Looking for some backyard games for kids, perhaps some classic old fashioned backyard games? Then you’ll love this list of easy backyard games to play in the backyard that your whole family just might enjoy, even adults!
We moved into our home about 3 years ago, and the first year we lived in it we had a big, wide-open backyard covered in grass and dirt.
Then a family friend mentioned on Facebook that she was getting rid of their family playscape, as her 6 kids had all outgrown it.
At the time, my husband and I had been considering getting some kind of playscape for the kids as a sort of outdoor gift for kids but we hadn’t gotten around to buying anything yet.
So, on an impulse, I told her that we’d love to take the playscape! There are the pictures she shared of it on FB:
My friend had her three teenage boys disassemble the playscape and load it into a trailer and bring it over to our house. It came with no manual, no instructions, and had some wear and tear from 11 years of play.
After months of hard work, my husband rebuilt the playscape and added some improvements. This is what it looks like now:
Ever since we’ve had the playscape, our family spends way more time outside playing in the backyard than we used to.
All my kids love to swing and look for any excuse for me to go out there and push them, “higher, higher!”
Not everyone has a playscape, and not everyone has a super big backyard, but as the weather turns cooler, there are still ways you can have some family fun outside!
Playing outside in the backyard is a great way to bond as a family and spend time together.
Here is my list of the best backyard games for family fun.
Backyard Games for Kids
You can buy a Bocce Ball set on Amazon for around $35, though you may be able to find a set cheaper elsewhere.
I like this one from Amazon because you can choose either hard resin balls or soft rubber balls to play with.
If your kids are anything like mine, you’re going to want a rubber ball option so no one gets clocked in the head accidentally!
This Bocce Ball set comes with 8 balls, the “jack”, a measuring tape, and a bag to keep everything in.
Here’s a quick description of how to play Bocce ball in case you are unfamiliar with this backyard game:
- Figure out what the boundaries are for where you’re going to play.
- Split up into two teams.
- Throw out the jack (the white ball the set comes with) into a prescribed zone. The first team gets two chances to throw the jack into the “zone”.
- The first team tries to roll, throw, or bowl their bocce balls to try and get it as close to the jack as possible. They do this until all their balls have been thrown.
- Then the second team does the same.
- Use the measuring tape to see whose balls are closest to the jack, and that team gets the points.
- Continue playing, switching out who goes first, until a team gets 12 points.
My husband and I almost always play croquet when we go to Arizona to visit his Aunt and cousins.
They have a huge backyard, and it’s a game that adults and kids can all play together.
This croquet set on Amazon comes with a nice bag to put everything in and is under $35.
Croquet can be played by 2, 4, or 6 players. It’s almost like playing mini-golf, except that you have to hit your balls through the hoops instead of into a hole.
Throughout the game, you hit your ball(s) through six hoops placed around the course (yard). You have to go in a certain order and your ball has to be hit through the hoops in the right sequence.
You finish the course by hitting the balls against the center peg. The team that completes the course first wins.
My husband’s cousin likes to make it tricky and place the hoops in hard to reach angles and spots, but you can make it as easy or hard as you want to!
You play ladder toss (aka ladder ball, ladder golf, ball rope, hillbilly golf) by throwing two balls connected by a string onto a ladder. You can make your ladder with white PVC pipes, or use a ladder you already have, or go out and buy an official ladder toss set if you want to.
You toss the bolos (the two balls connected by a string) onto the ladder from about 15 feet away. You can obviously make it a closer distance for young kids.
Before the game starts, you can decide how many points will be awarded for each rung of the ladder.
Split up into two teams, and try to score more than the other team. You can also try to knock down your opponent’s ball when you toss the bolos. This is a relatively easy game to learn that all ages will enjoy.
Don’t forget about the many hours of enjoyment a Frisbee can bring!
You can go to Walmart, Target, Amazon, or even the Dollar Store and find a cheap Frisbee to throw around.
The nice thing about throwing a Frisbee is that you can toss it for as long or as short of a time as you feel like. You can try to throw the Frisbee across the yard, or you can do short tosses to your child.
Some kids can get frustrated throwing a Frisbee since they don’t always go in a straight line, so check out these Frisbees that are specially designed for young kids if the one you have is complicating your family fun.
RELATED: How to Extend Outdoor Fun for Kids
Corn Hole (Bean Bag Toss)
You don’t need any fancy equipment to play cornhole. All you really need is some kind of platform that has a hole in it and some bean bags.
You can easily make your own by following this tutorial or just grab a big piece of cardboard and make it easy. Kids really don’t care how fancy it is as long as you’re spending time with them.
Give your kids some bean bags and take turns trying to get your bean bag into the hole at the end. A bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point.
Play continues until a team or player reaches the score of 21.
When it’s hot outside, don’t be afraid to get a little wet!
I really like these because the water can travel a long distance, and they’re harder to break than the little plastic cheap water pistols yet still very affordable.
Too cold to play with water? Invest in some high quality nerf guns for some backyard family fun.
If you don’t want your kids to shoot at each other, then grab some butcher paper and draw something funny on it like a monster and tack it up on the fence for some target practice.
RELATED: Keep Kids Active Outdoors Longer
You play horseshoes with two teams using four horseshoes and two stakes.
Each team takes turns tossing the horseshoes at the stakes in the ground, which are usually placed about 40 feet apart.
There’s also this super cute inflatable spider that comes with four rings for under $10!
Spikeball or Slammo or Spyderball
Want to play volleyball but don’t have room to put up a net in your backyard? How about tennis?
Spikeball is a backyard game which kinda lets you play both.
I read this blog article all about the differences between the games and why its called so many different things. Check it out if you’re interested!
In order to play, you really have to buy an official set, like this highly reviewed one on Amazon, as it’s difficult to make one on your own.
You play spikeball with two teams of two, always needing four players.
A player starts a point by serving the ball down onto the Spikeball net so it ricochets up at his opponents. The returning team has up to 3 hits between them (think bump, set, spike) to return the ball back onto the net. The rally continues until a team can’t return the ball onto the net within their three touches.
This may be too complicated to play with really little kids, but sounds like it would be a lot of fun for kids aged 7 and older.
Talk about an old-fashioned backyard game!
Kids need a lot of help with hand-eye coordination when they’re little, and P.E. doesn’t always give them enough time to practice so take the time to do it in your own backyard!
You can take turns throwing and catching, form a circle and throw the ball around, or try to invent the funkiest kind of throw (like under the legs, behind the back, etc) for more backyard fun.
Make sure if you’re playing catch with toddlers or babies running around you opt for a softer ball that can’t seriously hurt anyone.
You don’t need an ice rink to play hockey!
Check out this nice set from Amazon for about $30. The hockey sticks are adjustable so they can fit kids of various sizes, and it comes with 1 street hockey ball and 2 foam balls.
Try to get the ball into the goal using the hockey sticks!
Baseball Bats and T-Balls
Kids love swinging things around, so why not give them something to swing with that’s safe?
If you have really little kids, then this Little Tikes T-Ball Set is a perfect size for kids younger than 5.
If your kids are a little older, than you might want to try out this baseball set. If your backyard is kind of small, you may want to take the balls and bat to a nearby park if you’re worried about hitting balls into your neighbor’s yard.
We like to play kickball with our kids in the backyard.
All you need is a kickball like this and something to mark your bases with. Kids as young as 2 understand the concept of kicking the ball, even if they don’t quite get the whole “running around the bases” part of it.
You can modify the rules so that you only get out if the ball tags you below the waist to avoid head injuries or tears.
No matter how big your family is, soccer is a great game that involves everyone and helps kids work on their coordination. Before enrolling your kids in a soccer league and spending money on uniforms and shin guards, kick the ball around with them outside and see if they enjoy it!
A tetherball set is easy to play with and can provide endless entertainment.
How to Play Tetherball from WikiHow: You divide the “court” into two sides, one for each player, that should evenly divide the pole in half.
Your goal when playing tetherball is to hit the ball with your hand in a way that gets it past your opponent so that the rope winds completely around the tetherball pole while staying on your side.
More Ideas for Backyard Family Fun
Not all of these are doable in any backyard, but if you live in a neighborhood or a suburban area, these are great ways to interact with your kids:
- Take a walk together
- Draw with sidewalk chalk
- Blow bubbles (a bubble machine is super fun!)
- Wash the car
- Ride bikes
- Play Disc Golf at a nearby course (or get a portable basket)
- Play outdoor mini-golf
- Visit parks around your area
- Archery for kids
There are still so many more things you can do outside in your own backyard and have fun doing, so I want to know, what games do you like to play with your kids in the backyard?