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10 Classic Fun Backyard Games For Families

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What are some of the best classic backyard games for families to play?

Now that Spring and Summer are upon us, there will be plenty of outdoor get-togethers with family and friends.

We’ve got holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day – all packed into three months.  Plus, who doesn’t love a pool party or Sunday barbecue in the backyard?

Spending all of this time in the backyard means you need something to do.  These backyard games for families will bring people together and help keep the party going.

1. Cornhole

One of my favorite pastimes, Cornhole is a fun backyard game for all ages, but perfect for adults.

What Is Cornhole?

Cornhole consists of two raised, tilted board platforms with one hole near the top of each board.  You’ll also need two sets of square fabric bags in different colors, four bags of each color.  The bags can be filled with corn (hence the name) or dry beans.

backyard game of cornhole

How Do You Play Cornhole?

If you want all of the official rules for playing cornhole, visit the American Cornhole Association.  I’ll share the abbreviated version.

To play cornhole, you need at least two people or two teams of two players each.  Each team stands next to a board as the other team attempts to throw their bags into the hole.

For each bag that makes it onto the board, you score one point.  If the bag makes it into the hole, you score 3 points.

Cornhole uses the cancellation method with scorekeeping so that only one team scores each “inning”.

So, if you go first and score 4 points and then your opponent scores 5 points, your points are void and they would get 1 point.  Hopefully, that makes sense.

Whoever gets to 21 first is the winner.

2. Badminton

Badminton is similar to volleyball, another perfect backyard game for families or adults. You’ll need a badminton set though, which includes a net, rackets, and a shuttlecock (the “ball” you’ll be hitting over the net).

You can purchase a badminton set for around $25, which includes everything you need for four players.

How Do You Play Badminton?

If you’ve never played badminton before, here are the basics.  You can check out the official rules and gameplay here.

In Badminton, the first team to score 21 points wins.

There are two teams of two, one on each side of the net.  Flip a coin to see who gets the first serve.

family playing badminton in the backyard

The winner of the coin toss then “serves” or hits the shuttlecock over the net to the other team, and they try to hit it back over the net.  If they succeed, it’s called a “rally” and play continues until the shuttlecock hits the ground or a player commits a foul.

  • The serve must go over the net or the opposing team gets a point and the serve.
  • No one can hit the shuttlecock more than once at a time (no double hits)
  • If a part of the player’s body or racket hits the net, that’s considered a foul.  Point and serve then go to the opposing team.

Badminton is a classic backyard game that I’ve personally played many times over the years.  The point is to have fun, so feel free to loosen the rules a bit if necessary.

3. Lawn Darts

Lawn darts, or Jarts, is a simple classic backyard game that the whole family can enjoy.  It’s easy to set up and easy to play.  You can purchase a lawn darts game for about $25 here, and there is even a glow-in-the-dark version for after-hours play.

lawn darts classic backyard game for families

How To Play Lawn Darts

Put the two target circles 35 feet apart.  If children are playing, you can put the circles closer together to make it easier for them.

Each team of one or two players takes turns throwing two jarts toward the opposing circle.

If the jart makes it inside the circle that counts as three points.  However, if the opposing team then makes a jart in their circle, the points are cancelled.

If neither team makes a jart in the circle, whoever’s jart is closest to the circle gets one point.

Whichever team gets to 21 points first is the winner.

4. Red Light, Green Light

Unlike the other games on this list, Red Light, Green Light doesn’t require any special equipment.  All you need is yourself and at least two other players.

Red Light, Green Light is the perfect backyard game for families with little ones, since they can play along too.

How To Play Red Light, Green Light

Also known as Statues, Red Light, Green Light will get the whole family playing. It’s one of the best backyard games to get everyone involved.

One person, known as the “traffic light” will stand at one end of the yard.  All of the other players will stand in a row on the other side of the backyard.

The traffic light then yells “red light, yellow light, green light”, pauses for a few seconds then yells “Stop!”.  All of the other players must immediately come to a stop in their exact positions.

If anyone moves after the traffic light says stop, they are removed from the game.

This continues until one player is left or players make it to the other side of the yard.

5. Dodge Ball

This classic backyard game is one that will get the blood pumping for the whole family.

All you need is four or more people to make Dodge Ball fun.

How To Play Dodge Ball In The Backyard

Divide players into two teams.  Place the ball in the middle of the field.

When the whistle blows, players race to the ball.  They then throw the ball at opposing team members, aiming to hit them below the knees.

If a player is hit, he’s eliminated from the game.

The last team standing is the winner.

6. Giant Jenga Backyard Game

Who doesn’t love Jenga?  This is a family classic, and now Jenga comes in a giant backyard version that everyone will love!

There are different versions available, that stand between 3 – 5 feet tall.

I guarantee if you have a giant Jenga at your next backyard event, it will be the talk of the party.

How To Play Giant Jenga

First, set up the Jenga pieces in a tower.

Then, each player takes a turn removing a piece, taking care not to make the tower collapse.

The person that collapses the tower loses.

7. Balloon Football

I’ve never heard of this game but when I found Balloon Football on the Play Party Plan website, I knew it was a perfect backyard game for families.

fun backyard game for families

How To Play Balloon Football

Get three-five standard big balloons filled with helium.  Use a magic marker to write a point value on the balloons (1 – 5).

Each player gets 10 mini-footballs like these to throw at the balloons.

Add up the points for each balloon hit with the 10 footballs and the player with the most points wins.

You can play one round or many, or set a target points total as the winning goal.

8. Pool Noodle Game

The pool noodle game is one of  many unique outdoor games.  It’s best if you can have players to be roughly the same size.

Stack several pool noodles on top of each other in a checkerboard fashion.

Players stand around the noodles and hold hands.  When the game starts, players pull each other, trying to get their opponent to touch one of the noodles.

If any part of the body touches a noodle, the player is omitted from the game.

Last man standing is the winner.

9. Bocce Ball

Bocce Ball is a popular game for the backyard all around the world.  That being said, your family will enjoy playing Bocce Ball at the next backyard party.

Bocce is played with eight large balls and one white smaller ball called the pallina.

How To Play Bocce Ball

Players of bocce ball are split into two teams with 1, 2, or 4 players each.

The ball court is determined and a center line is set.  Whoever wins the coin toss tosses the pallina down  the court, somewhere over the center line. That player then throws the first bocce ball, becoming the “in” team.

play bocce ball in the backyard

Then, a player from the “out” team must throw his bocce ball, getting it closer to the pallina than the first thrower. If he succeeds, that team becomes the “in” team and must step aside.

If he fails, he must throw his second ball.  Then his third and fourth if he doesn’t get closer.

If he gets closer, the other team then throws their next ball trying to get closer until they succeed, or all balls are exhausted.

Once all balls have been thrown, that’s the end of the frame.  One point is awarded for every ball closer to the pallina than the opposing team.

You can get closer by hitting your opponents ball away from the pallina, or by hitting the pallina closer to your own ball.

The first team to 16 points is the winner.

10. Capture The Flag

You might think of Capture the Flag as a backyard game for kids, but it can really be one of many great backyard games for adults too.  It’s one of those diy backyard games that everyone loves.

You’ll need to create a flag for each team, or you can use a different colored bandana for each team’s flag.

How To Play Capture The Flag

First, set the playing area and divide it in half.  Each team claims one side of the area.

Then, each team sets their flag anywhere on their side of the territory.  It can be partially hidden as long as some of it can be seen by the other team.

When the game begins, players try to capture the opposing team’s flag without being tagged.  If a player is tagged, they must go to “jail” (a designated spot on the opposing team’s battlefield).  In order to get out of jail, you must be tagged by one of your own teammates.

The winner is the first team to capture the opponent’s flag and make it back to their own territory.

Conclusion – 10 Classic Fun Backyard Games For Families

No matter what your outdoor plans are this Summer, you can make every backyard party an event to remember with these fun backyard games for families.

There’s something on the list for every budget, so you’re sure to find one or more backyard games that everyone will enjoy.

Thanks for reading!  Please pin this post, it really helps me out.

10 CLASSIC AND FUN BACKYARD GAMES

 

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9 Comments

  • Hey! I loved reading the blog post. Such a refreshing change to read about the games families can play! I love playing Badminton with family but I guess it requires slightly more space to play. But i would love to explore Giant Jenga! Thank you for adding to my bucket list.

  • So many fun games for everyone! We love cornhole, badminton, and jenga! I have yet to find a giant jenga but I would love to play that. I am sure it’ll be a hoot! 🙂

    Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

    • Amazon has several options for Giant Jenga, including the generic “Tumbling Timbers” and the original, which you can get one that stacks up to 5′ tall! Hope you have a great summer!

  • I really enjoyed reading through your article on backyard games for families! It’s clear that you put a lot of thought and effort into compiling this list of classic and fun activities. Your descriptions and tips for each game are helpful and make me excited to try them out with my own family. Keep up the fantastic work!

    • Thanks for the feedback. I thought it would be helpful to include instructions for anyone that didn’t know how to play the games.

  • This is a very interesting article. i’ve done atleast 4 of these with my daughter and nieces.. the balloon football sounds really fun and easy to do. Will try this on our next park/picnic day. Thanks for sharing!

    • Glad to hear you’ve tried some of these. Yes, the balloon football is an affordable, fun game for everyone. You could even turn it into a drinking game if it’s just adults.

  • Karen

    It is definitely backyard season and I can’t wait!!! Amazing games lit, super super cool! Thank you so much.

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