Have you ever attended an event hosted by someone else and found yourself looking for a reason to leave? Nothing besides the presence of people was captivating. Just a somber, low key gathering with no entertainment besides communicating with one another. What if you didn’t know everybody there or don’t feel comfortable initiating a conversation with people you don’t know? This is where outdoor yard games can really become the missing link and contribute to the fun factor.
Bags – Call Them What You Want
Whether it’s in your yard or tailgating at an event, almost a guarantee that everybody there has tossed a game or two. There are bean bags and there is cornhole. The big difference here is the length of the boards with cornhole measuring 4′ and bean bags coming in at 3′. The cornhole boxes seem to be more popular but either is a blast to play with anywhere from 2-4 people. A simple game to 21 with teams or players alternating throws can last 5 minutes with a whitewash or can be super competitive and last an hour or more.
Washers/Washer Toss – No Laundry Here
Another fun game similar to cornhole where players toss metal washers measuring roughly 2″ diameter into a PVC pipe or can that is usually contained within a box. The target hole or pipe is about 4-1/2″ in diameter and about 5″ tall. This pipe is then placed in a 16″ square box on the ground and are set about 20′ apart. Scoring is the same as bags in which one in the hole will net you 3 points and one in the box will get you 1 point with the opposing team able to cancel out points. The game is also played to 21. It may seem more challenging than bags at first but with a little practice it can be just as much if not more fun.
Ladder Toss/Ladder Ball/Hillbilly Golf
Here is another game that can bring a lot of enjoyment and is growing in popularity and has many names. The game consists of a set of “ladders” typically made of PVC with three horizontal rungs spaced about a foot apart from each other. Each player will toss a piece of string 12″ in length with two golf balls attached to the ends. Top rung is 1 point, middle is 2, and bottom rung will get you 3 points with each team’s points able to cancel the others out until one team reaches 21.
Horseshoes – Who’s Riding Horses?
One game that is centuries old but rarely seen in backyards is good old horseshoes. Although more commonly found in tournament play at local bars and competitions, shoes can very easily be played at home. One reason for this is the fact that most shoes are pitched into “pits” or an area of sand, clay, or some type of material that will allow the shoes to stick rather than bounce. For starters, 2-4 players pitch shoes at stakes that are in the ground 40′ apart. The players do not alternate turns and are trying to get a ringer, or a shoe around the stake. Achieve this and earn 3 points, anything short of a ringer is a dead shoe, unless it is within 6″ of the stake, then, you will get 1 point.
Bocce Ball – Huh?
With modern day games available, who would want to play an ancient game dating back to the roman empire? Well, don’t knock it until you try it…Bocce is very simple and easy to play almost anywhere with 2 people or 2 teams of 2, 3, or 4. There are specific rules and specifications to court dimensions and zones if you want to get technical. But, if you just want to have some recreational fun, it’s simple. There are two sets of 4 balls, a little smaller than a softball, and one smaller ball the size of a golf ball which is referred to as the “jack”. One team bowls or tosses all four of their balls toward the jack, trying to get as close to it as possible. Then, the other team does the same. The team with the closest ball to the jack scores a point along with any other ball that is closer than any of the other team’s closest ball. The game can get real interesting when the jack gets bumped by a teams ball in the middle of play. Play to any predetermined score but the game is typically played to either 7 or 13.
At The End of The Day, What Will They Say?
Not everyone will be interested in some friendly competition but these are just a few really simple alternatives to standing around tweeting each other and your guests posting pics of the food they just ate. Wouldn’t you want them all to remember how much fun they had at your party? All with minimal effort and planning on your part. In fact, a lot of yard games make great DIY projects and can be built and personalized by yourself. There are of course many other outdoor yard games that can be very entertaining but some may feel there is a bit of athleticism required such as volleyball, badminton, croquet, miniature golf, wiffleball, etc. If you have the space and a few jocks that wanna show off their skills, line up a game of wiffleball ball or even kick ball. Holy cow, some of the best laughs are exposed by reintroducing your childhood years. Throw a couple of adult beverages into the mix and who knows what the outcome will be….Regardless, tranquility is not an option when you are hosting a party, so let the games begin!