7 Backyard Games the Whole Family Can Play

If your favorite thing to do in the backyard is nap in the hammock, but your kids are constantly pestering you come plaaaaaaay with them, maybe it’s time to add some new games to your repertoire -- stuff everyone can enjoy together. Try one of these to get the whole family involved in some active outdoor fun this year.  


1. Have you heard of lawn darts? Don’t let the name worry you -- the modern sets don’t have pointy metal spikes but rounded plastic bottoms that are safe for all ages. Big kids and adults can challenge themselves by aiming for targets and keeping score, while even the littlest kids will have fun just tossing them around.

2. If regular tag is too tiring or boring, stick-in-the-mud might be the game for you. When you’re tagged, freeze in place with your legs spread to form a tunnel. When players who are not “it” crawl through your legs, you’re free to run around again.

3. Make your own oversized tic-tac-toe board using sticks and stones or jump-ropes and shoes for the lines and markers. Play tournament-style to determine who reigns supreme. 

4. Let everyone help design your own backyard obstacle course. Use whatever you have lying around to build a gauntlet of things to jump over, crawl under, wriggle through, climb up, and slide down. Time yourselves and then try to beat your personal bests. Now do the whole thing backward!

5. When was the last time you played croquet? The sets are adorable, the rules are easy-peasy, and you can keep things interesting by setting up the wickets differently each time you play.

6. Forgive the morbid name, but the add-on drawing game called “exquisite corpse” is a lot of fun to take outside to the pavement. Have the first person use sidewalk chalk to draw a silly head and neck, then cover all but the bottom lines with a beach towel, and have the next person draw the shoulders and chest. Keep covering and drawing until you have one big crazy creature. What will you name it?

7. One of my personal favorites? Playing spa day. Help the kids fill a bucket with water, and then plop your feet in and then let them pamper you with hair brushing and hand massages. While they’re scurrying around for flowers to make your daisy-chain crown, you can sit back and relax with a glass of cucumber water.

What are your favorite backyard games to play with the whole family?


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