The best yard games to cure summer break boredom

Students eagerly await summer break throughout the school year, though when that exciting time actually comes, it’s easy to get bored. Sometimes the best cure for summer blues is to take things outside and get some vitamin D. 


However… throwing a football with Dad can get old pretty fast. Luckily, game developers know that too, and have come up with some addictive yard games that’ll keep you outside until the sun goes down. Here are a few of our favorites:

cornhole board

Cornhole: If you’ve ever gone to a barbecue or any other outdoor gathering, you’re sure to have stumbled upon this classic yard game. If you haven’t, the rules are easy, and anyone can play (that’s why it’s so popular!). A player from each team stands opposite the board, which is 24 feet away. From there, each opponent takes turns throwing colored bean bags into the holes in the board. You can earn 1 point for landing the bean bag on the board, and 3 points for landing a bag into the hole. Whoever scores 21 points first wins. There’s a lot of room in Cornhole for players to make up their own rules and scoring systems.

Ladder Ball: This game is definitely less common than some others, but it’s just as fun! It’s simple to set up, and doesn’t require much space at all. Ladder Ball, or Ladder Toss, is a team game that involves tossing a bola (a nylon cord with weighted balls at either end) towards a three rung ladder, each of which garner a different point value, top rung is worth 3 points, middle rung is worth 2 points, and the bottom rung is worth 1 point. Teams take turns tossing their bolas at the ladder, and the first team to reach exactly 21 points is the winner. As with other classic games, like darts, coming up with different variations of the game that are suited to your party makes the game all the more entertaining.

Bocce Ball: Bocce, having found its roots in Ancient Egypt and Italy, is one of the oldest recorded games to date; and if the fact that it’s still being enjoyed today isn’t a testament to how charming this classic yard game can be, I don’t know what is! To begin, one player, decided by a coin toss, throws the pallino (target ball). From there, players on opposing teams must take turns throwing the bocce balls of their designated color, with the aim of getting them closer to the pallino than their opponent. Players with the bocce balls closest to the pallino earn a point. Typically, whoever gets to 12 points first wins, though that number can be negotiated among the players. Bocce can be played one-on-one or in teams of up to four.

Cross-net: Everyone remembers playing four-square at recess in elementary school —  Crossnet, which was invented in 2017, puts a vertical twist on the staple childhood game. The game is played in a volleyball net that divides the court into four quadrants. Players enter the court one-by-one and the player in the last square serves a volleyball diagonally. The ball is set between quadrants until somebody misses and the ball lands in their square, or they hit the ball outside of the court. That person then leaves, and the remaining players rotate and a new person enters the first square. The player in the serving square earns a point each time someone else in another square is eliminated. The game resets once someone gets eleven points. Crossnet requires some more space and equipment than others on the list, but it’s guaranteed to provide hours of active entertainment for larger get-togethers and friend groups.

Spikeball: Yet another foursquare-inspired take on outdoor fun, spikeball is popular at beaches and backyards alike. The game features a small trampoline-esque net, which two teams gather around, and a ball that is served into the net. The opposing team can move to return the ball, and a rally begins, with each player hitting the ball into the net with the goal of stopping the other team from returning it. To win, the team must obtain 21 points, and win by 2 points. 

Kan Jam: If you’ve ever dreamed of being an Ultimate Frisbee star, you might find a summer-long hobby in Kan Jam. The aim is simple. Along with your teammate, throw your frisbee into the can opposite you, 50 feet away. You score different point values based on how your frisbee makes it into the can. The first team or player to get to 21 points, or get your frisbee into the slot in the front of the can, wins the game. Don’t be fooled — it’s not as easy as it sounds, but hard work pays off. You’re sure to feel like the MVP once your frisbee flies into the Instant Win Slot!

Big Board Games: If strategy and puzzle games are more your style, or you’re uncoordinated (like me!), the recent “big board game” fad might just be for you. Comically large versions of classic board games like chess, Connect Four, Jenga, or checkers, that could only fit on your deck or in your backyard, have all begun to make an appearance on the market in recent years. If that doesn’t draw your attention, maybe the mental image of a pawn as high as your hips or having to climb a stepladder to place Jenga blocks will!


The forecast is predicting some great warm weather for this upcoming summer, so don’t miss out on your chance to discover your new favorite game!