Summertime, and the living is easy! At least, we hope you have a calendar full of travel, relaxation, picnics, ballgames — whatever it is that makes the season a joy for you.
One way to add to the many outdoor opportunities is to bring on games to entertain everyone in your circle. Here are some fantastic ones — new and traditional — that we can recommend, and you can get for relatively little.
Get fit and bolster your balance with a slackline — which can be rigged up between two trees wherever you may find yourself. The kit for this 50-foot slackline by TrailBlaze includes a balance line for getting started. Kids ands adults (up to 300 pounds) will enjoy the “high wire” challenge — and according to the sellers, the practice benefits your core, balance and mental fitness. Spice up your next picnic, or use it for a good backyard workout.
Roundnet is a high-energy game for every age — sort of a cross between volleyball and four-square. Instead of hitting the ball over the net, players (usually it’s two-on-two) return the ball by bouncing it off the round net, which can be set up pretty much anywhere. The roundnet set pictured here goes by the brand name Slammo, but Spikeball is a major vendor. This game is now mainstream — get good at it, and compete in the company’s roundnet tournament series.
3. Giant yard dice
Take any dice game into the great out of doors with these giant wooden dice. It’s as suitable for tailgating as is for a wedding reception.
4. Beanbag toss
Whether you’re trying to entertain adults at a garden party or small children, the beanbag toss is a safe bet tradition. There are many to choose from — and you may have one in your garage or attic that you just need to dust off. The Triumph Sports set featured in the picture adds a layer of complexity with multiple holes in the target boards and two types of projectiles — bean bags and plastic washers.
5. Bocce ball
Bocce ball can be played by two single players pitted against one another, or by two teams with two, three, or four players each.
It’s a little like another lawn game, croquet, but better in that it has fewer parts. You can get a set starting for less than $20 on Amazon.
6. Giant yard pong
You have to admit that beer pong played in the traditional manner is not really a sport. But its cousin, giant yard pong, comes a lot closer — and is a great option for tailgating, barbecues and picnics where the adults plan to drink beer regardless. Check out this game to spice up your next outing.
7. Giant kickball
Throw a ball of any kind into a crowd of people, and they will figure out a game to play with it. This giant ball from Wicked Big Sport offers a fun twist for kickball (or really, anything), especially if you have space in the car. If space in your transport is limited, throw in a traditional beach ball and blow it up when you get where you’re going.
8. Laser tag
We all know the game of tag — it probably goes back to the beginning of human play. Laser tag is the tech-age version — a perfect after-dark game for adults or children whether car camping or enjoying a picnic in the park. Wrist monitors register when a laser has “tagged” its wearer.
9. Backyard bowling
Who wants to be in a bowling alley that smells of feet and greasy pizza when there’s outdoor bowling? It’s cheap too — with only the cost of a set of balls and bowling pins. This one has balls with finger holes, but there’s a wide array of options.
OK, a hammock is not exactly a game, but it can make way for great summer activities — say snuggling with a kid or sweetheart, or a nap for Grandpa after a vigorous game of bocce ball. There are many strong, lightweight versions now that are easy to transport and set up. Check here for a wide array of types and prices.
What games do you love to play in summer? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.