Yard Games You Need to Try Right Now
It’s been a sluggish past couple of mid-July days around the Omaha area, and while the heat is stifling during the day it cools down enough at night to head out to the backyard for some good ole yard games. It is summer after all, and time should be spent outdoors as much as possible. Whether you’re drinking water, juice or a certain punch with a kick, stay hydrated and have some fun with friends and family at the same time. Most of the games listed can be made if you’re feeling crafty, otherwise a simple online or in-store purchase will get you just what you need.
Yahtzee, Jenga & Dominoes
Yahtzee is a part of board game royalty, and therefore one of the most recognizable. This classic dice rolling game can now be moved from the dining table to the backyard. With multiple ways of making over-sized dice, find a method that works best for you and roll with it. You can even find free templates for giant score sheets to either print or copy onto a dry erase board or chalkboard. Click here for one version.
Another classic that beautifully converts into a yard game is Jenga. If you happen to know someone who has basic carpentry skills and access to a saw (electric or manual) the pieces and parts of this game can quickly come to life. Also, this one might be tough to play in the grass, especially if your yard has any kind of slope to it, so make sure you have a deck or patio you can lay a blanket, towel or rug down and start stacking.
In case you don’t play dominoes regularly, or if you haven’t played in a number of years, click here for refresher directions on how the game goes. Even if you’ve never played this game before it’s an easy concept and you’ll be sure to catch on quick. The nice thing about about these over-sized table games is it doesn’t require a ton of movement, meaning literally anyone and everyone can benefit from a little outdoor entertainment.
Washers & Cornhole (Bags)
The next two are brother-sister yard games and essentially reflect the same concept. The goal is to get your object, either corn bag or washer into the hole. If your object lands either in the box but not the hole as in washers, or on the board in corn hole, you score 1 point. If it lands in the hole you get 3 points and washers and bags cancel points between opponents, meaning if you each end up with a bag on the board it’s a no score round. The first to exactly 21 wins. For further instructions, click here.
I grew up playing this classy cross between pool and golf, so it’s in my book of all-time favorite yard games. With European origins dating back to the 1800’s, it’s about as aristocratic as you can get just shy of cricket. I would suggest purchasing a set, either online or in stores such as L.L.Bean or Walmart. Nice sets will run $100+ but you can usually find a decent alternative for around $50. It's the ideal yard game for enjoying your lawn and the outdoors while sipping on your favorite summer beverage at sundown.
For those two birds, one stone type people who need to work up a faster heart rate while outside, badminton is a great go-to. Similar to volleyball with net requirements and use, but without the need for sand. (And a much gentler version of tennis I must say.) Your local sports store should have what you need, or there’s always the internet. And if you happen to have a volleyball net lying around all you’ll need is at least 4 badminton rackets and a few birdies (maybe a handful for safe measure…these “birdies” do appropriately tend to get stuck in the tops of trees).
Polish horseshoes and tailgating go together like white on rice, but this game can be enjoyed all summer long, long before football season kicks off in the fall. Really all you need is 2 PVC poles, 2 glass bottles and a Frisbee, but there are tutorials on how to make a pole that stands on its own without punching it into the grass. Click here for basic instructions if you need a refresher.