If you’re a parent, you know how hard it is to squeeze in quality time with your kids. The average American parent only gets 37 minutes of free time daily with their children during the week.
Luckily, this increases to two hours and 40 minutes on the weekends. What’s one way you can make the most of this time, particularly as the weather gets warmer? You can play a yard game.
Yard games have been a favorite family activity for several decades now, ever since the suburban sprawl started after WWII. They’re affordable, fun, and allow for quality family time together right in the comfort of your backyard.
Here are eight yard games we’ve pulled together that you and your kids will love playing this summer.
Even though badminton gets its name from a country estate in Gloucestershire, England, the game has actually been played in some form for 2,000 years. Badminton is a family-friendly game because it doesn’t involve any heavy balls or pieces that could accidentally smack a child in the face. Instead, tennis-like rackets are used to swat a lightweight shuttlecock back and forth over a net.
A badminton net makes a great backyard addition for the perfect yard. Your kids may love it so much it may encourage them to try their hand at tennis.
Cornhole has been growing in popularity in recent years, even though it’s a variation on the tried-and-true bean bag game you probably grew up with. Cornhole involves tossing a small corn-filled bag into a hole in an elevated platform.
The simple game helps build eye-hand coordination and dexterity and is great for all ages. Cornhole can be addictive and competitive: there’s even an American Cornhole Association that organizes tournaments.
3. Lawn Bowling
If you’d like to go bowling but feel guilty about spending time indoors on a beautiful day, then invest in a lawn bowling set to enjoy the sport in some fresh air. There are traditional wooden outdoor bowling sets available as well as ones with inflatable pieces that can’t hurt young kids.
Some of them also come with wooden alleys, to really give you an ultimate bowling experience. Put some music on, set out some snacks, and have fun seeing who in your family is the bowling champ!
The word croquet is a fancier term for an Irish game called “crooky” that was introduced to England in the 19th century. After WWII, toy companies began producing a backyard version with simplified rules for kids to enjoy.
In croquet, players use mallets to hit plastic or wooden balls so they pass through hoops to a peg at the finish area. There are many different types of croquet sets available. Do your research to find the best croquet mallet and sets appropriate for your family.
5. Mini Golf
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of waiting in line to play mini golf, invest in your own set to transform your yard into a simple course. It will also provide you with good putting practice when you can’t hit the links yourself.
You can build your own backyard mini golf course by making a raised putting platform with obstacles, or buying a set. Some of these sets offer interchangeable pieces to make the game more challenging. On rainy days, you can bring the fun indoors.
6. Giant Version of a Favorite Game
Toy manufacturers are making giant versions of some of your favorite tabletop games, including Jenga, Connect Four, and Yatzee. These can all be made yourself if you have basic woodworking skills. Jenga in particular makes a great weekend DIY project made with scrap plywood and lightweight pine blocks.
Imagine how much fun you and your family will have playing these supersize versions of popular games on the deck or yard.
7. Bocce Ball
Italy’s version of ancient lawn bowling requires only a small strip of an even surface to play. The object is easy: pitch a ball so it comes the closest as possible to the pallina, or small target ball, while hopefully knocking an opponent’s ball out of the way.
Bocce can be played between two people or two teams. Bocce sets come made of leather, plastic, and other materials so choose one that’s suitable for your kids’ ages and abilities.
8. Frisbee and Disc Frisbee
Ever since the frisbee was introduced to the American masses in 1964, the plastic disk has provided hours of fun for kids and adults alike. If you have the space in your yard, why not burn some calories with a game? You can even get the family dog involved in this one.
Disc or frisbee golf is like playing golf but with frisbees and baskets instead of balls and holes. The goal is to pitch the frisbee so that it lands in the basket. A disc golf course contains 18 baskets, and each basket has a par assigned to it just like a traditional golf course.
Your yard may not be big enough to hold 18 baskets, but you can still have fun with the single one that most manufacturers sell.
Get Ready For Summer Fun With These Yard Games
As you can see, there’s no shortage of ideas when it comes to playing fun yard games with your family this summer. In addition to these eight choices, you can also have fun coming up with your own game ideas to enjoy with your kids through the warm months.
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