Summer is a time for picnics, barbecues, and backyard sports games.
Growing up, and still today, my two favorite backyard sports games are horseshoes and bocce. The great thing about horseshoes is that if you have the equipment (2 stakes and 4 horseshoes) all you need is a little space (grass or dirt it doesn’t matter). Also, the equipment is available for both children (lighter, rubber horseshoes) and adults (competition weight metal horseshoes). This allows the kids to challenge the adults. The great thing is that it’s a game that kids can grow with and continue to enjoy. Today, oh so many years later, I still throw the occasional horseshoe at the company picnic, and still toss the occasional ringer.
My other favorite backyard game is bocce. This is due to the fact that my grandparents had a bocce court in part of their yard (next to their vegetable garden). Unlike horseshoes, bocce requires a bit of strategy. Do you simply try to roll your ball closer to the pallino (the smaller target ball) or knock your opponents ball out of the way. Like horseshoes, this is another game that you can grow with. As you get a little older, kids start to plan their shots more carefully, which always makes for more spirited competition as they start to out-think the adults.
Aside from these personal favorites, other backyard sports games that can provide hours of fun and entertainment are (in order of competitiveness) Frisbee, croquet, badminton and volleyball.
Who doesn’t love to throw a Frisbee. It is the quintessential backyard (and beach) game. This can be both purely recreational, or intensely competitive (if you’re with a group of ultimate Frisbee or Frisbee golf players). More often than not, a simple Frisbee catch is a fun way to pass the time, and possibly impress your friends/relatives with the many different ways you can throw and catch it.
Croquet is another classic game that is quite a bit of fun. This will take a little planning since you have to have enough space (and not interfere with any other picnic activities) and set the wickets up properly. This is a fun way for you to find out who your friends really are, especially when your ball lands next to another players. Do they simply knock your ball a few feet so they can make the next wicket, or do they send your ball flying across the yard into the bushes. This is another game that is highly entertaining with little kids who can barely hold the mallet, watching them virtually drag the ball around the yard and through the wickets.
The most competitive of families will eventually end up playing either badminton or volleyball. Although I suspect volleyball to be the more popular of the two, there’s something to be said for jumping in the air and smashing the birdie at one of your friends. It is also much less painful than diving to dig a well placed volleyball spike, and makes just as entertaining a story later on.
So whether you’re just looking for some relaxing and casual fun, or a little more competition, there is a backyard sports game suitable for any family barbecue, picnic or friendly get together.
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