Backyard Fun

Back in the olden days, when I was young, there weren’t many choices in the way of backyard games. Croquette, playing in the sprinkler and yard darts were about it. Sadly, the steel-tipped projectiles used in yard darts were deemed “unsafe” so that choice quickly disappeared. Fast forward a few decades and there are tons of options for games to play with family and friends while enjoying the incredible weather springtime on the Coast offers. Here are a few:

You can’t have a list of great games without leading off with Cornhole. It is so popular there’s a professional league on ESPN. Two to four players throw bags of corn, trying to get them to land on, or go through the small hole on that board. You can find sets for $50-$1,000.

Similar to tennis, only the court is smaller and players use paddles instead of racquets. I know, fancy pickleball courts are popping up all over the place, but you can find a reasonably priced set for your yard and have just as much fun, without having to drive anywhere.

I haven’t played this since my parents took my yard darts away. It is seeing a resurgence in popularity so I’m giving it another shot. Between two and six players use a wooden mallet to hit balls through wickets or hoops in the correct sequence and direction.

Bocce (pronounced bah-chee) is one of the oldest games in the world (its origins are traced to ancient Egypt) and it’s simple. It’s also good for all ages, I played this with my daughter before she was in kindergarten. All you need is a Bocce set (which cost anywhere from $22-$100) and a lawn. There’s not much to the rules – one player throws the jack (a small ball) across the lawn, then others try to get their ball as close to the jack as possible, closest wins. Nothing to it!

I debated including this one, as it’s not as chill as the rest of these games, but what the heck. This game is gaining momentum across the country. It’s similar to volleyball if 4th graders had invented it. Players serve, set, and spike the ball off a small trampoline. If you’re playing this one, expect to break a sweat.

Let’s get back to the games we can play with an adult beverage in one hand, shall we? In Ladder Toss, players throw a bolo (two golfball-sized balls held together with a string) at a ladder attempting to wrap it around the rungs, with each one offering a different amount of points. Pretty simple, and you only need one hand.

It’s similar to Bocce, you throw something at something to see who gets the closest, only in this game you “pitch” horseshoes at a stake. Portable sets cost between $18-$80. If you’re fancy, like my brother, you can build a permanent set in your backyard, but I have no idea how much that costs! You can’t go wrong with any of these great games. No matter which one you choose, you’ll surely have hours of fun with your loved ones in the yard. Personally, I like Bocce the best. Although, I’d still like to have my lawn darts back!

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