 2 points.
Whether you have chosen to play Bottle Bash as a drinking game or are just playing outside with the family, you are sure to have a blast with Bottle Bash!
15. Washer Toss (How to Setup and Play)
Washer toss is yet another fun game that can be played outside in the backyard or at any kind of tailgating event or campsite.
Washer toss is super easy to play and can be fun for the whole family, of all ages. Washer toss is usually played with teams of one or two players (1v1 or 2v2).
How to Setup and Play Washer Toss ?
To set up Washer Toss, start by placing the boards about twenty feet from each other on flat ground. And that is it, washer toss is setup!
To decide who goes first you must first “diddle”. Diddle is when each player tosses a washer at the same target. As one might guess, the washer that is closes to the cup goes first. If there is a tie, simply throw again until there is a clear winner on who should go first.
To play washer toss, teams are split on each side of the washer toss (you should be throwing with your opponent). It is up to house rules as some like to throw all washers at once then followed by the other team. For me, I prefer to alternate throws as it keeps the action flowing better.
How the Scoring Works in Washer Toss?
Similar to many other games like cornhole, washer toss can be played to either 11 or 21. You can also play with washers cancelling points out or all points just count to make the game speed faster. Washer toss’s scoring works as follows;
1 Point – Washer in the box or on the board
3 Points – Washer in the hole or cup
If you go over 11 or 21 (depending on which you are playing to), then the points you collected that round are subtracted instead of added.
That is all there is to this fun family game that is most likely played in the backyard, tailgates or while camping.
16. Bocce Ball (How to Setup and Play)
Bocce ball is another classic game and if you’ve never played it then you really should get up to speed with this game. Bocce ball was one of my favorite games I used to play on the beach with my grandpa, so it has a little bit of a sweet spot.
It is also a fun game that can be played pretty much anywhere as long as you are outside, but the backyard is even a great spot. Although, the longer the grass the more difficult the game becomes!
Depending on the set, Bocce ball can be played with 2-4 players. I say depending on the set as some only come in two colors, so I highly recommend getting the game that has 4 colors. If you are playing 2v2 you can simply pick two colors to be your balls in which you will still have four throws.
With 4 different sets of Bocce balls you can play 2v2, 4v4, 2v2v2 or even 2v2v2v2! Couple up however you best see fit!
How to Setup and Play Bocce Ball?
To set up, first figure out who’s team is on who’s and select colored balls to pair up accordingly. There should also be one small ball in your kit too, this is technically called a pallina.
In Bocce ball, there are some tough decisions on who is closest so a tape measure can in fact come in handy as well.
If you are looking for the official playing field I believe it is 76 feet long x 10 feet wide. However, I’ve always had a blast playing without a specified field or court. If you chuck the pallina out there, its game on from any location its thrown and that’s whether its grass or sand!
While you can start the game with a coin toss, that is boring. Throw the pallina out and each team throw one ball. The closest to the pallina is the winning team and that team gets to throw the pallina out and choose between going first or second.
From here Bocce ball is simple to play. The winning team will throw the pallina out and everyone will toss the Bocce balls from where the pallina was thrown. The winning team will always throw the Bocce ball first, with the exception of the first toss which is the deciding factor on who goes first.
To play, not that the pallina is out there simply toss one ball at a time alternating between and through teams until all balls have been thrown. A good strategy is to get the first Bocce Ball as close as you can to the pallina and have it stop right in front of it.
This Bocce Ball will assist you in an easy game of defense from other throwers or rollers. With that being said, the other team can in fact knock your ball out of the way.
At the end of each round the game is then scored. The ball that is closest to the pallina will score. If your Bocce ball is closest to the pallina then you have earned one point and if you have two balls closest to the pallina then you have earned two points (up to four points if you are playing with four Bocce balls on a team).
If the bocce ball is touching the pallina then it is worth two points. If you don’t have a tape measure out and two are close enough to be called the same distance apart then they are cancelled and don’t count.
Bocce balls are also played with house rules. We always play to either 11 or 21 as those are just common game winning points. If there is a tie, another round is played until a winner has won.
Enjoy this excellent outdoor game! Just don’t forget to get a multi color pack like this to maximize your fun!
17. Giant Yard Checkers
Checkers is a fun game for most ages. It is a little too complicated for the little once although I’m sure they would enjoy moving pieces on your behalf, whether it is where you want to move them to or not!
For a great break down of how to play checkers this site here will go into more rules and game play should you either need a refresher or be a newbie to the great game of giant yard checkers.
Similar to Checkers, Chess is another great classic game and large enough that you can play in the backyard on the lawn! While you can purchase this here, you can also follow the directions on how to make your own here!
Chess is a fun game for most ages 12 and up. For a great break down of how to play chess, what pieces can move which direction and other information, this site here will go into more rules and game play should you either need a refresher or be a newbie to the great game of yard chess.
Croquet is another one of those games that I can recall playing the backyard growing up. It is easy to setup and the rules / game play are just as easy. The goal is to go through all of the “wickets” or hoops and reach the turning steak at the end.
Once hit, you further hit it all the way back to the finish stake which is where you started, all while going through the hoops on the opposite side to get there.
Croquet is a great game for both kids and adults to play. If you want to get really fancy, the court is marked with string in which the string is a boundary that you can’t pass. To play to the book, the court is also measured out to 100′ long by 50′ wide. The turning and finish stakes are placed centered of the 50′ and 6″ and 12″ from the ends.
While I can try to explain the lay out all day it is really best to how Croquet is setup. To get a better visual layout on how to setup and play croquet check out llbean’s site here.
20. Kickball (Object of the Game, Scoring and How to Play)
Kickball is an awesome family fun game. While you’ll need a bigger backyard, kickball will surely keep your party moving along with fun. This is especially true if you like baseball as it is played similar to it.
Kickball is a great game that is usually played with 10-30 people which consists of two teams 5 vs 5 all the way up to 15 vs 15.
Objective, How to Play Kickball And The Scoring
Just like baseball, Kickball ball is played with one team batting while the other team is in the field. Kickball is also played with innings in which the goal of the game is to score runs by crossing the home plate.
Obviously, just like baseball, Kickball also has a first, second and third base that must be touched prior to scoring a run at the home plate.
There are a few differences between kickball and baseball and one is that Kickball is played with a rubber inflated ball, kickball, and there are also no gloves. The fielding team can get a runner out with one of two ways.
The first way to get someone out in kickball is if the fielding team touches the base prior to the runner with the ball in hand. The second way to get a runner out is by throwing the kickball and hitting the running. Outside of kicking the ball, the runners can in no way touch the ball again or they are to be considered out.
Just like in baseball, three strikes make an out and three outs means that turn for that team is over in which the fielders and runners switch roles. Once the new runners are out this is then considered an inning.
An inning is when both teams have had a chance to bat and run and have both ended there turn by receiving three outs. In kickball, the foul and fair balls are also in play but in playing in the backyard this rule is usually omitted.
Kickball is an extremely fun game for all. There are also several fun variations of kickball that can be played. To view 7 different variations of kickball check these seven games out here. Either way, enjoy this amazing game of kickball with all your friends and family.
21. Trac Ball
Another great childhood memory is Trac Ball. It really isn’t as much of a game as it is just a fun way to play catch.
The light weight Trac Ball allows you to “flick” it when throwing to the other person and this allows you to throw an easy curve ball. This amplifies the game of catch rather than just throwing a baseball back and forth.
With that being said, if you have enough people to play Trac Ball you could easily play it like lacrosse. It an excellent way to get competitive with Trac Ball.
For more information on how to play lacrosse check out there rules here, simply just use your Trac Ball rackets instead!
22. Lawn Twister (How to Set up and Play the Game)
Twister is another one of that classic games from Milton Bradley that just doesn’t leave the shelf at the stores. Its a super fun and comical game that can be played both outside and in.
The goal in the game of twister is to be the last player left in the game. If you can achieve this, then you will be crowned the winner of Twister!
How to Set up the Game of Twister?
The first thing you’ll want to do in setting up the game of Twister is fine a good flat surface. It is recommended to find something a little softer, like grass or carpet. You will then simply lay the playing mat out flat with the colored circles (face of mat) facing upward.
Twister is played without shoes of any kind. To make the game more challenging it is also recommended that all players play with socks on as this will make it a little more slippery and tricky to play.
Twister is usually played with two the three people at a time in which you will have one more person as the referee or spinner.
If you are playing with two people you will both stand on opposite sides of the mat (which is by the word Twister). Each player will place a foot on the yellow and the blue circle that is closest to the end of the mat.
If you are playing with three people follow the setup for two people. To add a third person, the third person will face the center of the mat from the red circle side.
Once on the red circled side of the mat, in the center, the third person will put both feet on two of the red circles (centered).
How to Play the Game of Twister?
As mentioned above, the way to win Twister is by being the last person left in the game. Elimination is easy. If any person touches the mat with a knee, elbow or falls then they are out of that particular game of twister.
Also, if you find yourself in a position in which you may not complete the next move or you will fall you can also eliminate yourself, but its best to try as this is what makes the game of Twister comical!
Now that we know how to win and be eliminated it is time to go into the game play of Twister. Once everyone is on the mat in the proper starting positions the referee is ready to direct the moves.
The referee will spin the spinner. Once the needle stops the referee will tell you which body part needs to go to which color.
For instance, if the needle stops on left foot red then all players will need to put their left foot on red. If you already have your left foot on red (or the called out color) then you must move your left foot to another vacant red, you cannot remain on the same red circle.
With that being said, all players must also utilize a vacant circle. No circle can be shared in the game of Twister.
The only time you can lift either your hand or foot is to allow another player to reach to another vacant spot in which you must pre-warn the referee prior to doing so (this prevents a slip from not being called out as a slip for elimination).
Other than this, if you remove either your hand or foot then you are disqualified from the game.
Looking for other ways to make the game of Twister more challenging? On a hot summer day, set up a sprinkler to randomly hit the mat.
Not only will the players stay cool but the laughter will in crease as the game progresses because players are more apt to fall and be out!
23. Spike-ball (Also Known as Roundnet)
Spike ball is another great game to play outside. The game is played with the idea of volleyball. It was created in the late eighties and is usually played with four players.
Spike ball can however also be played with two and six players in which it is played a little bit differently.
As you can see from the image, spike ball is played using a small trampoline made up of string netting and a small bouncing ball. To play spike ball, players start out by lining up directly across from one another forming an equal space between all players.
Spike ball is started out by one team serving the ball into the net. As soon as the ball hits the net the possession of the ball changes and its up to the other team to then hit the ball back into the net.
Spike ball continues to alternate possession between the two teams until one of the teams fail to hit the ball into the net. After the ball is served all players can also scramble around the net as needed to hit the return shot.
Spike ball is a very fun, but yet challenging game that will be sure to keep you and your guests happy for hours.
Badminton is a great game to play for the whole family. To play badminton, you’ll need a net, racquets and whats called a shuttlecock which serves as a tennis ball or volleyball type purpose.
However, the shuttlecock typically has feathers or some kind of plastic on the back of it. The shuttlecock is designed this way so that there is a drag created behind it. This drag makes the shuttlecock a key difference between other racket sports like tennis or volleyball.
To learn some of the rules and see some game play on how to play badminton check out the video below.
25. Battle-chip (Golf Cornhole)
Battle chip golf is very similar to Cornhole but brings your golf swing into the game. Battle chip golf is a great outdoor game that is fun for all to play.
While the game play of Battle Chip is just like Cornhole, the scoring is different. In Battle Chip, you have to be careful because you can actually score negative points!
If you hit the golf ball into the green hole, the top hole, then you have earned yourself three points. The blue whole is known as water and the orange/red hole is known as sand. If the golf ball goes in either of these the shooter has just lost a point.
If you fine Battle Chip being a little too difficult I recommend switching up the point system. You can make the green hole worth three points, the blue hole worth two points and the orange/red hole worth one. This will allow points to be accumulated a little more easily.
Either way, Battle Chip golf is another excellent game to add to your arsenal for when you have friends over to play games in the backyard!
26. Sack Races (And a Variation of Ways to Play)
Sack races, your kids will absolutely love sack races. There are multiple ways to have a sack race so it definitely wont get boring at your next family reunion or barbecue!
To play, all you will need is some sacks to race and of course, the more people participating then the more fun that will be had!
The Individual Sack Race (And How to Play)
The individual sack race was my favorite of them all. This is due to not needing to rely on anyone else’s ability but it usually isn’t as funny to watch as other sack races because of this.
The rules are simple. Identify your starting and finishing lines. For each player, place a sack at the finish line. On the count of three, or how ever you want to signal go, everyone runs to the finish line and grabs there sack.
Both feet are then put in each persons own sack and it is pulled all the way up. The player will then hope all the way back to the finish line in which whoever crosses first wins.
The sack must remain above the players knees and the player must also have at least one hand on the sack at all times.
The Three Legged Sack Race (And How to Play)
The three legged sack race is by far my favorite race to watch. Every player pairs up with another to create a two person team for this race.
The rules for the three legged sack race are also easy. This can be played in two ways. The first way you setup up the course like the individual sack race with the sacks at the finish line in which everyone will run to there sacks to put them on and run back.
The other way the three legged sack race is played is by starting out with the sack on. To do this, each team of two will put one leg in the sack leaving the other one outside of it. At the same time, they will both attempt to run to the finish line in which the first one to cross it wings.
This is a more tricky race as it takes some coordinating between the two players to be efficient!
Relay Sack Race (And How to Play)
Ramp up either the individual sack race or the three legged sack race by making them a relay sack race! This will for surely add excitement to any sack race.
To do the relay race simply create a turning point to return to the start line or a check point for a second runner or pair of runners to transition (second runner if you are doing an individual sack race and a pair of two people if you are doing a three legged sack race).
To play the relay sack race, simply start out as you would in either the three legged or individual sack race. Race to the check point and tag you team in which that teams race is over and the tagged team continues to either the next team to be tagged or the finish line.
The set of teams to cross the finish line wins the whole relay race.
How to Ramp up a Sack Race?
There are a lot of other fun ways to make sack racing more fun too. You can try to add obstacle which make the runners have to either duck, go sideways, jump over…If it is a hot day, you can even use a sprinkler or two to add more excitement.
Either way, sack racing is a super easy but yet fun game to play at any outdoor event.
27. Ker Plunk
Ker plunk is a classic for many, including myself, and to be able to build one and play in the your backyard is a whole lot of fun! It is just a great family game for adults and kids of all ages.
What Materials Are Needed to Build Ker Plunk for Your Backyard?
- Some kind of base, in HGTV’s video they use a couple metal side tables and inversely set them on top of each other.
- Wire fencing.
- Solid Wire
- Wooden Dowels
- Spray Paint to Spice the Dowels Up
- Plastic Play Balls
- Wire Cutters
- Gloves (fencing can be sharp when building).
- Tape Measure
How to Build Your Own Ker Plunk for the Backyard?
Building your own Ker Plunk for your backyard is pretty easy. I’ve listed HGTV’s ingredients for building your own Ker Plunk above and this video does an awesome job on showing you how to build it.
If you prefer more step by step directions in building your own Ker Plunk HGTV does a pretty good job laying that out too. Those directions can be found here.
Now That You Have Build a Backyard Ker Plunk Game, How Do You Play?
Setting up and the rules for playing Ker Plunk in your own backyard are quite easy. Like most games, Ker Plunk is designed to be played with 2 to 4 people. To play Ker Plunk, start out by alternating inserting all the sticks.
In doing this, make sure they are going in all kinds of directions so when you put the play set balls in they won’t just fall to the bottom.
Once all the sticks are inserted it is time to add the play set balls. When adding the balls to the Ker Plunk tower they should all stay on the sticks with none falling through. This really shouldn’t be an issue, but if it is simply add a couple more sticks where they are falling through.
Now that the balls are loaded in the Ker Plunk you are ready to play. The objective is when all the balls have dropped end up with the fewest of them. Alternating people and teams you pull out one stick and the goal is to drop the fewest balls possible, preferably to have zero fall.
One tricky note that needs to be called out in Ker Plunk is that one you touch a stick, you MUST pull that stick, so choose wisely. If any balls fall while you pull your stick then you own them.
While keeping your Ker Plunk balls separate, keep rotating turns until all of the balls have fallen. Who ever has the fewest balls at the end wins!
Hula Hoop Croquet (How to Make and Play Hula Hoop Croquet)
Hula Hoop Croquet is a great backyard game. It even allows you and the kids to bond while building it! Thecraftingchicks have a wonderful site on how to build your own set which can be viewed here!
This hula hoop croquet is essentially a great do it yourself project game that is just like regular croquet. The only exception is that it is played with balls you can kick and the hoops are bigger which makes hula hoop croquet a great backyard game to play for all ages.
29. Paper Airplanes
In growing up, who didn’t enjoy making paper airplanes? This is an excellent do it yourself project and game that can be played outside right in your own backyard and it is super easy to do with the kids!
Start out by giving each kid the same amount of supplies. To really challenge them throw some paper clips, stick glue and tape in the mix so they can play with weighing the plane down for a further flight.
Simply start the timer at 10-30 minutes and let each kid design and build their own plane for a challenge throw at the end. Once the timer is up the paper airplanes can no longer be tweaked or built.
Each plane is then thrown from the same spot three times all while alternating throws. Each throw is marked on the grass only if the plane has beaten the previous throw. The winner is the plane that flew the farthest!
There are many paper airplane games that are fun for kids of all ages to play. Looking for a couple more ideas? Check out kidactivities which can be located here for another 7 fun paper airplane game ideas!
30. Angry Birds Game
If you has little ones like me, they love Angry Birds! This is a great backyard do it yourself game. To play, all you really need is a slingshot a ball and some boxes.
To play you simply set the boxes up and then play the fun filled outdoor game of Angry Birds.
Here is a great video on how to play a fun do it yourself Angry Birds game:
31. Water Balloon Baseball (And Hot to Play)
On a hot summer day while waiting for the food to cook on the Big Green Egg smoker this water balloon baseball game is another great game filled with laughter all while being able to cool off.
In order to play water balloon baseball you will obviously need either a bat or whiffle ball bat (the whiffle ball bat is preferred for the younger kids). You will also need lots of water balloons!
How to Play Water Balloon Baseball?
Water balloon baseball is best played with two or more players which would allow for a 1v1 up to as many as you’d like playing against one another. To play, every player is pitched, underhanded, three water balloons all while rotating pitchers.
If the batter swings and breaks the balloon it counts as one point for the batter or team depending on how many are playing. If the batter swings and either misses the balloon or hits the balloon and it doesn’t break then no points are scored.
Balloon baseball is then scored to eleven points. If you hit eleven points and you were at bat first the next team gets a chance to match. If the team or player ends up matching the score then another inning of water balloon baseball is played.
The game is played until an inning is finished (both teams have batted) and on wins by a point.
32. Dunk Bucket
The game of dunk tank is simple. One person sits in a chair under while another stands back and tosses the bean bags at the Dunk Bucket’s target. If the target is hit, then the throwing team wins. When the Dunk Bucket target is hit the losing team’s player in the chair gets soaked as the bucket overhead dumps water on them.
Dunk bucket is a great family game that can be played outside in the backyard with lots of laughter.
33. Frozen T-shirt Race (And How to Play)
Is it the middle of Augusta and you are looking for something to do to stay cool? Simply play this laughable frozen t-shirt racing game! It is great for kids of all ages.
To play the frozen t-shirt racing game simply start out with a shirt for each person playing. Get them all submerged in water so they are good and wet. Hand ring them out and fold them up like you were putting laundry away.
Now you can’t play frozen t-shirt race without frozen t-shirts! Place them in the freezer to freeze but be sure to put wax paper between them. The wax paper will stop them from freezing together.
To play the frozen t-shirt race simply pass them out to the kids. The kids are then to race by trying to get the shirt on in which it must be fully on with both arms and head in like you would normally wear a shirt. The first person to fully get the frozen shirt on wins the frozen t-shirt race!
After doing some googling on how other people also play this game I came across several other cool games for kids which can be found here.
Either way, the frozen t-shirt race game is a great game for the whole family and it is surely going to come with some laughs all while keeping you cool in the hot months of summer!
34. Bean Bag Ladder Toss
If you are in a hurry, have a ladder and some bean bags you are all set for a quick homemade game of bean bag ladder toss! For more details check out the bean bag ladder toss here. Bean bag ladder toss is super easy to setup and play.
Simply set up the ladder and you are basically done! You can make up house rules, but for a good starting point the top step is worth 50 points. Then the points drop by 10 all the way down the ladder until you get to the bottom. The bottom is a more difficult shot with the ground so this one is worth 30 points.
To play bean bag ladder toss, simply play like a regular game of bags. Alternate tossing and see who can score the most points! Is bean bag ladder toss too easy? If so, then keep stepping back until you are challenged!
35. Water Balloon Dodge ball
Who doesn’t love a good game of dodge ball, let along a wet one? Creativekkids website has 5 fun water balloon games that are worth checking out, especially if its a hot day and the backyard is filled with friends or family!!
Water balloon dodge ball can be played a few ways. Youthworkinit has a great game for adults to play with the kids. As they describe, the goal is for the kids to run from one side to the other side while water balloons are being thrown at them.
If they make it to the other side without getting hit then they win. If they get hit with a balloon then they are out.
This game of water balloons wears the kids down and lets the adults have fun too!
I also love the original game of dodge ball. To play this way, simply get some buckets and fill them with balloons. Teams start on opposite sides of equal distances to the buckets. Once a whistle is blown or someone says go both teams rush to get the buckets filled with water balloons.
If you are hit, you are out. If you are lucky, you can catch a balloon and have it not explode in which the person who through the balloon is out.
This game is played until all the balloons are gone or the opposing team is all out. If it is played until all the balloons are gone then the team with the most people remaining wins. If there is a tie, then a rematch is in order.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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