The 3 Week Diet

5 Outdoor Games Your Family Will Love This Summer

With the dog days of summer having officially started, family outdoor games are back on the agenda. With all of the uncertainty of weather this time of year, one thing is certain: more families head to their backyards and local parks to enjoy the warm weather together.

Here’s a look at some great family activities perfect for the unpredictable summer weather.

Bocce Ball

If you’re not familiar with Bocce Ball then today is your lucky day. This is a fun, simple game that can be played by as few as two players, or two teams of two, three, or four. It may require a bit more space than the average yard, with the field of play roughly 90 feet long by 10 feet wide.

Inexpensive bocce sets produce the best results, and contain nine balls. One ball, called the jack, is smaller than the other eight, which are divided into two sets of four, differentiated by color.

Players stand at one end of the field and will roll their bocce balls to the other end, attempting to hit the jack, or, like horseshoes, get as close as possible. The first team rolls the jack downfield, stopping it in a zone that is approximately 15-feet in length, with the far edge of the zone roughly three feet from the end of the field.

Once the jack is set, the team that went first bowls first. Then the other team bowls. From there on out, the team or player with a ball furthest from the jack continues to bowl until one side or the other has used up its four balls. The team or player with the remaining balls bowls them out.

The team with their ball closest to the jack is the only team that can score any points in a given “frame.” They score one point for each ball closer than any opponent ball, for a minimum of one to a maximum of four. A typical game ends at 7 to 13 points depending on what teams decide at the beginning.

Bocce Ball is a very fun game, doesn’t require a ton of skill to enjoy, and can be played by children and adults of all ages.


Wiffle Ball

Wiffle Ball, also known as wiffleball, is essentially baseball played with a plastic bat, a plastic ball with holes in it, and no gloves.
This is a great game for families for a variety of reasons. For starters, the bat and ball are made of lightweight plastic, making them easy to handle for smaller children. It’s also a great game for the backyard because the design of the ball and bat necessarily lead to restricted travel of the ball, even when well hit.

Teams can be comprised with as few as two players each, up to five or six depending on your available space. While it’s great to set any rules you desire, wiffleball should essentially conform to baseball with the same rules that apply to balls, strikes, running the bases, outs, and of course scoring.



Croquet is one of the oldest and most popular recreational lawn games. In fact, it dates back to the mid-1850s and has remained very popular ever since.

While there are some rules that should be observed, as a family game in the park or backyard the primary goal is to have fun. Croquet comes with mallets, balls, hoops, and wickets that designate the start and finish points.

In short, each player, with a colored ball and mallet to match, must navigate their ball through the course by hitting it in the proper direction with the mallet. Smaller children can easily be helped by older children or parents.

One of the key pieces of strategy with croquet is hitting the ball of an opposing player. You can take dead aim and run your ball into theirs, or you can bump your ball snug up against theirs and then force theirs away by placing a foot on your ball to hold it in place and then smacking it with the mallet. The force of the strike will cause your opponent’s ball to careen off the course, adding a few strokes while they get their ball back into play.

Smaller children may not like this form of competition so many parents avoid this part of the game so no feelings are hurt. For older children and adults, however, it’s game on. Smack that ball into oblivion!


Badminton dates back to the mid-18th century, but came into prominence a century later in England. It is a racquet game with similarities to tennis, table tennis (ping pong), and volleyball. The game requires a net, racquets, and shuttlecock, which is a feathered projectile with a weighted end designed to be struck by the face of the racquet.

Like tennis and ping pong, badminton can be played by two individuals on opposing sides, or teams of two players. The single-player game is faster and more aggressive as each player has to return every hit, every time.

Inexpensive badminton sets can be found at your local department stores and come complete with everything necessary to start playing the game with minimal setup. The shuttlecock can but hit with great force and can travel at a high velocity when hit in an overhand motion similar to tennis. For families with smaller children, or those looking to play a more casual game, restricting the play to underhand hits only can make the game more enjoyable and can result in longer sustained volleys.

Badminton is great for the backyard or the park as it doesn’t require a large amount of space.



Is there any other outdoor game that speaks of summertime than horseshoes? This is one of those games that run the gamut from the very casual to the very competitive. The equipment also comes in a wide range of materials, including plastic and rubber compounds as well as the more traditional metal versions made from aluminum, iron, or steel.

The play is straightforward. Drive two stakes into the ground 40 feet apart; or closer if your want a more casual game or have smaller children. Each team, consisting of one or two players each, takes alternating turns tossing their horseshoes at the vertical stake. Older children and parents can help the youngsters toss their horseshoes. For games including smaller children, metal horseshoes are ill-advised. Your local sporting goods store will have a variety of sets from which to choose.

The goal is to get a “ringer,” which means the horseshoe complete encircles the stake. If you don’t happen to toss a ringer, no worries; you can still score a point if the horseshoe lands within six-inches of the stake. This includes “leaners” or when a horseshoe comes to rest leaning against the stake.

Score two points for a ringer and one point each for non-ringer that meets the above criteria. A typical game continues until one team has reached 21 points and is ahead by at least by two points.

Summertime is a time of family fun and memory-making. The sun is out, and the parks just beg for people to come and enjoy them. Get out there and enjoy some fresh air and play a game or two with friends and family. Strike up the BBQ grill and make a day of it!

Do you have any favorite family outdoor games you play in summer? Please let me know by commenting below, or via Twitter!


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