With winter weather finally in the rearview, it’s time to venture outside. Not much further than the front yard, of course, because we still need to keep our social distance. But at least your family can still have fun together, so this might be the ideal time to add a new game into the mix. (Let’s face it, cornhole is played out.)
Below I’ve rounded up some of the coolest outdoor games you can get right now. Inclusion on this list is based on either my personal experience with the game or overwhelmingly positive reviews from customers. If you have games of your own to recommend, share them in the comments!
Kubb (pronounced “koob”) has been a Broida family favorite for years. It’s great for all ages, because all you have to do is toss a wood dowel and try to knock over wood blocks. It’s a little bit horseshoes, a little bit chess, incredibly fun for two-on-two play (though team sizes can vary if you like). And unlike a lot of the games here, it can be played even on super-windy days.
GoSports offers both regulation and backyard versions, the latter simply a bit smaller and priced $10 less. Either way, you’ll need a reasonably spacious yard in which to play.
Kan Jam is a really fun two-on-two game. The “Kan” is a hard-plastic bucket of sorts, one with a slot in the front. The goal is to fling a flying disc through that slot or into the top opening. If it’s off course, your teammate can try to swat it into the Kan midflight. You get varying points depending on what happens. Then it’s the other team’s turn.
This is best for families with older kids, in part because it takes some coordination to fling accurately, and in part because Kan Jam can be hard on the hands; you’re constantly swatting at a fast-moving, hard-plastic disc.
I don’t know the Bottle Bash origin story, but I’d guess it started with a fence post and a bottle: “Bet you can’t throw that Frisbee and knock the bottle off!” This two-on-two game comes with two plastic posts (which are easy to stake into the ground), two plastic bottles that rest atop them and one flying disc.
The goal: knock that bottle off. Meanwhile, the defending team tries to catch the disc — and the bottle, if you’re able to hit it. We liked the handy score-keeping slider on each pole but found the game more challenging than expected: Even at the minimum 20-foot distance, hitting that pole or bottle isn’t easy. Younger kids might get easily frustrated.
The reason cornhole is so popular is that people love trying to toss an object into a hole. RampShot takes that idea, widens the hole and replaces the beanbags with rubber balls. Now it’s a team game, with your teammate trying to catch the ball if it bounces off the surface and an opposing teammate trying to catch a rebound. Very simple, tons of fun.
However, while RampShot requires four players, only three are active during each round. The rounds go pretty quickly, but if you want something where everyone is participating all the time, pick something else.
Spikeball is hugely popular, condensing elements of volleyball down to a small, circular space. Instead of hitting a large ball over a straight net, you’re smacking a softer, grapefruit-size ball onto a bouncy, ringed one. It’s fun, but quite challenging.
And be prepared, parents: This is a pretty physical game, one that requires fast movement and probably some diving if you want to win points. Consequently, this might be best for just the kids, although it does require four players.
Four square is the popular playground game involving a kickball and four chalked squares on the ground. Crossnet takes that game airborne, with a four-way volleyball net and ground boundaries that mark the squares. Once it’s set up, you literally play four square, but with a volleyball. The net can be set at three different regulation heights, so the game is suitable for kids as well as adults — though obviously it does require enough skill to hit a ball over a net.
It also requires a bit of time to set up and take down, so ideally it’s something you’d leave set up in the yard. But it’s well worth the effort. This is one of the few games with individual, rather than team, scoring, and although only four people can play per round, it’s easy to rotate in additional players. (In other words, Crossnet works well with larger families.)
Unfortunately, at this writing, the game is sold out at Amazon, and the company’s website indicates that direct orders won’t ship until early July.
OK, there’s my list. What game(s) do you think you might try with the family?
This article was previously published.
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