5 OUTDOOR GAMES FOR SUMMER FUN
Celebrate the outdoors this summer with classic games that get everyone involved.
By: Nicole Fasig
Anyone will get a kick out of this classic table game blown up to build the excitement. The jumbo-size blocks stack more than 4 feet high, but they can go upwards of more than 5 feet with a booster pack.
Play is deceptively simple once you create your tower - just pull one block out and place it on top of the pile during your turn. But beware: The pile gets more and more precarious as you go! When a player topples the tower or causes a block to fall, he or she loses, and the game is over, but see how quickly everyone can put it back together. You can play solo, or groups can get in on the action.
You can find a variety of “Jenga” brand sets at stores or online, or get an unfinished set from Joann’s and make your own. You can paint the ends, or get really crafty and use a wood burning kit to take it to the next level.
Nothing will get your crew moving quite like Spikeball, which is described by the makers as a mash-up of volleyball and four square. All you need are three Spikeball balls, a net that looks like a miniature trampoline and plenty of space. Generally playing in two teams of two, you set up on opposite sides of the net. Play begins when one player serves the ball down into the net so it bounces up at the opposing team. The two players then have three hits between them to get the ball back to the net.
Things get really interesting once the ball is served: There are no set sides for each team, so players can move 360 degrees around the net during play and hit the ball in any direction. Points are scored when the other team hits the ball into the ground or rim of the net, or it bounces more than one time on the net. You can play to any set score, and the winning team must win by at least two points.
Older kids will love a rousing game of backyard badminton. You’ll need plenty of space to set up a regulation court, which is roughly 44 feet long by 20 feet wide, but if you’re not worried about following tournament rules, any rectangular space should do. A standard net is just over 5 feet high, and you’ll need badminton rackets and a couple of shuttlecocks to go with it.
Play one-on-one or split up into doubles. The game is a mix between tennis and volleyball, with one player or team serving, and then both sides attempting to keep the shuttlecock aloft for the length of play. Each side may hit the shuttlecock only once to get it over the net and, while serves must be underhand, you can hit any way you like after the rally gets going. You score a point on your turn if the other side lets the shuttlecock hit the ground or hits it out of bounds, and games go to 21. In a time crunch? Play to a lower number, such as 15.
You can pick up badminton sets at your local sporting goods store or online to get started!
Cornhole or bean bag toss, is a classic tailgate and backyard game that doesn’t require a ton of space. While the American Cornhole Association (ACA) dictates that there be 27 feet between boards, you can set up a smaller court for littler players and shorter tosses.
You can play one-on-one or team up in doubles. ACA rules say that players must remain within the “pitcher’s box,” a space roughly even with the length of the board and extending 3 feet on either side. On their turn, players toss the bag underhand without stepping out of the pitcher’s box. Bags that land on the opposite board are worth one point, and bags that go into the hole on the board garner three points. Players from each side alternate, giving them a chance to knock any stray bags off the board or into the hole before all the bags are thrown. The game continues until one side reaches or exceeds 21.
You can purchase bags online from the ACA or other game makers, DIY, or you could even do a little of both: Find plain boards online and add your own designs, or buy colorful fabric and sew your own bags to personalize your set.
Don’t want to get your own set? Make it a night at Full Service BBQ - they have boards & bags for you to play while you eat & drink.
With giant dice, the options are endless. Whether you’re trying to see who can roll the highest number or teaching simple math through play, there are all sorts of rules you can come up with to make dice fun – and keep kids rolling and chasing the giant cubes.
In one of the popular games, “Pig”, players roll a single die rather than two. During each player’s turn, he or she can keep rolling and accumulating points – as long as a one doesn’t pop up – or choose to end the turn. If a player rolls a dreaded one, the turn is over, no new points are scored, and play passes to the next person. The first to reach 100 wins!
You can find lawn dice online or make your own with materials you might already have around the house. For example, just wrap a cube-shaped box in red or white heavyweight wrapping paper, and glue on circles from one to six in a contrasting color on each side. Then let the dice roll and the fun begin!