Labor Day may mark the end of summer, but it can be the perfect time to start a new family tradition. Round up everyone to head outside – the yard or a park will do – and play some fun lawn games that everyone can enjoy. Kids, parents and grandparents can all play these games together, making for great interactions away from the television and video games. Be sure to check with your physician before engaging in new physical activities.
- Croquet: While croquet is also played competitively, most people just play it for fun. You can pick up an inexpensive set online or at toy stores, sport stores or major general stores. Sets come in wooden and plastic versions. The idea is to use the mallet to knock the balls through the hoops (or “wickets”) set around the lawn. While the rules will be explained on the set, they can be adapted when playing with younger children by offering a guiding hand, extra strokes or not playing for winners at all – just for completion!
- Bag Toss: Often called “cornhole” this game involves tossing bean bags into a raised platform with a hole at one end – the idea being to successfully make the shot! You can even find lightweight portable versions complete with built-in scoreboard and instructions for what distance players of various ages should throw from, making it easy for the entire family to enjoy this game even if space is limited.
- Bocce Ball: Bocce ball can be played with any even number of players for even teams (two, four, six or eight). If young children are playing, put them on different teams to make the teams better matched, since the game does rely on accurate tossing to win. The concept is simple: Each team wants to try and get their balls closest to the smaller “jack” (or “pallino”) ball. Sets made of metal or plastic can be purchased at a variety of stores. One advantage to bocce is that it doesn’t require any big pieces or complicated setup, making it easy to take and play anywhere there’s open space.
- Lawn Bowling: Those adults and older children serious about lawn games can consider taking up lawn bowling, an ancient sport with clubs all over the world. In lawn bowling, you bowl a ball with a weighted bias inside, trying to get closest to a smaller white ball, or jack, at the opposite end of the field. Strategies and technique take practice to master, making the game challenging for years to come.
- Badminton: Similar to tennis, badminton requires a net and racquets, but in this case the net is raised and the specialized racquets hit light “shuttlecocks” (or “shuttles”) rather than balls back and forth. Simple and lightweight badminton sets can be purchased inexpensively, and it’s a fun game for all ages that can be set up in the backyard.
- Ring Toss: Like the bean bag toss, there are many ring toss games available for purchase online and in toy departments. These games can be set up anywhere and played by all ages. Add in little treats or prizes to make it a carnival game for the grandkids.
Of course, these are only a few of the lawn games available. The ideas are as endless as your imagination. Partaking in lawn games provides fresh air, a little exercise and most of all, the chance to spend quality time with friends and family.