When the sun is shining and family and friends gather in backyards and on beaches and parks to share food, drink and camaraderie, the lasting memory may be the games they played that made the good times roll.
And there is data to support that sentiment. According to a study from the UK-based University of York, games and activities that last 20 to 90 minutes lead to the most positive results for improving mood and reducing anxiety.
Of course, some games are more fun than others. That’s why we’ve listed the 15 best outdoor games for summer and fall. Play one or play all 15, and see how fun competition in games can keep you active and fit both mentally and physically.
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By many accounts, cornhole rules the roost as the ultimate outdoor game for beaches, backyard barbecues, and tailgates, among other popular outdoor social landing spots.
Cornhole is easy to learn, fun to play, and any age group can learn to throw a bean bag over (and through) a wooden or cloth board on the ground 20 feet away.
So grab a beer, iced tea or other beverage of your choice and host a cornhole tournament at your next garden party.
If you can swing a tennis racket or a ping pong paddle, you can swing a beach paddle, as many people do on the country’s beaches every summer.
Like cornhole, beach paddle tennis is a popular game because it can be played by people of all ages and can hold as many players as you have rackets.
The rules are also quite flexible. Whether it’s a one-on-one game or five-a-side teams, all you need to do is draw lines in the sand and start paddling, aiming to make sure the ball doesn’t hit the ground. Play with or without a net and play matches where the first team determines the winner to five, 10 or 15 points.
Jenga has always been a great game for everyone, both young and old. Families with young children will also love this easy to learn and play game.
Now, Giant Jenga takes things up a notch, with the original Jenga strategy of blocking, stacking, and balancing now supersized to play on concrete, patios, or a well-mown lawn. Play with two people or play with 20 – Giant Jenga offers space for everyone in an open-air setting.
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Let’s take the traditional route with an old game chestnut: croquet. Popularized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, croquet can be played by anyone who appreciates the value and fun of taking a wooden mallet and hitting a round ball through a hoop on the ground, and doing so in the correct order. Most points wins the match.
Croquet is simple and can be played on a level grass (or artificial turf) field with six to eight players, depending on the game of croquet you choose. It’s ideal for picnics and barbecues, and feel free to bring a drink of your choice as you cruise the croquet lane.
A great way to downsize the frisbee experience for a backyard or beach gathering is with the original Kan Jam discus toss game.
Instead of having to traverse an entire football field, Kan Jam frisbee lets you play the game in 20 steps, with the goal of throwing a smaller frisbee at an opponent’s can placed on the ground. While hitting the can is the name of the game, any shot through the slot of the can crowns an immediate winner of the game (otherwise first to 21 points).
The game can be played anywhere and by anyone, with a glow-in-the-dark version for frisbee action after dark.
Chess has long been known as the game of the thinking person: it is known to develop critical thinking skills and sharpen on-the-spot decision-making. It is also a game that chess purists have played outdoors, especially in parks and cafes, where the fresh air and camaraderie enhance the intellectually competitive experience.
So why not add a brain-building game like chess to your list of outdoor activities? Chess can be an especially great learning tool for youngsters, while also allowing older friends and family who may not always be able to play more aggressive athletic games. Give it a try and get your brain sweating too.
Variations of capture the flag have been played for centuries; We bet you didn’t know that the game was played during the Civil War as a way to let soldiers blow off steam during long periods of boring inactivity. In decades past, capture the flag has become a neighborhood game, usually for children ages eight and up. The game is also often played at night, so why not give Capture the Flag a new adrenaline rush and play it at night, with “glow in the dark” features?
Players can wear glow-in-the-dark wristbands, making them easier to spot at night, while so-called “jails” can be marked with glow-in-the-dark boundaries so that the jail marker is also brighter. easy to see Territorial lights complete the capture the flag ensemble, giving an old game a new look for the 21st century.
The venerable Italian actually spread (literally) in ancient Egypt, but grew so popular that international travelers brought the game to England, France, and Italy, where it is still celebrated and played by bocce players today.
Today, the game can be easily played at family parties, barbecues, and neighborhood gatherings, and for less than $50 for a good game of bocce, with options for “hard” or “soft” bocce, depending on who’s playing. play. Bocce can be played on grass or sand, and a whole generation of families can get in on the action.
Any college boy knows the business of beer pong, one of the most intoxicating board games (well, literally) in frat history.
Now you can make a DIY beer pong outdoors, with a giant beer pong, which replaces individual red cups as targets with larger, clean cans of your choice: plastic gardening cans, household water buckets, or even garbage ( preferably clean) cans can do the trick.
Add a soccer ball or volleyball and 20 feet of space and you’re playing with the gang. Be sure to save the individual red cups for the actual drinking phase of the game.
More importantly, keep the underage drinking set away from beer table sets of any size, and put a lid on the cans when you’ve had a good amount of cold beer.
Okay, we can’t pass up beer pong, at least not until we’ve quenched our thirst.
So let’s add floating beer pong to our list of outdoor activities. You need a pool for this event and a floating pool raft (GoPong offers one complete with built-in coolers and included plastic cup holders).
Unlike regular beer pong, where ping pong balls bounce off a table and land into the cup, beer pong is more like shooting free throws in basketball, only with float balls. One bonus: when you’re done playing, the floating raft acts as a ready-to-use cooler for your drinks, adult or not.
For tight spaces (think patios, driveways, and smaller yards), Spikeball is a good party game that favors fast action and, better yet, quick reflexes.
The game is modeled after volleyball, but in a reduced form. All you need is four players, a mini volleyball net, and a stable playing surface. Think of Spikeball as a combination of ping pong and volleyball and you’ll get the idea. The idea is to have your Spikeball outperform your competition on the other side of the table: the loser buys/gets the next shot.
Like cornhole, beer pong, and volleyball, ring toss has its origins outdoors in older, more traditional games like horseshoes and darts.
Since you don’t want to be throwing iron horseshoes or sharp lawn darts at an outdoor party with kids and distracted humans, try Elite Sportz Equipment’s Ring Toss Game. It’s safe, easy to play, and can be used indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather.
Ring Toss Game is easy to set up and easy to use to play. Components include three sets of rings and a wooden peg base. Three layers can match at once, and the player who gets the most “rings” is the winner.
The original cornhole is a garden party classic, so it’s no surprise that the game has spawned offshoots that offer the same premise (throwing an object down a hole) but with different tools.
So it is with Bean Bag Buckets, a “throwing” competition like Cornhole but only with bean bags to throw and seven buckets with different distances and total points. First team to 21 bags first place.
Bean Bag Buckets can be played in any age group, and can be easily played on sand, grass, driveways, larger yards, and even dirt parking lots for the close-watch enthusiast.
Ballpark fans may remember Strat-o-matic, a board-based baseball game that allowed players to match the stats of major league baseball players and use dice rolls to move players around. around the bases and toward the marker.
Tabletop baseball is cut from the same horsehide. The game, developed by baseball fans Ryan and Kim McDaniel of St. Louis, Mo., can be played on any hard surface: picnic tables, patio tables, or even on top of a beer cooler if you so choose.
Two teams of up to four players use dice rolls to move players from one base to another, with a dry-erase board attached as a marker. Players can choose boards with the names and logos of their favorite MLB teams, making it easy to match Red Sox-Yankees or Cardinals-Cubs, for example.
Golfers can tee off, so to speak, with a portable practice chipping net that allows pirates to shoot at targets from varying distances on a lawn, beach, or driveway.
Play for drinks or play for pride: the important thing is to bring your golf wedges and play at your next garden party.
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