No barbecue, cookout, or family picnic is complete without the addition of a yard game or two. In this article, we’ll be detailing nine yard games that are sure to be a fun feature of your next gathering. All of these games are family friendly, and suited to most ages, but we’ve made sure to detail the ones that may be best for older players. Let’s get started!
Washers is an essential game for any barbecue or cookout. It’s very simple: distance the two squares about 15-20 feet apart and separate into two teams. Each team throws three washers in hopes of landing it in the square (one point) or even better, the cylinder in the middle of the box (3 points). The first to 21 wins!
This set in particular is made from birch wood, a durable alternative to cheaper woods like pine or plastic. The two boxes also connect to one another for easy storage and portability. The washer is a rubber coated metal, making them slightly safer than uncoated washers. This game is best suited to players ages ten and up, and accommodates 2-4 players.
Cornhole is probably one of the simplest games ever made, but is a cookout favorite and takes some practice. It’s very similar to washers: split into two teams and throw bean bags in an attempt to land them on the board (1 point) or toss them through the hole, which is called a cornhole (3 points). If a player from the opposite team also gets a cornhole, the two cancel each other out, resulting in no points for either team. First to 21 wins!
This cornhole set is specifically designed for portability. It’s made from PVC and nylon, and is collapsable and comes with a carrying case. This is a budget-friendly alternative to a costly wooden cornhole set, and is also significantly more portable, making this the perfect game for picnics or tailgates. This game could easily be played by all ages, and accommodates 2-4 players.
Croquet is a classic yard game that would make a great addition to your next family game night or grill-out. It is best played in a grassy area, so this would not be a tailgate or beach game, but would be perfect in the backyard or the park. It can get a little complicated, so here’s a link to a simple rundown of the game if you aren’t familiar. https://www.woodmallets.com/how-to-play-croquet/
This croquet set is a perfect mid-range set. It comes with all the essentials: 6 wooden mallets, 6 balls, 2 wooden stakes and 9 metals wickets. It also comes with a carrying case for portability. This game can be a little complicated for younger players, but ages 12 and up should get the hang of it, and can accommodate up to six people.
Rubber Horseshoe Set
Horseshoes is another classic and simple yard game. You have two teams pitching (or throwing) horseshoes at a stake in the ground, trying their best to get a ringer (where the horseshoe loops around the stake) or at least within six inches of the stake. If the opponent also gets a ringer, the ringers cancel each other out (much like cornhole).
This set in particular includes two rubber mats with detachable pegs (for portability) and includes four brightly colored rubber horseshoes. This isn’t a professional set by any means, but it is perfect for older children 10 & up and adults alike. It can easily be transported. The rubber design makes this set an all ages game, and can accommodate 4 players.
This is a unique game that is very similar to darts, but much safer for all ages. The concept is very simple: on each turn, you try to score as many points with a predetermined amount of rings. This game originated as a bar game in Australia, and nowadays variations of this game exist in bars everywhere.
This game may be designed as an indoor game, but can easily be hung outside for your barbecue. The rubber rings make this game safe for children, and the concept is easy for kids and adults to jump right in and play. It’s best played by two players.
Jenga quickly became an all around favorite. This oversized Jenga set is a fun addition to any outdoor party. The concept is just like traditional Jenga, just enlarged! Players take turns removing one block at a time and re-stacking the block at the top. Whoever removes the block that makes the tower fall loses! This game starts out at 2 ½ feet high, but can end up around 5 feet by the time you get to re-stacking.
This game could be dangerous and difficult for smaller children, as the height is not only hard for them to reach but can be harmful when the blocks fall, even though the concept is very straight forward. Ages 12 and up should be good to go, and while designed for two players, you could easily do two teams of two and take turns removing blocks.
Connect 4 is a classic table game, and this extra-large yard game version is perfect for family gatherings. The object: simply line up four of your colored tokens in a row, whether horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
This set is perfect for all ages, and is traditionally played by two players at a time.
Bucketball is the family that game consists of two sets of six buckets spread about 15-20 feet apart. Players take turns tossing their balls into the cups, and once you make one, that bucket is removed. The first to score in all six buckets wins!
This game is a perfect beach or tailgate game, it is probably the most versatile game on the list with regard to portability and where you can play. It includes six total balls: a set of 2 bucket pong balls, a set of 2 hybrid balls, and a set of 2 tailgate balls. It also includes an inflatable frame, turning this yard game into a pool game in a matter of minutes. This game is an all ages game, and can be played with 2-4 players.
Ladder ball is a great yard game that is also easy to disassemble and reassemble, making it a great picnic game and easy storage. It’s very straightforward: players take turns tossing all three of their bolas (balls attached to strings) onto the ladder. The top rung is worth 3 points, the middle rung worth 2, and the bottom run worth 1 point. The first to 21 wins!
This game is an all ages game, and is traditionally played with two people, but you could easily play on teams of two, where you take turns tossing the bolas.
Any of these games would be a great addition to your yard game collection. My overall pick if you had to start with one game, and a personal favorite is the game Washers. Easy for all ages, but can be fun and competitive for those who like to take games seriously. If you have a big gathering you could do tournament style, or if you have a few friends, it adds great entertainment for all. Here is a link to making your own washer game if you are on the DYI type.