Fun outdoor games are trending in family resorts, restaurants with outdoor spaces, and in backyards. These games provide fun family bonding time and keep the kids occupied during playdates.
It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you have space, fill it with an outdoor game or two from this list. They’ll come in handy at birthday parties, outdoor barbecues with friends, and every day because they encourage people to mix and mingle. Perhaps you’ll also get some exercise, too, depending on which games you choose for outdoor play.
See also: 15 Best Travel Games for Kids
As seen on Shark Tank, Spikeball is played in backyards, on college campuses, and at tailgates. Spikeball is a little bit like volleyball and enjoyed by kids, teens, and adults. Players can be as competitive as they like. My daughter’s P.E. class even played it at school.
Cornhole is popular with people of all ages, even though it can be far harder to play than it looks. That’s part of its allure. Adults tend to love it as much as the kids do. You can even find cornhole boards with favorite college or football team logos in addition to sets made from weatherproof plastic. It is the ultimate party outdoor game and this one happens to be portable should your summer days involve the beach or park.
Kan Jam is a perfect game to play with friends at the beach or with the family in the backyard. Try to toss a Frisbee (or the generic, “flying disc”) into a target while your opponent tries to deflect it.
Ladder Toss is a classic tailgate and beach game because it’s portable and comes with a carrying case. Players throw bollos at target ladder rungs that are different colors. The score is calculated based on which and how many rungs you snag.
Most everyone who grew up decades ago probably played horseshoes as a kid with those heavy, metal horseshoes that today would cause parents to recoil in horror at the potential danger of injury and/or property damage. But with the modern, rubber version you can still enjoy the classic, family-oriented outdoor game without the crazy 1970s-era dangers.
All you need to do is toss the horseshoe on to the pole. You’ll receive points for various distances from it, if it leans against the pole, or if you score a ringer.
Outdoor ring toss games are usually rather compact for easy storage. They’re great for improving hand-eye coordination, so it’s one of the beneficial outside activities for kids of all ages, but particularly those who are toddler to elementary school-aged. The game is even more fun when purchased with matching color cones to make a complete game set.
Chess and Checkers
If you have a checkered mat, both outdoor chess and outdoor checkers bring favorite board games outside. A variety of mat options exist including nylon boards that roll up for storage.
Or, opt for interlocking plastic tiles that are raised above the ground to prevent water from becoming trapped underneath the board.
Choose a mat and then buy the pieces separately. Chess pieces come in a variety of heights, too, so if you’d like a giant outdoor game they have pieces that are nearly 3′ tall.
Very similar to outdoor chess and checkers, younger kids may also enjoy passing the time with Giant Outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe. Nearly everyone knows how to play. It’s also easy to DIY it by using sidewalk chalk to draw out the squares and finding ten playing pieces (that don’t necessarily have to be x’s and o’s).
Giant Connect Four
Outdoor Connect Four is more fun than the original indoor game. We have played this multiple times at resorts and prefer the outdoor giant version. The pieces are stored on the posts and release from the game board with ease.
It’s one of the popular outside games for groups and parties because pretty much everyone knows how to play.
The cool thing about a giant Jenga game (also called tumbling blocks) is that it can accommodate multiple players. Each person takes turns carefully removing blocks until the entire tower comes tumbling down. The last person to remove the fatal block loses.
Special tumbling block tables can be purchased to keep the game at eye level.
Permanent bocce ball courts are trending but all you need is a lawn. Sand bocce ball courts are also trending in landscape design. However, if you’re seeking a less permanent solution, just buy a bocce ball set in a carrying case and take the game to your favorite lawn whether it’s yours or a beach or park.
Take bowling to a new level by rolling or kicking an over-sized ball during a lawn game of inflatable bowling. The enormous ball knocks over equally enormous pins. It deflates for easy storage and is one of the outdoor activities that is both a fun game and great exercise.
The base of this tetherball set is surprisingly stable (my daughter has it) and resistant to tipping. This outdoor game can be moved around the yard and the base makes it so that there’s no need to have an in-ground pole hole.
The classic game of croquet is always a favorite. You’ll need a good-sized lawn for this, but a classic game of croquet is an awesome way to engage multiple ages as players try their best to hit the ball through various hoops.
Outdoor badminton is great fun for the whole family, and maybe a little competitive, either in your backyard or at the beach. A portable outdoor badminton set that includes everything from the net and poles to the birdies and rackets, can make this happen easily and inexpensively.
Lawn darts are a more compact version of a bean bag toss. Jarts are lawn darts, too. This game is similar to a bean bag toss game in that you’re trying to toss the dart into a circle. Be mindful that older versions of Jarts have metal points that aren’t ideal for young kids.
Giant Wooden Yard Dice
Giant Wooden Yard Dice allow you to play your favorite dice games in your backyard in a funny, novel way. It’s one of the excellent outdoor games for families.
You probably played kickball in elementary school as a kid. If you have a backyard big (and flat) enough or are at a stretch of beach with few other people, you may enjoy playing kickball again with your whole family. Its a ball game similar to baseball and the bases are included with the set.
Flickin’ Chicken is fun for the whole family. The name, contents of four rubber chickens, a target disc, and a scorepad pretty much explain how the game works. Little ones usually think tossing a rubber chicken is hysterical but so will you.
A classic outdoor game in my husband’s mind, Trackball is great to play in a grassy backyard or especially at the beach whether you’re a kid or an adult.
Each player holds a scoop-like Trackball racket, which is a little reminiscent of Jai alai. One player places the light hollow plastic ball in the scoop racket and tosses it to the other player standing many yards away. The scoop-like racket and the hollow plastic ball enable players of all ages to toss the ball far further than they might expect while also making the ball easier to catch.
When the ball is tossed long distances, the way it can sway in the air with the wind may send you diving to the ground trying to catch it.
What are your favorite outdoor games?