Everybody wants to make their yard the most fun place to hang out, and lawn games are one way to ensure that.
I have compiled to different sets of lawn games that are super awesome. The first set is lawn games that you don’t need any sort of equipment for, but the second is yard games that are fairly cheap but totally worth the investment.
No Equipment Needed
- Freeze Tag
- Stuck In the Mud
- No Bears Are Out Tonight
- Cops and Robbers
Some Equipment Needed
- Kick the Can
- Bocce Ball
- Ultimate Frisbee
- Ring Toss
- Waterballon Launch
- Waterballon Hot Potato
- Giant Jenga
- Life-Size Foosball
- Spike Ball
- Capture the Flag
- Laser Tag
- Ladder Toss
- Water fight
Let’s jump into each of these games and why they make the best of all-time list.
No Equipment Needed
This staple piece of every person’s childhood is the perfect game.
Let them chase each other around the yard all afternoon while the adults sit around and catch up on each other’s lives. Then, once bedtime rolls around, they’re all tuckered out, making an easy evening for the parents.
Do you have to be a child to play this game of touch and go? No, but I’ve yet to meet an adult who feels like they meet the needed energy requirements.
2. Freeze Tag
Also known as “tag with breaks”, freeze tag takes the stakes up a notch. If you get touched by the person who is “it”, instead of becoming it, you have to freeze, and you stay that way until someone who isn’t frozen comes and frees you. If the person who is “it” is able to freeze everyone, they win the game, and they get to pick someone else to be it.
Imagine being a child again and having the strength to play more than one game of tag.
3. Stuck In the Mud
Stuck in the Mud is about as close as you can get to turn a game of tag into a strategy game, and it also has the highest risk of injury.
You’ve been warned.
A person is assigned to be “it”. Everybody runs.
When the person who is it catches someone, they have to freeze where they are and stand there. This is called being “stuck in the mud”. They can be saved, however.
This is where the strategy and possible bodily harm comes in.
You can only free someone by diving between their legs. The catch is, you’re safe when you’re underneath someone. So depending on your timing, you can save yourself by diving underneath somebody, and depending on the rules of the person in charge, you can stay safe by having the person ride you around.
4. No Bears Are Out Tonight
No bears are out tonight, also known as “no ghosts are out tonight”, will require either open space, a pool, or high pain tolerance, as it’s played with your eyes closed.
You assign someone the title of the bear, place them where you want, and then go hide, generally somewhere close-ish. Everyone “including the bear” then closes their eyes and wanders from their place of hiding, and the non-bears chant “No bears are out tonight, daddy scared them all last night, mom hit ’em on the head with a frying pan, no bears are out tonight.”
When a bear (or a ghost) comes into contact with a person, that person becomes a bear/ghost. They then stop chanting and begin to see out the other chanters until everyone has been turned into bears or ghosts.
That’s it, that’s the whole game.
5. Cops and Robbers
Cops and robbers is basically a large game of group tag, and it also has a good chance of never-ending, unless it’s out of tears or frustration. There are two team captains, one for the cops and one for the robbers. They each keep picking people until everyone has been assigned a team. An area is designated as a jail.
The robbers all run from the cops until they are caught and put in jail. They can be rescued, however, by any robbers who are still free. This generally results in frustrated policemen and tired robbers. The game goes on forever until all robbers have been caught and imprisoned.
Some Equipment Needed
6. Kick the Can
Kick the Can is a childhood favorite, reminiscent of nights spent running across acres of land, hiding in the shadows of trees and covering ground using the ditches in my uncle’s alfalfa field, so I wouldn’t be seen.
Use a number ten can if you have one, but an empty gallon of milk or an empty ice cream bucket will work in a pinch (though you can’t kick them as far since they aren’t as heavy).
A person is selected to be “it”. They simultaneously make sure that nobody kicks the can while catching other people. In order to catch someone, they simply have to be seen, not touched, so this game is best played at night.
Once someone is spotted, the person in charge of the can jump over the can and yells “Over the can Greg!” or whatever the spotted person’s name is. Greg then goes to jail but can be rescued by anyone who manages to kick the can before getting caught. The game continues until everyone is caught.
Horseshoes is a classic game that teaches hand-eye coordination, and in my experience, lots and lots of patience. A stake gets pounded into the ground, and you’re left with the goal of getting a horseshoe around said stake.
I’m fairly positive the purpose of this game is solely to get bragging rights over those of us who are completely inept.
Buy a set from Amazon by clicking here!
8. Bocce Ball
Bocce ball is an old, old game that has been played for hundreds of years. Played by tossing colored balls at a target, trying to get as close as you can to the “jack”, it’s a simple game, but fun, and requires strategy. Check it out on Amazon by clicking here.
9. Ultimate Frisbee
Ah, ultimate frisbee, the ultimate family reunion game. Everybody has learned how to play by different rules, which makes learning the game over and over again half the fun! As long as you can throw and catch a frisbee, you’ll be good to go.
10. Ring Toss
Ring toss, or, as I like to call it, the more difficult older brother of horseshoes, is even more elitist, as there’s no open side to catch the ring. You actually have to land over the top of the stake.
If you feel like developing a skill you’ll never use anywhere else, or crying a lot, this is the lawn game for you! Buy a set from Amazon by clicking here.
I didn’t know that this was called anything other than “beanbag toss” until I was in my twenties, bless my heart.
Typically comprised of a board with holes in it that you try to throw beanbags through, buying a cornhole board can be surprisingly expensive.
I would highly recommend making your own cornhole board, as it would be much cheaper than purchasing one.
Volleyball. The bane of my forearms, but so satisfying so play!
As far as official gear goes, you’ll really only need an actual volleyball, since nets can be jimmy-rigged with sheets and things.
If you’re wanting to actually buy a net and poles, you can buy one from Amazon by clicking here!
13. Waterballon Launch
All you need to be successful for this game are two towels and a LOT of water balloons. I can’t honestly be sure what the point of this game is, but it’s a lot of fun.
Using the towel, you and the person holding the other end, create tension to launch the water balloon to the other group, who tries to catch it. The more people you have, the bigger the piece of fabric you can use to launch the balloon, and the bigger the fabric, the more balloons you can launch at a time.
Pointless? Probably, but so much fun!
14. Waterballon Hot Potato
Like the classic egg throw, but without the wasted food item, and let’s be honest, who really wants an egg thrown at them.
A water balloon though? It’s a perfect summer activity!
This game is simple. With a minimum of two people (or more, if you wanted to throw the water balloon around in a circle), you throw the balloon back and forth. Each time it gets successfully caught, you take a predetermined number of steps back. Keep going until someone misses their catch, or it gets thrown too hard and breaks against their hand!
15. Giant Jenga
Did an entire rainforest have to die in order to provide the wood for this game? Unfortunately, yes. One of the downsides of having giant games is the giant environmental impacts that occur as part of their creation.
The best thing you can do it to enjoy playing it, because those trees aren’t ever coming back.
Once you resign yourself to carrying the emotional burden of playing with the corpses of trees, Giant Jenga can be incredibly fun!
With the stakes higher than ever (literally), you can also incur decent bodily damage if this five-foot-tall tower falls on you, which makes playing it quite the adrenaline rush.
Buy this game from Amazon by clicking here!
16. Life-Size Foosball
A giant ball and a ton of brooms (and people) are all you need to make this work. We’ve all played foosball, right? I know that there are people out there who have actually turned it into a skill, rather than madly rushing from peg to peg, trying desperately to hit the ball.
Funnily enough, that doesn’t change when you play foosball using actual people.
Line up like the little people on a foosball pole. One side of the yard is your goal, the other side is the goal of the enemy.
Try to score points for your team without kicking too many people in the shins, knees, or face.
Is it just me, or is badminton the game that the rich people played in the movies I watched growing up?
Badminton is like low stakes tennis because instead of a ball, you’re using something called a “birdie”, which isn’t heavy and doesn’t travel nearly as fast as a tennis ball. The rackets are somewhat similar to tennis rackets, but rounder, and a bit smaller, making precision very important.
You can check it out on Amazon by clicking here!
18. Spike Ball
Spike ball is kind of like foursquare, that game that every kid played in school, but instead of hitting the ball into someone else’s square every time, you have to make sure that whenever you hit the ball, it bounces off this net. If you miss, you’re out!
This game is a favorite of college students due to ease of transport, and the ability to spike the ball really hard into the net, thereby establishing your dominance over your peers.
19. Capture the Flag
Capture the flag, made famous by innumerable camping trips and just as many innumerable lost glowsticks.
This game is pretty simple, but super fun, and will require quite a bit of space.
Each team has an object that the other team is aware of, and can identify. Those objects are then hidden, and each opposing team has to try to find the hidden item before their own is stolen, and without getting captured for trespassing onto “enemy territory”. Super fun, very simple, with lots of nostalgia attached to it.
Outdoor twister can be HEAPS of fun! Sure, you could just bring that mat outside, but what do that when there are so many options that sound like more fun?
If you’re going to be boring but still want to have a little fun, you can spraypaint the shapes onto your lawn, and just go from there.
OR, you could mix it up a little bit.
Use paint. Instead of using spray paint that will dry quickly, use crafting paint as the colored dots. Not only will that make it quite a bit slicker, but any time you fall, you’ll be getting pain EVERYWHERE, including on the people you knock over on your way down. It’s a win-win!
You don’t have any paint? Use shaving cream mixed with food coloring instead. You’ll get the same results, but possibly even more slick, adding a great “new dimension” to your gameplay. May the cleanest player win!
21. Laser Tag
Laser tag is absolutely one of the most fun lawn games I have ever played. With vests that read when they’ve been hit, it’s easy to keep track of your enemies and teammates alike.
Whether you choose to play as teams or as individuals, this is a great game of strategy mixed with action, perfect for those of you who love running.
Bless your hearts. Check this set out on Amazon by clicking here!
22. Ladder Toss
Ladder toss is one of the lawn games that I really like, and think can be legitimately enjoyable for a wide range of age groups. While there is some skill involved, even small children can generally get the balls wrapped around a pole, and that satisfaction can make all the difference when picking a worthwhile game, regardless of who you’re entertaining. Click here to find a set on Amazon!
Croquet was originally introduced to me by Disney’s take on “Alice in Wonderland”, a movie that creeped me out for years longer than it should have. The crazy Queen of Hearts was absolutely obsessed with this game, and once I played it, I”ll admit it was easier to understand why.
Slightly reminiscent of golf, but similar to bocce, croquet is a fun game to learn so long as you have a little patience and some hand-eye coordination.
With the end goal to get your ball through a series of hoops, it’s incredibly rewarding once you’ve hit the end, and you’ve finally won your participation award. Check out a set on Amazon by clicking here!
You may need a slightly larger than an average yard for this game, but that doesn’t make it any less fun! As long as you have a friend or family member with an overzealous kick on YOUR team, everything will go perfectly!
Think baseball, but instead of hitting a small ball with a bat, you’re kicker a larger ball with your foot.
That’s it, that’s the game.
You’ll need enough people for each time to have a pitcher, a kicker, some fielders, and an umpire. Once you’ve got your teams sorted out, you’re good to go!
While I wouldn’t recommend this game in the middle of winter or super early spring, water fights can be one of the best kinds of lawn games, regardless of your age. Whether it be water balloons, squirt guns, or crazy people chasing each other around with hoses, it’s a great way to have fun and cool off.