Growing up you may have heard of, or even played with lawn darts. However, over the years you may have noticed a decrease in this yard game’s use. So is a Lawn Dart ban to blame for the game’s disappearance?
After several incidents that occurred from the use of Lawn Darts, the game was banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the late 1970s. However, the ban was lifted for a short period of time.
If you are looking to return to this nostalgic yard game, you are left with the question, “Are lawn darts still banned?” And for those of you who did not grow up with this popular game, you may be wondering what Lawn Darts even are! In this article, we will look at the current manufacturing of Lawn Darts, review their history and creation, and guide you to purchasing a set of your own Lawn Darts!
The History of Lawn Darts
Whether you grew up with lawn darts, have a limited understanding of the game, or have never even heard of them, you will find the history of Lawn Darts to be both intriguing and exciting!
Lawn Darts: What are they?
First and foremost, what even are lawn darts? A set of lawn darts consisted of 4 darts and 2 targets.
Often referred to as “jarts” or “javelin darts,” lawn darts are essentially an enlarged version of the popular bar game. A lawn dart is a large, 12 inch long weighted spike that is thrown into the air at a round target placed further down the yard. The targets included in a lawn darts set were often just a plastic ring
How to Play
Lawn darts can be played with two or more people, usually split off into two teams.
The gameplay of lawn darts is extremely similar to that of other common yard games such as horseshoes, darts, and cornhole.
In general, if you are playing Lawn Darts as a team you stand across from your teammate and one of your competitors stands on the same side as you. Once the competitors have back far enough away from the target area, players take turns throwing their designated darts underhand at the target rings. However, there are different rules of play depending on the version of the game you are playing. The two different versions of Lawn Darts are known as Traditional and Handly Cup Style.
Traditional Lawn Dart’s Rules are very similar to the rules of cornhole.
In order to score points in the Traditional version of lawn darts, you will need to land the dart inside the target ring. For each dart that lands inside the target ring, the team earns 1 point.
However, in the event both you and your competitor land a dart in the same target ring your scores cancel each other out and neither receives the points.
If your lawn darts set includes both a larger and a smaller target ring, you can assign different points values to the different rings (a dart that lands withing the smaller target usually has the higher amount of points allotted to it).
Handly Cup Style Rules
The Handly Cup Style is much more similar to the rules and gameplay of horseshoes.
Rather than only counting the lawn darts that land in the ring, points are also decided based on the darts that land closer to the ring than any of your opponent’s darts.
For darts landing inside the ring, your team earns 3 points. For those darts that are closer to the ring than any of your opponent’s darts, you receive 1 point. In the event that both teams land a dart inside the ring, no points are given for darts that landed outside the ring.
In both versions of Lawn Darts, teams play until one has reached a score of 21 points or more. Another similarity between the two styles is that any darts that have not stuck into the ground do not count for any points.
The Creation of Lawn Darts
There are two different theories of where lawn darts originated from.
Like many things, bigger is better. This statement is the basis of the first origin story for lawn darts. Darts has been a common game played in bars and clubs ever since the game’s creation in the 14th century.
The game was originally created as a military pastime for English soldiers. As time passed, the game grew both in popularity and size until the late 1960s when Lawn Darts became one of the most common lawn games.
The second theory for where lawn darts originated takes us much further into history than the creation of a dart’s board. Instead, historians believe that the origin of the game of lawn darts dates back as early as 500 BCE.
Originally called Plumbata, the ancient Greeks and Romans were the inventors of what today we call Lawn Darts. While they also used large dart-like objects, the Greeks and Romans threw their “plumbatas” as weapons of war, rather than as a fun family game.
With a plumbata in hand, regular foot and shield soldiers could achieve the same kind of attack of that of an archer.
Banned or Not?
No matter what the true origin of Lawn Darts, there is no doubt that the game was extremely popular in the twentieth century and continues to turn heads even today.
However, before we can roll out the rings and start tossing darts, we need to know if Lawn Darts have been banned or not.
The short answer is yes… and no…
Shortly after beginning production in the 1950s, reports of injuries caused by lawn darts came pouring in. Once there had been enough reports that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) could no longer stand idly by, they issued a ban on the product in 1970.
The ban restricted manufacturers from selling more units and urged consumers to literally destroy the units they had already purchased.
However, as would be expected, the manufacturers disapproved of the Lawn Dart ban and came to an agreement with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The agreement stated that manufacturers would no longer sell Lawn Dart sets as toys and would include a warning label.
After the ban was lifted, the game of Lawn Darts quickly returned to the most popular lawn game list.
Less than a decade after returning to the market, in the springtime of 1987 a seven-year-old girl was struck in the head by a lawn dart thrown by her brother’s friend.
Sadly, she died from her injuries. Her father, David Snow, took on the duty of getting the dangerous game banned from stores once again.
The argument he brought to the Consumer Product Safety Commission was that not only had 6,100 people been injured by lawn darts since their reinstatement, but that a warning label was not going to stop children, such as his daughter Michelle, from hurting themselves or others with lawn darts.
Not only was this trend of injuries occurring in the United States but in other countries such as Canada.
After only a year of lobbying, the Consumer Product Safety Commission once again banned Lawn Darts from being manufactured. Canada followed suit banning Lawn Darts only a year later in 1989.
In 2017 a new, dull version of Lawn Darts began being sold. A few other versions trying to keep this nostalgic game alive have ben sold using foam or plastic tips rather than heavy metal spikes.
Lawn Dart Buying Guide
Since the classic, metal-tipped, spiked lawn darts are still banned from production, purchasing one of these sets will be impossible. However, there are several modified versions that are sure to bring both joy and competition to your family’s next barbeque.
Modified Versions of Lawn Darts
To help you find the perfect version of lawn darts for your family’s get together, below are five different sets guaranteed to be the highlight of your party.
Triumph Backyard Dart Set
The Triumph Backyard Dart Set includes 4 darts and 2 target rings, just like the original version. The darts in this set come with rounded tips made out of a weighted rubber.
Easily, and safely, store all the pieces of this lawn dart sets in the carrying bag included with your purchase!
Get your Triumph Backyard Dart Set now!
HAKOL Lawn Darts Game
This set of Lawn Darts brought to you by HAKOL is sure to bring you fun not only in the daytime but at night as well!
For around 20 dollars you get 4 darts, 2 target rings, and a storage bag, all of which glow in the dark! With this new twist on the classic family game, you are sure to have fun no matter what time of day.
Find a glow in the dark HAKOL Lawn Darts Game for yourself by clicking here!
FLARTS by GIGGLE N GO
One of the difficulties with Lawn Darts is that the game is both a seasonal and weather dependent game. In the winter or the rain, a normal game of lawn darts ends up sitting uselessly on the shelf; however, with FLARTS by GIGGLE N GO, you can take your game of Lawn Darts inside without risk of breaking your favorite vase!
FLARTS- or Floor Darts- puts a fun family twist on both the game of darts and lawn darts. Rather than using plastic rings as targets, there is a 2 foot by 2 foot fabric sheet that is staked down for a target.
On one side of the fabric is a classic walls darts board and on the other is a version sure to keep the kids interested in the game. On the other side of the fabric, you can choose to have either a monster dartboard or a unicorn with several targets of different points.
No matter what the season get a FLARTS set by GIGGLE N GO to use with your family!
Maranda Enterprises Classic Lawn Darts
Out of all of our picks for versions of lawn darts, the Maranda Enterprises Classic Lawn Darts set looks the most like the original version of the game.
In this set, you receive 4 darts and 2 target rings. The Maranda Enterprises darts are thinner than most modern lawn darts and have a soft tip to ensure the safety of all players and spectators.
However, because of the design and structure of the darts, they will not remain standing on grass. This means you will have to count every throw for points rather than just the darts that remain standing.
If you want to get the darts to stand up during gameplay, consider taking your set to the beach! When the darts hit the sand they are more likely to remain standing than on grass alone.
Click here to get your own Maranda Enterprises Classic Lawn Darts set!
ROPODA LED Lawn Darts
Another unique version of the classic lawn darts game is the ROPODA LED Lawn Dart set. Similar to the HAKOL Lawn Darts mentioned above, this lawn darts set is specifically designed to be played in the dark.
The only big difference between the two sets is that rather than simply glowing like the HAKOL Lawn Darts, the ROPODA LED Lawn Darts set lights up at the push of a button. To make the game even more fun, not only do the darts light up, but the target rings do too!
The ROPODA LED Lawn Dart set comes with 4 light-up lawn darts and 4 light-up target rings each built to endure whatever your family can “throw” at it.
If you are looking to add a little bit of spice to your next evening barbeque, then the ROPODA LED Lawn Darts is exactly what you are looking for!
Be the highlight of the next neighborhood barbeque with your own ROPODA LED Lawn Dart set!
Champion Sports Lawn Darts for Kids
Guaranteed to land upwards every single time, Champion Sports has created a version of lawn darts perfect for children of all ages.
Play in teams or just one on one! Too cold outside to play? Take your game of lawn darts inside! The Champion Sports Lawn Darts for Kids set is also soft enough to be used both indoors and outdoors.
This lawn darts set rings true to its names. While kids might enjoy this version, adults might be looking for a more competitive and larger set for their gameplay.
Grab a Champion Sports Lawn Darts for your kids by clicking here!
If you look up “lawn darts for sale,” chances are several of the original sets will pop up on your browser; however, remember that there are still restrictions to selling any of these lawn dart sets.
Selling an original lawn darts set is deemed illegal due to the Hazardous Products Act. This means if you are looking at purchasing an authentic set from someone, the sale would be illegal.
Stay on the safe side of both the law and the darts by purchasing a newer, modified version of lawn darts. While they will not be an exact replica of the classic game, a modified version can still bring back some of that 1960s nostalgia to your lawn.