Best Outdoor Games

Bringing everyone together over a shared love of hot dogs and hamburgers on your patio is a great way to spend a hot Saturday evening this summer, but what will everyone do after the last piece of blueberry pie is served? Investing in some fun and engaging lawn games is a really great way to bring everyone together and make all of your summer get-togethers memorable for years to come. These various types of outdoor activities have come a long way in recent years, as they have slowly and steadily picked up popularity.

Afraid you can’t play anything because your yard isn’t all the spacious? No need to worry because a lot of these options can be played in a relatively small space.  We did our research to find the best outdoor games out there and compiled a list of some of the best family-friendly options to bring a lot of fun and enjoyment out of your next summer BBQ.

GIANT TUMBLING TIMBERS
  • GIANT TUMBLING TIMBERS
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Good for groups
  • Price: See Here
HEY! PLAY! LAWN BOWLING
  • HEY! PLAY! LAWN BOWLING
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comes with a nylon carrying case
  • Price: See Here
RAMPSHOT SET
  • RAMPSHOT SET
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Easy to set up
  • Price: See Here

There are so many fun options available, and the best part is that most of them can be played by the entire family. Options range from the traditional setups like bocce ball and cornhole and also include giant versions of your favorite indoor games designed to be played right on your lawn. 

Best 10 Outdoor Games

 

 

Giant Tumbling Timbers

This is a remake of a classic indoor version that is incredibly popular with both kids and adults, and the supersized version makes it so that you can play it right in your backyard. It’s going to cost you a little bit more than some of the other options, but it’s guaranteed to make your next get together at your house a hit.
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How to play

Just like in classic Jenga, you set up the wooden blocks in a tower by placing three planks down at a time and reversing the way that they are facing when you work upwards. This version works great because you can play with just two or you can get the entire family in on it. Each player walks up to the tower, removes one block and places it on the top. The first person to be unable to place a block without the entire tower tumbling down is considered to be the loser.

Set Up

If you have ever played Jenga indoors, you know that setting up the tower is the least fun part (but it’s worth it in the end). The blocks are a little heavy, so you might want to employ one of your guests to help with setup. The tower starts out at just over 2 feet tall and can grow to be up to 5 feet before tumbling down.

Value

The cost of this unit might set you back just a little bit more than some of the other options, but it is nowhere near as expensive as a cornhole set. If you were in the market for something that is made from solid materials that might become your families new favorite post-BBQ activity- this set is likely to last you many, many years.

Summary

This model is something that is really beginning to pick up steam and might be more of the popular picnic activities this summer. It has a simple design that is easy to learn and to play for the younger guests. It’s also great for the other members of your family that might not be able to move around so great because you can play it by simply standing in one place.
Pros
  • Good for groups
  • No age limitations
  • Simple to learn
Cons
  • A tad expensive
  • Takes a while to set up
  • Cannot become wet or wood will swell

Hey! Play! Lawn Bowling

There won’t be any long, drawn out explanation of rules with this one- because everyone probably already knows how to bowl. This is a perfect choice for young kids all the way up to some of your older guests because it’s easy to learn, and requires limited movement.
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How to Play

Bowling is a really easy game to learn and is able to accommodate quite a few players. Once the pins are set up- and they don’t necessarily have to be set up on a hard surface, a player will throw the ball towards the pins in hopes of knocking all of them down. They get two chances to knock all ten pins down. If they knock them all down in their first try, it is considered to be a strike. If it takes them two tries, it is a spare. You can make your own scorecards, or you can download a template from the internet.

Set Up

Set up is relatively easy. Simply place all 10 of the pins in a classic triangle design on your lawn (they are able to be placed in the grass, or hard surfaces like brick or concrete) and you are ready to go. The only downside to bowling in your backyard is that you won’t have the pin reset like you do at an alley. In this case- you are the pin resetter, and it can get pretty tedious and time consuming after so long.

Value

The cost of this set is pretty affordable, especially compared to some of the others out there on the market. This set will likely cost you the same amount of money that you would spend filling up your gas tank to head out for a camping trip.

Summary

Explaining the rules to anything can really be difficult- especially when you are working with a large group of people who are difficult to wrangle. Investing in this yard bowling set will eliminate the need to explain the rules because almost everyone already knows how to bowl.
Pros
  • No need to explain rules
  • Made from solid wood
  • Comes with a nylon carrying case
Cons
  • Some find that the ball is too small/lightweight and won’t knock the pins down
  • Some find the pins to be a little small

RampShot Set

Rampshot is something that is a little different. It is a take on the classic game of cornhole. It’s important to note that this game is a little bit faster paced than a lot of the other games on this list. If you were looking for something that made you work up a sweat, this is it. Due to this fact, however, it might not be great for your younger or older guests.
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How to Play

The goal of Rampshot is to get your ball into the net, much like your goal of cornhole is to get the beanbag into the hole in the board. Where Rampshot differs is that if player 1 doesn’t get their ball into the net, player 2 has the option of scoring a point by catching the ball as it bounces off of the ramp. It may sound simple, but the grooves in the ramp make the trajectory of the missed shot unknown, and difficult to predict.

Set up

Set up is pretty easy and can be done in a matter of minutes just by unfolding the ramps and setting them up in the grass or sand. When you are done, they are able to be folded up to be folded flat and stack neatly to be transported in the trunk of your car. There are some users, however, that had a little bit of trouble with the initial setup. Some found that the nets were a little difficult to secure to the frame.

Value

The cost of this unit is about par for the course for products that can be played in your backyard. It will run you about the same price as it would take to fill up your gas tank if you are heading to the beach for the weekend.

Summary

If you are someone who wants to play something that is a little bit more fast paced and a little bit more exciting, Rampshot will be the perfect addition to your next summer BBQ. Plus, because it is so engaging, you might be able to work off that extra slice of strawberry pie with just one round.
Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Fast paced
  • Engaging design for player 1 and player 2
Cons
  • Net is difficult to affix to frame
  • Not ideal for older players

ROPODA Aim Game

ROPODA Aim Game
Tossing around the frisbee can be fun, but there isn’t much of a competition to be made from it. ROPODA turns something simple like throwing a frisbee and turns it into an engaging sport that is perfect for your smaller guests and is good for your older guests as well.
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How to Play

You aren’t going to be spending a long time trying to explain complicated rules to a group that might have the attention span of a moth. The rules are simple- you have to use the frisbee to knock a can off of the stand. Adjusting the complexity of this product is really easy. If you are playing with a group of older or younger people, you can set the posts closer together. If you are playing with a group of seasoned frisbee pros, you can set them farther apart. The first one to knock their opponent's soda can or water bottle off the top is the winner.

Set Up

Set up is relatively easy and will not take you all that long. Out of the box, there are multiple hollow tubes that you screw together to create the pole and a set of anchors that are used to affix the poles into the ground. Once the pole is standing, simple place the stand on the top, and you are really to place a soda can or water bottle on the top. When it’s time to head home, you can simply unscrew all of the pieces and parts, and load them back into the box.

Value

Basically, this model is two sticks that are set up into the ground with a flat surface- so it isn’t too terribly expensive. In fact, this might be one of the more affordable options out there on the market. Considering that it also comes with a frisbee, and has a design that is accessible to a wide range of players- this is a great value that will bring you many years of enjoyment.

Summary

If you were looking for something that is incredibly simple, easy to explain, and not too hard on the wallet- this is an excellent option that will bring a lot of fun and laughs to your next family get together.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Simple rules
Cons
  • Some find that the stand isn't very sturdy
  • Many found the included frisbee to be too small and flimsy

LADDERBALL PRO STEEL

LADDERBALL PRO STEEL
Ladder ball is something that you might have only noticed picking up popularity in the recent years. It might look a little strange at first, and your guests might be reluctant to play it- but this unit is deceptively fun. Just have your guest give it a toss just once, and they’ll be hooked.
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How to Play

The aim is simple- wrap the 2 balls that are tethered by a string (called bolas) to wrap around the bars in front of you. The higher on the bars you are able to get your bolas to wrap around, the more points that you will get. The point system and turn order of this design is a lot like cornhole. There are various degrees of scoring, and each side takes their turn one at a time. The rules and learning curve makes this model perfect for your younger and older party guests.

Set Up

Putting this set together is pretty simple, and it is just a matter of screwing the metal bars into one another and then securing them with screws on the outside of each leg. The ladder is made from a solid metal frame so it will stand firm during gameplay. You can opt to keep this unit assembled and store it in your garage when not in use, or you can disassemble it and store it in its nice nylon carrying case for parties on the go.

Value

This unit runs about in the middle of the road in terms of price. It’s not the most expensive design out there, but it is also not the least expensive. Considering that the frame is made of a solid steel design, this is a really great value for something that will last you many summers to come.

Summary

Ladder ball is something that is really starting to gain popularity within the past few years due to its engaging gameplay and simple design. If you have this set up at your next summer BBQ, your guests will be sure to get a kick out of it and make it a very memorable party.
Pros
  • Great for young and older party guests
  • Easy to set up
  • Comes with carrying case for easy portability
Cons
  • Users have found bolas are unreliable

Funsparks Lawn Darts

Funsparks Lawn Darts
Lawn darts is something that has been around for a very long time and is notorious for being rather dangerous. Throwing sharp darts that have to be pointy enough to stick in the ground is a perfect recipe for sending your little sister to the emergency room. Funsparks however, has invented a safe way to play lawn darts without running the risk of impaling any of your party guests.
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How to Play

Simply place two plastic rings on the ground a good deal away from each other. Taking turns, each team throws one of their darts as close to the inside of the circle as they can get. Each dart is has a wide rounded and weighed tip so there is no risk of anyone getting hurt. Each time you get your dart inside of the circle you gain a point, and the first person or team to reach 21 points is considered to be the winner.

Set Up

There is virtually zero set up with this set. Simple place the two plastic circles on the ground a good distance apart, and you are ready to play. There is a design flaw in the plastic score circles that make them susceptible to breaking or coming apart- but many users have found a simple fix with a little bit of tape or gorilla glue. Even if the circles break completely or become lost over the years, you could always improvise with a string.

Value

The price of this unit is one of the more affordable options on the market, and will likely set you back the same amount of money you would spend on ground beef and buns for the hamburgers you plan to grill up for your next summer cookout.

Summary

If you are in the market for something that is perfect for everyone ages 6 to 96 and is incredibly safe, this unit will be a real hit at your next party, and you won’t run the risk of impaling any of your party guests.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Simple set up
  • Safe
Cons
  • Faulty plastic score hoops
  • Does not come with storage container

AmazonBasics Bocce Ball Set

AmazonBasics Bocce Ball Set
Bocce ball is considered to be the grandfather to all of the other designs not only making this list- but also in existence. It is considered to be one of the oldest games of all time and was invented around 5,200 BCE In Egypt. Back then, players used rocks instead of balls. Amazon makes a really great set that is constructed of high-quality materials in a nice travel case.
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How to Play

Simply place two plastic rings on the ground a good deal away from each other. Taking turns, each team throws one of their darts as close to the inside of the circle as they can get. Each dart is has a wide rounded and weighed tip so there is no risk of anyone getting hurt. Each time you get your dart inside of the circle you gain a point, and the first person or team to reach 21 points is considered to be the winner.

Set Up

There is virtually zero set up with this set. Simple place the two plastic circles on the ground a good distance apart, and you are ready to play. There is a design flaw in the plastic score circles that make them susceptible to breaking or coming apart- but many users have found a simple fix with a little bit of tape or gorilla glue. Even if the circles break completely or become lost over the years, you could always improvise with a string.

Value

The price of this unit is one of the more affordable options on the market, and will likely set you back the same amount of money you would spend on ground beef and buns for the hamburgers you plan to grill up for your next summer cookout.

Summary

If you are in the market for something that is perfect for everyone ages 6 to 96 and is incredibly safe, this unit will be a real hit at your next party, and you won’t run the risk of impaling any of your party guests.
The rules of bocce are a little confusing at first, but upon one playthrough players should really get the hang of it. To play, someone throws the white scoring ball- called the pallino- onto the field. Each team then takes turns throwing their balls as close to the pallino as they possibly can. The team that gets their balls closest to the pallino wins. This may sound incredibly simple- but there is a lot of strategy that can develop. For instance, if you notice that the other team is closer to the pallino, you can use one of your throws to knock theirs out of the way or even knock the pallino closer to your balls.

Set Up

There is absolutely nothing that you need to do to set up this game. This set comes with a nice carrying case with a strap, and all of the requisite balls that you will need to get a match started. Once you throw the pallino onto the field, the game is ready to start. And when you are finished, all of the balls fit perfectly into the bag. What makes this set great is that it comes with the addition of a cloth measuring tape so that there are no arguments over balls that are a little too close to call.

Value

The cost of this set is a little surprising, considering that it is just a bag with 9 balls and a measuring tape. However, once you notice the high quality of not only the bocce balls but also the carrying case that comes with it, the slightly higher price tag makes a little more sense.

Summary

If you were looking for a good old tried-and-tested away to have a little bit of competitive fun this summer- bocce ball is a great way to achieve that. We should warn you, though, that if you have some overly competitive party guests- a round of bocce can get intense pretty fast!

Pros
  • Brand recognition
  • Sleek carrying case
  • Measuring tape included
Cons
  • Some find that the ball chip easily

GoSports Croquet Set

GoSports Croquet Set
Croquet traveled from Ireland to England in the mid-1800’s and has gained popularity all over the world for its easy yet fun design. This is a slow-paced activity that is perfect for anyone ages 5 and up. GoSports makes a really solid set that will last you many summers of outdoor fun.
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How to Play

The rules are a little bit more complicated than that of bocce ball or cornhole, but a lot of the complexity lies in the setup (which we will get into a little later). The aim is to use a mallet to have your color ball pass through all of the wickets to make it to the end of the course. Think of it as an obstacle course for your ball, and your mallet is what guides your ball. The first person to make it to the end of the course wins. Be careful, however, because if another player's ball lands right next to yours- that player has the right to send your ball to the opposite end of the course!

Set Up

The set up is probably one of the more complicated sets to make this list. To play, you have the option of selecting a number of templates that will be available in the instruction manual. Stick the wire wickets securely and evenly into the ground, and then use one of the mallets to pound the finishing post at the end of the course. Once the design is set up, and the course is explained to the players- you are ready to go.

Value

This is a little bit more expensive than some of the other models on this list, but croquet has a reputation of being a rather expensive game- so the price tag should come to you as no surprise. It isn’t the most expensive option on the market, however, so if you were looking for something just above the middle of the road- this is a great option.

Summary

Croquet is great because it has a slow and relaxed pace that is perfect for a hot summer day and can be played by young kids, and even some of the older folks that are at your next cookout this summer.

Pros
  • Comes with a sleek carrying case
  • 6 colorful mallets with matching balls
  • Made from high quality materials
Cons
  • A little expensive
  • Ball are prone to becoming nicked

GoSports Corn hole Set

GoSports Corn hole Set
At one point or another, you have probably played cornhole at some type of outdoor party or event. It is one of the most popular activities to partake in while eating hot dogs outside in the summer. The rules are simple, and it is low impact enough to be played by everyone in your family no matter how old or young they may be.
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How to Play

As we mentioned earlier- the rules are pretty simple. Two players, or four players divided into teams of two, stand next to a board and take turns trying to throw their bean bag into the hole. After each round, teams are allotted points. For each bag they get in the hole, they get 3 points. Bags that land on the board are called ‘ace’ and count for one point. The first team to reach 21 points is considered to be the winner. If a team reaches 11 without the other team scoring, they are also considered to be the winner.

Set Up

There really isn’t much set up involved to get playing. Simply drag the boards out from the garage, and place them on the lawn approximately 27 feet apart (you can always decrease the length apart as needed). The GoSports model also comes with a nice drawn string carrying bag to store the bean bags when not in use.

Value

Cornhole sets are notoriously expensive, but this GoSports model is a little more on the affordable side. The boards are just a simple and solid wood, and they don’t have any logos or designs on them, which is probably why they are a little bit more affordable than most.

Summary

If you are in the market for a classic cornhole set and don’t want to pay the hefty price tag as some of the other designs out there- this is an excellent alternative that will last you many summers without breaking the bank.

Pros
  • Simple set up
  • Easy to learn
  • Great for all ages
Cons
  • Requires a lot of storage space
  • Users report they are not regulation size (they are a little smaller)

Tiki Toss Hook and Ring

Tiki Toss Hook and Ring
Tiki Toss is something that you can permanently affix to the side of your house or under a covered patio so that when you want to play something, it is always ready and available. It has a really simple design, but it deceptively difficult. It’s low impact and perfect for guests age 5 to 95, and is sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face.
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How to Play

It doesn’t get any easier than Tiki Toss. There is a hook that is affixed to a board, and a metal ring that is at the end of a long string. The aim is to swing the metal ring so that it latches onto the hook at the base. The first person to successfully make the connection is considered to be the winner. It may seem a little too simple and elementary, but it is a lot more difficult than it looks.

Set Up

While playing it is pretty simple, set up is a one-time thing- but it requires you make some very exact measurements. If you don’t line up the string to have the ring precisely make contact with the hook, you have made a game that no one can win. However, once you have everything set up to be exactly where it needs to be, you will never have to set it up again, and it is something that you can leave up all year round.

Value

This is one of the more affordable options on this list, but it isn’t the least expensive. Considering that is is just a carved piece of wood with metal rings and a string- it can seem a little pricey. However, considering that you will always have a fun activity to play on your patio at every cookout that doesn’t need explanation or set up- it will be worth the lightly padded price tag.

Summary

If you want to increase the fun level of your patio without taking up all that much room or spending that much money, you and your friends and family will likely get years of enjoyment out Tiki Toss.


Pros
  • Simple design
  • Affordable
  • One time setup
Cons
  • Requires precise measurements upon installation
  • Some find the string and hook to be a little cheap

 

Our Criteria For the best Outdoor Games

Planning a good summer cookout with friends and family can seem a bit daunting, especially after everyone is done eating and that tired post-dinner silence falls over the group. While cooking a great meal is one of the most important features to a BBQ, investing in some fun games to play out in the yard is a great way to inject some life in those that become tired after dessert. If you are throwing a party with mixed company (say, both sets of in-laws) having a common activity that everyone can engage in might help to break the initial awkwardness. We wanted to make sure that we selected products that made sure they did just the trick at your next party, and to do that we kept an eye on certain things while we conducted our research.

Value

This area of outdoor gear can get a little pricey, and sometimes it is unnecessarily so. We made sure to keep an eye on the price so that it didn’t eat up all of your recreations summer time funds. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, some of the models that are made out of plastics and PVC often are significantly less expensive. Padded price tags often come when you are dealing with anything made out of wood- such as cornhole, lawn bowling, and tumbling blocks. While they might end up setting you back a little bit more money, they will make up for it in durability and quality. Some of these can really take a beating when things heat up and get a little competitive, so you want to make sure they will be able to hold up, but also without draining your summer funds.

Inclusivity

That’s the goal, isn’t it? You want to invest in an activity for the whole family and where no one will feel excluded because they lack the physical or mental capacity to participate. There were a lot of options out there that came with the word “extreme” attached to them, and they might be better suited for college spring break or parties that have a tendency to get a little crazy. We tried to shy away from those models because they really don’t include everyone. A lot of our choices were versions of lawn activities that families and friends have been playing for sometimes hundreds of years. The classics exist for a reason, and it is primarily because they are simple to play and accessible to everyone.

Fun

This was one of the most important things that we looked at. If it doesn’t have fun mechanics then no one is going to want to play it. When dealing with activities that you are going to play in your backyard, it is important to keep things simple. Overly-complicated indoor tabletop designs are great in the wintertime, but when you are outside there is likely a lot going on and you want to keep it simple. We have found that the more simple it is, the more room there is for laughs, strategy, and good old-fashioned competition.

Durability

No one likes to spend money on something only to have to last a couple of cookouts before it needs to be thrown away because it begins to fall apart. We wanted to select products that would hold up to whatever you threw at it (literally) and then could be packed neatly away in the garage until the next summer. Besides, if you find a real winner that everyone loves, you might find that at your next party everyone will ask where that fun activity went- and you don’t want to have to break it to them that it fell apart and you had to throw it away. Products that used wood seemed to be incredibly durable- although they often cost a lot more than their plastic counterparts.

Portability

You won’t always want to play these at your house, because you are often on the go during the summertime. We wanted to select items that were able to be packed up and brought along with you without causing too much trouble. Many of these sets come with the addition of a sleek nylon carrying case. These bags not only make it easy to pack into the trunk of the car when heading to the beach for a week, but it also protects it from the weather and spiders when tucked away in storage during the winter.

 

Other Factors To Consider

It’s hard to host a party because you are always concerned that your guests aren’t having a fun time. When shopping around for something fun to while you wait for the hot dogs to finish cooking, or after you polish off the last piece of the pie, you should take into consideration the group that you are buying it for. If your circle of friends and family are younger and full of energy, you might want to buy something that requires a lot of movement and energy. If your circle consists of younger or older folks, you might want to keep your eyes on slower paces games like bocce ball or croquet. No matter what you decide, you want to make sure that no one feels left out, and that everyone has a fun time full of excitement and laughs.

 

FAQs

Q: What games are good to play with small kids?

We made sure to include a lot of options that are accessible to the little ones that might be at your picnic. Be sure to select an option that has simple instructions that are easy to follow- such as corn hole or lawn darts. While the little ones might have enough energy to play for days and days, if they are confused by the mechanics, they are likely to lose interest pretty quickly. The rule is to keep it simple to keep them engaged.  We also made sure to keep all of our options safe. Lawn darts, for instance, has a reputation for sending innocent bystanders to the emergency room. We make sure to select a version of lawn darts that had softly rounded and weighted tips to ensure that there is no risk of drawing blood. 

Q: What are some good options for the older folks?

Older folks, on the other hand, can keep up with models that might have a more complicated mechanics, but they don’t have the energy or the stamina to keep up with products that require speed. Products such as croquet, cornhole, lawn darts, and tiki toss are perfect for the older folks and are a great way to bring the old and young together in a common goal.

Q: I’m having a party with a big group; what kind should I buy?

Bigger groups can be difficult because many of the options out there cater to about 2 to 8 players. Tiki toss is a great option for larger groups because it can accommodate very large groups- as long as everyone gets a turn. You can also buy multiple qualities of one unit- such as corn hole, and set up more than one set of boards. This is a more expensive solution, however, so be prepared to pay more.

Q: Can I play with just two people?

The beauty of a lot of these products is that they can be used by just two people. If you just want to spend a nice evening in the backyard with your spouse, building a fire, and play a few rounds of something- many of the options on our list allow for that. In fact, some products such as corn hole, lawn dart, and bocce ball might even be more fun with just two players.

Q: What are some good options to play alone?

No one likes to play alone, but sometimes when you are relaxing in your backyard after a long day you want a way to pass the time, and there is no one around to join. Options like corn hole won’t have the same impact alone than when you are playing against someone, but it will still be fun to try and get it in the hole and you can brush up on your skills for the next time that you have an opponent. Tiki toss is great for one player because it isn’t something that you will ever play on a team. Really, any of these options on this list can be played alone, you just have to convince yourself that you are brushing up on your skills for the next time you have friends over.

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