After willingly putting yourself in quarantine due to winter’s long nights and low temperatures, it’s finally time to enjoy your backyard the way you were supposed to at the first signs of spring. And while BBQ parties seem like a great way to kick things off, a match of bocce ball can be ten times funnier.

Despite being relatively unknown, this outdoor game dates back to the Roman days when a couple of balls were enough of an excuse to head outside, play and have the time of your life. The good news is that fast forward to today, bocce ball is still considered one heck of a way to enjoy a beautiful sunny day with your friends or family – and perhaps a cold beer in your hand. Let’s get the (bocce) ball rolling, shall we?

What You Need to Play Bocce Ball

Also known as bocci, bocce ball is probably one of the most accessible outdoor games in the book. Requiring nothing but a bunch of balls and enough space, this outdoor activity is a go-to option if you have no equipment available but still want to get your game on. Bocce ball is even friendly to the little ones around the house thanks to its simple set of tools. So, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 teams. According to the official rules, bocce ball can be played by two single players who compete against each other or by two groups of 2 or 4 players each. Even though no one will stop you if you want to include 5 or more members on each side, veteran players do not recommend it as the number of balls will not match the number of players. That basically means that some participants will not have the chance to bowl.
  • 8 bocce balls. Usually weighing about 2 pounds each, bocce balls come in two different colors; red and green. So, in a standard version of this game, four of the balls are supposed to be green and the other four red.
  • 1 jack (pallino). Unlike bocce balls, pallino is a small target ball -usually at the size of a golf ball- which is always thrown at the beginning of the game.

The Basic Rules of Bocce Ball

Bocce ball is one of those outdoor games that don’t like getting bogged down in the details. Hence, the super easy rules. So, between setting up a clean and homely bocce court with the simplest tools ever and just throwing the balls as far away as possible, this game is a child’s play (most of the times, literally).

  • Step 1

Set up the court. Even though the official rules of bocce ball call for 13X90 rectangular playing space, you can always adjust your soon-to-be playing field based on your backyard’s size. Just make sure the length of the DIY court is roughly six times longer than its width. You can use string, sticks or even spray paint to pinpoint the court’s boundaries.

Also, make sure to draw a foul line 10 feet away from the bottom of the baseboard. This line will serve as a point beyond which players cannot step when they bowl the balls. Lastly, plant a peg or stake at the center of the court.

  • Step 2

Choose your teammates and assign the balls. If you’re playing solo, then you get to bowl all the four balls of one color. However, things are different when you’re partnering up with other players. In 2-member teams, each player gets assigned with just two balls, and in 4-player teams, participants get to throw only one bocce ball.

  • Step 3

Decide which team will bowl first. You can flip a coin, play a round of rock-paper-scissors or just randomly decide who’s going to make the first throw. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter since both teams must throw the pallino at the beginning of the game.

  • Step 4

Throw the pallino into the court. The team which was selected to bowl first or won the coin toss gets two shots to throw the pallino into the court. This shot is considered successful if the target ball not only passes the peg planted in the middle of the court but also stays within the boundaries. If the thrower of the starting team fails to toss the pallino into the play twice, then a member of the opposing team gets a shot.

  • Step 5

Throw out the first bocce ball. The team that successfully played the pallino into the court gets to throw out the first bocce ball. The goal is to bowl the ball as close to the pallino as possible. Make sure you never cross the foul line, or your shot will not count.

  • Step 6

Let the opposing team throw out their first bocce ball. Now, it’s time for the other side to play their first bocce ball into the game. Again, the thrower needs to bowl his/her ball as close to the jack as possible.

  • Step 7

One of the teams gets to throw the three remaining balls. The team which managed to bowl their bocce ball the farthest from the pallino has to bowl the remaining three, one after the other. That is their final chance to reach the jack. If your shot is accurate, there is a high chance you hit the pallino. If you do so and you move it, it’s no big deal. But, if your ball touches it, this is called a “kiss” or “baci” which is worth the most points.

  • Step 8

The other team gets to throw their three remaining balls. Then, the other members of the opposing team go ahead with their three remaining shots and try to place the balls as close to the jack as possible. At this point, all 8 bocce balls are clustered at different distances around the pallino. The first frame is officially over.

  • Step 9

Count the score. This part may be a little tricky. Players of both team measure and check which bocce ball is closest to the jack, also known as the “in” ball. Once they do figure that out, they count the points. But, only the team whose ball is closest to the pallino gets to collect points. Meanwhile, the other doesn’t score any. The scoring system goes like this: You collect two points for every bocce ball that “kisses” the jack and one point for every shot that is closer to the pallino than the closest ball of the other team.

  • Step 10

Switch ends and continue playing in frames. After you’re done counting the score, switch ends on the bocce court and play another frame. Continue switching ends between frames until one of the teams wins.

  • Step 11

The first team to score 12 points wins. Continue playing in frames until one of the two teams collects 12 points. Alternatively, you can agree upon a different winning goal with the other players which is usually set at either 15 or 21 points.

The Not-so-Basic Rules of Bocce Ball

You’ve learned everything you need to know to play bocce ball in your backyard. That’s great! But, do you want to know what’s better than great? Awesome! The following three out-of-the-box rules will help you turn any match of bocce ball into a lifetime experience.

  • Every player has the chance to “spock.” That means that all players can hit their own balls and get them closer to the jack. This tactic can also be used to bowl the opponent’s balls farther away from the pallino.
  • Bowling is not the only way to play the bocce balls into the court. You can also throw, roll or even bounce them. It’s up to you. Most experienced players suggest you throw the balls underhanded. So, you basically cup the underside of the ball and either bowl it to the ground or throwing it into the air.
  • If you or other members of your team cross the foul line twice, then you get a penalty, and the frame is abruptly ended. So, the team that committed the foul will not get any points while the other side can go ahead and complete the frame.

Final Thoughts

With that hot weather upon us, spending time outdoors is a given. And since reading a book or tanning can get too boring too fast, finding a fun and creative way to spend your time becomes a necessity. A match of bocce ball is the easiest and funniest way to enjoy the summery vibe of your backyard with your nearest and dearest. The best part? You can still pair it with some sweet or boozy treats for a more adult version. So, let’s get this show on the road – or lawn, for that matter.

When you picture the ideal backyard gathering, you probably think of you and your friends drinking beer and nibbling on grilled meat and veggies while the kids are in playing mode, caring about nothing but their games or toys. The thing is, though, that there may be a way to make this picture even more amusing. How about you get a taste of this playing mode as well?

So, if you’re ready to get the all-ages backyard games started, pitching horseshoes is a safe bet. This outdoor classic is a guaranteed way to get everyone up from the table and closer to the action. Plus, it’s super easy to set up. In fact, you can get things going with so much as a couple of stakes and four U-shaped bars. So, let’s kiss that horseshoe for good luck and get the pitching started, shall we?

What You Need to Play Horseshoes

If we were to describe horseshoes equipment in one word, that’d be “straightforward” – without a doubt. While most outdoor games require fancy (sometimes specially designed) equipment, horseshoes are all about keeping it simple. What’s more, this game’s tools are also made of kid-friendly materials such as rubber (and not metal) to keep the little ones safe. So, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 or 4 people. You can play horseshoes either solo against one opponent or with a partner by your side against two opponents.
  • 2 stakes. Horseshoes pegs are usually 14 inches long and made of metal to provide a stable grip. However, if there are kids around, you can always opt for plastic stakes.
  • 4 horseshoes or U-shaped bars. Each player gets 2 horseshoes (or one when playing in teams). Much like the stakes, you can always play with metal bars or opt for plastic ones to prevent injuries, especially when you’re playing with kids.

The Basic Rules of Horseshoes

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? So, since the game itself calls for some pretty basic equipment, it comes as no surprise that horseshoes rules are very easy to understand as well. In fact, they’re so easy that even kids can follow.

  • Step 1

Set up the pits. Designate certain parts of the yard as the “pits.” Covering a specific area (31 X 36 inches wide), these spots resemble a square box toward which pitchers throw their horseshoes. The shoes that land into the pit count as live shoes while the ones that fall outside the box count as dead shoes. According to the official horseshoes rules, you need to set up two pits, one for each player or team.

  • Step 2

Plant the stakes into the ground. Plant a peg at the center of both square-shaped pits. Make sure that the stakes are 40 feet away from the pitching spot (foul line). However, if your backyard is smaller than that, adjust the distance between the two accordingly. To avoid confusion, use a string spray paint or anything available to point out the foul line. Also, do your best to plant the stakes as deep in the ground as possible to avoid knocking them down as you play.

  • Step 3

Decide which player (or team) will pitch first. Flipping a coin and playing a round of rock-paper-scissors are the two most common ways to determine the first pitcher. But, where’s the fun in that? Instead, you can let the shoes decide and (why not?) squeeze some practice time in between. In this case, toss the horseshoes toward the pegs and whoever lands his/her shoe closer to them gets to pitch first.

  • Step 4

Pitch the horseshoes taking turns. The game is divided up into innings. During each inning, each player or team gets to pitch two horseshoes toward the respective stake. Your goal is to “ring” the peg, a.k.a. land it around the stake. Once the player or team is done throwing the shoes, it’s time for the other player or team to pitch. As you toss the horseshoes, make sure not to cross the foul line.

  • Step 5

Count the score. There are two ways to count the score during a match of horseshoes. You can either count all points or deduct points every time a player makes a foul. In all-count scoring, you take into account only live shoes, not dead shoes (check above). These are divided into ringers, leaners or those close to the stake.

The ringers are the pitches that land the horseshoe around the peg while the leaners are the ones that land vertically and lean against the stake. Ringers are worth 3 points; leaners are worth one point and the shoes that land within 6 inches from the stake are also worth one point.

However, when you play with the cancellation rules in mind, things are entirely different. In fact, here’s how it goes. If the opponent throws a ringer and you do, too, in the following turn, no points are awarded to either of you. That’s called a dead ringer. You basically have the chance to cancel out your opponent’s points. The same principle applies to leaners and close-to-the-stake shots.

  • Step 6

The first player or team to score to score 21 points wins. The player or team who reaches the 21-point threshold first is crowned as the winner of the match. However, if some of the players are getting restless and want to cut the game short, you and the other players can agree upon a different scoring goal.

How to Pitch a Horseshoe and Nail Every Shot

If you want to avoid “collecting” a bunch of dead shoes under your belt, then perfecting your pitches is a one-way street. To spare you the missed throws and the thought of your opponents taking the lead, we’ve gathered around the four most effective ways to pitch a horseshoe and make the most out of every shot each time.

  • Adjust Your Stance

Despite what you may think, nailing a ringer is not just a matter of power. In fact, standing the right way can make or break your shot. So, make sure to stand at the left side of the stake if you are right-handed and at the right side of the stake if you’re left-handed. Also, keep your shoulders squared in front of the peg to direct the horseshoe as close to it as possible.

  • Swing Before You Pitch

Contrary to popular belief, the wrist movement has little to do with pitching a horseshoe correctly. Instead, pull your shoulder and arm back and let the shoe slide in your grip as you swing your arm forward. This throwing trick allows you to keep the horseshoes’ throwing rotation in check and avoid landing a dead shoe. You can even take a step forward as you swing to increase the throwing strength. However, this taking-a-step-forward tactic is recommended only when you want to land the shoe at a greater distance.

  • Master the 1 ¼ Turn Grip

Even though it sounds impossible to pull off, this turn grip is worth the shot because it’s a surefire way to nail a ringer. Just grip the horseshoe with your thumb on top as the shoe’s arms, a.k.a. shanks, point to the left. Meanwhile, place your index and middle finger underneath the shank as they curl up onto the inner edge. By gripping the horseshoe this way, you basically force it to rotate sideways, complete a 1 ¼ turn in the air and land straight around the stake. It’s all math!

  • Try the Flip Throw

Instead of remaining flat during its flight like the 1 ¼ turn grip, this throw flips vertically as it reaches the stake. Just grip the horseshoe at the center of the bend and place your thumb either at the bottom or the top, depending on what feels comfortable for you. Then, swing your arm slightly and let the shoe slip toward the peg. It’s that easy!

Final Thoughts

Are you looking for an easy way to entertain your friends, family, even kids? Then, playing horseshoes is the perfect solution for your impromptu outdoor game tournaments. Just don’t get disappointed if you don’t make any decent shots when you start. After all, practice makes perfect.

Nothing screams summer quite like firing up that grill. Keep in mind, though, those juicy steaks and grilled sausages is just “Part I” of throwing an awesome outdoor party. If you really want to crush your hosting duties, you need to keep your guests on their toes, preferably when the post-meal slump is about to kick in. And what better way to do so than by setting up your own badminton mini-tournament?
Chances are that this Olympic game has made you cheer in front of the TV more than a few times. Now, imagine all this excitement and enthusiasm taking over as you and your guests struggle to land your shuttles over to the other side of the net. It’s simply contagious. Plus, moving up and down will help you break a slight sweat to get you (at least a bit) back on track after “sweeping” the buffet. So, ready, set, strike!

What You Need to Play Badminton

Known as the fastest racquet game in the world, badminton is second to none in the outdoor game department. Being the Olympic sport that it is, this game requires a set of specially designed tools which are (luckily) easy to find. From the feather-like “balls” to the racquets with the long shaft, there’s nothing ordinary about this game. Design aside, it’s also worth mentioning that badminton equipment is super light and easy to carry around. So, even kids can give it a try.
However, if you’re not in the mood to run up and down chasing the shuttle, you’d better sit this one out. Badminton is an outdoor game that calls for physical engagement which can vary from an “OK, I’ll go get it, but no running” attitude to a “sweating-it-to-the-bone” mood, depending on the players’ physical status. Either way, it’ll get you moving. So, make your choices accordingly. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 or 4 players. Much like tennis, badminton can be played in singles or doubles. So, you can either choose to play solo or join forces with a friend or family member. When played in teams, though, each player must stick to his/her side of the court.
  • 2 or 4 racquets. Badminton racquets are specially designed to fit the needs of the game. With this in mind, a high-quality badminton racquet should weigh about 4-5 ounces (including the grip), have a long, thin shaft and feature an oval or isometric head shape. The unique structure of the racquet allows players to take full control of the hard-to-handle shutters.
  • A net. According to the official rules of the game, the badminton net should be 5 feet high in the center and 5 feet and 1 inch on the edges. However, when it comes to the backyard edition, bending this rule is somewhat necessary if you want it to adjust to the yard’s size. Just place the net in the middle of the rectangular court, support it using poles on both sides, and you’re ready to go.
  • 2-3 shuttles. Also known as shuttlecocks or birdies, shuttles are the special “balls” used to play badminton. These projectiles have an open conical shape which comprises of 16 plastic feathers that overlap each another.
    What’s more, these feathers are embedded into a rounded cork base which serves as a weight to move the shuttle back and forth. Even though the original version calls for real feathers, we advise every recreational player against that since they are easy to break.

The Basic Rules of Badminton

Rules are rules. And when it comes to badminton and the great outdoors, things can turn from great to awful in a matter of seconds if you don’t play by them. So, to avoid creating a mess and keep things running smoothly, here are the basic rules of badminton you need to swear by.

  • Step 1

Prepare the court. According to the official badminton rules, the ideal court is 44 feet long and 22 feet wide. However, not every backyard can support these directions. So, do your best with what you have. Calculate the size of the space available and divide it in half. Also, make sure you mark the sides and corners.

  • Step 2

Set up the equipment. Plant two poles on both sides halfway across the court. These poles could be anything from a baseball bat to specially designed wooden stakes. They are used to support the net from one side of the court to the next. Just make sure you place the poles on the ground as firmly as possible to avoid trampling the net with a sharp hit. Also, the net should be pulled tight, not slack.

  • Step 3

Decide which team will serve first. There are a lot of ways to determine which side will make the first move, from tossing a coin to playing a round of rock-paper-scissors. Another interesting way to

  • Step 4

Understand the court. Similar to tennis, each side of the badminton court has a right and left service court. For your shot to count, you need to always serve from one service court to the one diagonally from it. When you’re playing with a partner, each of you takes one service court (either right or left) and sticks to it.

Whether you’re playing in singles or doubles, you must serve from the right side of the court when you have an even number of points (say 2, 4, 6, etc.) and from the left side when you have an odd number of points (for example 3, 5, 7, etc.)

  • Step 5

Serve taking turns and count the score. You must serve in an attempt to force your opponent to commit a fault (check below). If the serving side gets a fault, then the other team earns a point and the right to serve next. However, if the serving team hits the shuttle across the net and the opposing side commits a fault, then the person who served moves from one service court to the other and serves again. Each serve counts as one point.

  • Step 6

The player or team that scores 21 points first wins. You and your opponent need to keep serving until one of you scores 21 points first. However, note that the winner needs to have at least two points more than the opponent to claim the victory. For example, if you AND your opponent have 20 points each, then you need to keep scoring until you have a two-point lead to win (22-24, 23-25, etc.). If the game goes on like this for a while, then the first to score 30 points wins, no matter what.

The Not-so-Basic Rule of Badminton

Now that you’ve got the basic rules of badminton out of the way, why not try something more advanced? These out-of-the-box tweaks not only add character to your otherwise mainstream badminton matches but they can also change the course of the game if implemented wisely. So, do you want to spice things up?
Get a let. When you serve, and the shuttle hits the net but falls over on the opponent’s side of the court, you get a let. That basically means you get to have another try. This way of dealing with weak shots is not usually allowed in badminton since players get only one try on each serve.

5 Actions That Count as a Fault

Learning the ropes of a new outdoor game is always the best part. You end up making a bunch of mistakes which usually look quite goofy. But, a game is a game, and your total score is the one to pay the price. To avoid making more in the future and perhaps risking losing the game, we’ve gathered around the X most common “faults” in badminton. After all, knowledge is power.

  • Hitting the shuttle into or under the net.
  • Hitting the shuttle out of bounds.
  • Hitting an opponent with the shuttle.
  • Hitting the shuttle on the ground on your side of the court.
  • Failing to hit the shuttle over the net.

4 Tricks to Always Hit the Shuttle Like a Pro

Although it may seem simple enough, hitting the shuttle correctly and getting it to land on the opponent’s side of the court is not that easy. That’s why players have discovered various tricks to gain complete control of the wind-susceptible “birdie” and score points more easily. If you want to get the upper hand and look like a pro at the next badminton game, then these four tricks are all you need.

  • Hit the Shuttle at the Top of its Arc

As you may have noticed, the cork base is responsible for the gravity that pulls the shuttle down, creating arc-like shots. As the shuttle reaches its maximum height and is ready to head toward the ground, make a hit for it. This way you avoid missing the shot before gravity takes over and messes with your shot.

  • Go for a Drop Shot

Hitting the shuttle with slow, gentle moves makes it fall just over the net, making it impossible for your opponent to strike back. That’s an easy point right there.

  • Master the Various Types of Serve

Despite what you may think, tossing the shuttle in the air and hitting it with your racquet is just one way to serve. Pros actually note that there are three efficient ways to serve which depend on a player’s skills. These include the high and the low forehand serves.
The high serve calls for somewhat tricky moves which can be even trickier for doubles. During a high serve, you should plant your non-racket leg in the front while leaving the racket leg behind. As the position of your legs creates some sort of resistance, swing the racquet back and align it with your shoulder. Meanwhile, hold the shuttle by the feathers, drop it in front of you and hit the shuttle by swinging the racquet slightly forward. You shouldn’t hit the shuttle back with much power, or you’ll ruin the shot.
Unlike the high serve, the low forehand serve is highly recommended when playing with a partner. For this serve, you should level the racquet to your waist and bring the shuttle close to it instead of dropping it in the air. Once the shuttle is close enough, swing the racquet forward and direct it toward the opponent’s side of the court. Make sure you hit the shuttle with an upward inclination to avoid hitting the net.

  • Change the Direction of the Shuttle

Catching your opponent off guard is also a great way to score some extra points. One of the easiest ways to achieve that is by changing the direction of the shuttle unexpectedly, giving to your opponent little time to react and save the shot.

Badminton

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for an outdoor activity to shake off all the post-BBQ bloating, badminton is the only choice. Unlike other lawn games, this Olympic-slash-backyard game involves a certain level of physical activity which helps you keep your outdoorsy momentum going during a hot summer day. No wonder it’s considered one of America’s most beloved lawn games.

If your last series of backyard parties featured a bunch of bored guests and some awkward moments of silence, it’s probably time to pep things up. While a little lazy time under the sun never hurt anyone, you need to keep your guests as engaged as possible or your outdoor party will be a total disaster. Luckily, you don’t have to look too far (or dig too deep into your wallet like beer pong) to come up with super fun and affordable ways to keep them happy.

Fitting the bill, croquet is a go-to outdoor game for people worldwide, especially if your guests don’t want to break a sweat under the summer heat. This century-old lawn game is primarily a game of wits, posing as the ideal pick-me-up after a meal of BBQ ribs and buttery corn on the cob. So, ready to “croq” this summer with your friends or family by your side?

What You Need to Play Backyard Croquet

Pronounced “crow-KAY,” croquet is a golf-like game that requires some pretty simple equipment. Although each piece of the croquet equipment seems entirely irrelevant to the rest, somehow they make perfect sense when combined.

The best part about this game’s equipment is that it is quite easy to handle (plus very safe despite the mallets used), allowing even young children to join the action. So, whether you want to keep your children away from the TV on a hot summer day or just want to kick things off with friends at a backyard barbecue, croquet is a safe bet. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 teams, each consisting of one to three players. So, you can either play solo, with one or two partners. The maximum amount of players allowed in a match of backyard croquet is six.
  • 6 wooden mallets. Each player gets to use one mallet. Featuring specially designed ends (faces) for striking, these mallets are one of a kind. According to the official rules, players are not allowed to strike the ball with the side of the mallets. However, if you and your friends want to spice things up, you can always introduce “side” shots as well as other shot variations to the game.
  • 9 wickets (hoops). Mostly known as wickets, crocket hoops are wire hoops with pointed ends, a.k.a. “carrots” which are used to keep the wickets planted into the ground despite the non-stop hits. These hoops are usually made of steel. However, you can also do the trick by using vinyl-coated wickets.
  • 2 stakes. Much like wickets, croquet stakes feature a pointy edge which is specially designed to keep the stake in the ground at all times.
  • 4-6 croquet balls. From black and blue to orange and red, croquet balls definitely add some color to the mix. These specially designed balls weight about 16 ounces each when they are made of wood. However, you can always opt for those made of plastic which are usually lighter, more durable and bounce higher.
  • 6 colored clips or clothespins (optional accessory). Despite its simple equipment and rules, croquet can be quite confusing in action. That usually occurs because players get confused as to which wicket they are supposed to go for next. So, to avoid confusion, use a colored pin or clothespin (preferably in the same color as your ball) and mark the upcoming wicket. Keep moving the clips as you go through the hoops.

The Basic Rules of Croquet

Judging from the funny nicknames (some call it “chess on grass”), it’s obvious that many people often underestimate the simplicity of croquet. However, despite its seemingly easy rules, this outdoor game calls for a variety of top-drawer skills such as quick thinking, strategic choices and well thought out moves. So, as you see, there’s nothing bush-league about croquet.

  • Step 1

Prepare the court. The good news is that a backyard croquet court doesn’t have to be perfect. However, the shorter the grass, the better. If your backyard size allows it, you can follow the official guidelines which call for a rectangle court, 100 feet long by 50 feet wide. However, if your backyard is smaller than that, you can adjust the size accordingly. Just make sure you mark definite boundaries by using a string or chalk.

  • Step 2

Set up the wickets. Setting up the wickets is probably the trickiest part when playing croquet. According to the 9-wicket version which is backyard-friendly, you need to plant the hoops into the ground in a figure-eight (double-diamond) shape. You start by placing two wickets, one in front of the other, at the bottom of the court right where you’ll make the first hit.

Place two more wickets at the opposite side of the court, again one in front of the other. Make sure they are aligned with the hoops you planted earlier. Then, plant another wicket between the four hoops you’ve placed already. Make sure it’s located somewhere in the middle.

Finally, following a zig-zag motion, place four more wickets at the sides of the court, shaping an eight figure. Make sure to keep some distance between the hoops at the sides and the court boundaries to avoid future penalties.

  • Step 3

Set up the stakes. Once you place the wickets in a figure-eight shape, plant the two stakes right after the double hoops both at the top and bottom side of the DIY croquet court. The bottom stake is known as the starting and finishing stake while the top one is called the turning stake.

  • Step 4

Assign the balls to the players. The number of balls used in a match of croquet depends entirely upon the number of players participating in the game. So, for a two- or four-player game, you’ll need just four balls. The most common color combos for croquet are black/blue for one team and yellow/red for the other. However, for a six-member croquet match, you need to use all six balls. In this case, one team gets the blue, black and green balls while the other is assigned with the red, yellow and orange balls.

  • Step 5

Decide which team goes first. Flip a coin, play a round of rock-paper-scissors, talk it out. Do whatever feels comfortable to determine which team is going to make the first strokes. You can even let the croquet balls decide. Just hit two of then toward the court and the team closest to the middle wicket gets to hit first.

  • Step 6

Play the balls into the game. Taking turns, all players place their balls somewhere between the starting/finishing stake and wicket #1. Each one gets to strike the ball with the mallet from that spot and play it into the game.

  • Step 7

Know the order of the game. When played by two or four people, the order of the game goes like this: blue, red, black and finally yellow. However, when croquet is played by six people, the order of the game is blue, red, black, yellow, green and orange.

  • Step 8

Players try to “run” as many hoops as possible. As soon as the balls are into the court, each player hits his/her ball in an attempt to pass it through the right hoops. Note that running a hoop in the opposite direction doesn’t count as a point.

  • Step 9

The team that runs the most hoops and hits the center peg first wins. Strikers from both sides take turns hitting their balls through the hoops and round the turning stake. The team that makes it to the starting/finishing stake and strikes the center peg first wins.

The Not-so-Basic Rules of Croquet

Being the hour-long outdoor game that it is, fans everywhere have come up with a set of out-of-the-box rules to spice up things even more. If you want to take things up a notch, then you should definitely incorporate these not-so-basic rules of croquet and turn your backyard party into a blast.

  • When a player hits the ball through the correct wicket, he/she gets an extra shot.
  • When a player hits an opponent’s ball (croquet), he/she also gets an extra shot.
  • If you want to raise the stakes and earn two additional shots, hit the ball through the first two, upper two or middle wicket in one stroke.
  • If an opponent’s and your balls are touching, you can put your foot on it and relocate it toward any direction using your mallet. Remember to keep the two balls attached as you move the ball around.
  • If you knock an opponent’s ball outside the DIY croquet course, you need to put it back on the edge of the field where it went off.
  • If a ball passes through a wicket but rolls back, the point does not count.

Croquet

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Final Thoughts

Unlike other outdoor games like disc golf or corn hole, croquet is a game of strategic thinking and smart decisions. So, if you and your friends or family want to exercise your brain instead of the body (which is cool considering the hot summer sun), then croquet is the ideal choice. Plus, it will keep your guests on their toes after that post-meal slump. Let’s “croq” like never before, shall we?

For a video tutorial on the rulesnof the amazing y yard game, check out here. (Youtube video)

Beer pong or blongo balls? Croquet or badminton? Frisbee or golf? Sometimes choosing the perfect outdoor game for your backyard party is no picnic (although that’s the whole point). Things may get even more confusing when you’re hanging out with a large crowd. In such cases, some prefer to stick to the basics while others are in for a dash of excitement. While there are certainly more worthwhile conundrums to solve, arguing about which lawn game you should play doesn’t actually make your party any funnier.

That’s where disc golf steps in. A super fun fusion of two popular games (frisbee and golf), this mashup lawn game combines the best of both worlds, from the active nature of frisbee to the delicate side of golf. If you’re ready for more fun in the sun without all the decision drama, a match of disc golf is the only choice. After all, choosing (and playing) just one game is plain boring, right?

What You Need to Play Disc Golf

Also known as frisbee golf, this outdoor game is slowly gaining steam mostly thanks to its simple setup. The truth is that this variation loosely resembles the one of traditional golf which is all kinds of simple.

However, despite drawing inspiration from the original version, disc golf has nothing to do with all the fancy equipment used in the traditional version which usually costs an arm and a leg. Instead, frisbee golf calls for easy-to-access tools which can be handled by practically everyone, no matter their age. So, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A set of 3 disks for each player. One putter (regular Frisbee with round edges), one mid-range with slightly sharper edges and one driver which features a sharp, pointed rim.
  • One disc golf basket. Also known as disc pole hole, this specially designed basket is one of the most important components of frisbee golf. Breaking all basket stereotypes, the disc golf basket consists of a pole, a chain holder, and a basket. The chain holder is placed at the top of the pole and has a bunch of chains attached to it. They are installed this way so that they surround and pole and hang down towards the basket which is located halfway down the pole.

The Basic Rules of Disc Golf

A quick look at the frisbee golf equipment is enough to convince anyone that we’re talking about a super easy and fun game here. That comes as no surprise as this outdoor game combines the simplest aspects of the two games, golf and disc throwing. So, as long as you know how to throw a frisbee and have an eye for covering the distance between you and the basket, you have the win in your pocket.

  • Step 1

Find the perfect location to play. Whether it’s your backyard, a public park or the campus recreation area, finding the ideal location to set up your disc golf equipment is key. Even though large disc golf courses provide you with more options, don’t let the relatively small size of your backyard fool you. If you adjust the throwing distance accordingly, you are still in for an exciting match with your friends and family.

  • Step 2

Set up the equipment. The building blocks of a disc golf course are the basket and the tee, a flat podium from which the players throw their disks. According to the official rules of the game, the tee and the basket should not be more than 50 feet away from each other. However, this distance may vary given the size of the various courses as well as the skills/age of players. Case in point: If you’re playing with kids, you should always keep the disc golf basket as close to the tee as possible.

  • Step 3

Decide who is going to throw first. Once everything is set up, it’s time to decide which of the players is going to make the first throw. To reach a fair decision, you can either flip a coin or leave it up to a round of rock-paper-scissors.

  • Step 4

Throw the disks toward the basket. The goal of disc golf is to land the frisbee into the basket before the opponent beats you to it. So, players throw their frisbee of choice (putter, mid-range or driver) toward the basket and hope for the best. The throws in frisbee golf are also known as strokes.

  • Step 5

Count how many strokes it took for each player to hit the target. Landing a disc into a large basket may sound like the simplest task in the world. But, things aren’t always what they seem. Factors such as the weather and lack of skills may ruin your shots more times than you can imagine. That’s why it’s usual for most players to throw some shots before they hit the target. So, keep track of the strokes it took you to land the disk into the basket. Take each new shot within one step of where the last throw landed.

  • Step 6

Move to the next “hole.” Once all players hit the target, move the basket to a different position which is slightly more challenging than the previous one. Repeat the game’s steps and count your strokes once again. You can create as many “holes” as the course allows. So, the larger your yard, the better.

  • Step 7

The player with the least total strokes wins. Running out of “holes” to throw the disks means that the game is over. In this case, crown the person with the least total throws as the winner.

The Not-so-Basic Rules of Disc Golf

There’s no doubt that disc golf is a super fun outdoor game as is. However, if you’re a fan of adventure, you can always spice the game up even more with a few minor tweaks. After all, some rules were simply made to be broken and, in this case, revamped.

  • When the disc lands on top of the basket, it counts as an “in the hole” stroke.
  • Note certain areas of the course as out-of-bounds. So, when the disk lands on these regions, the thrower gets a penalty of one stroke. How about you raise the stakes, huh?
  • Change the disk of choice depending on the distance between you and the basket. For example, it’s best to opt for a regular frisbee with round edges (putter) when you’re close to the target, and you need to reduce the chances of a curved toss. On the flip side, drivers (disks with sharp edges) are the best choice when you want to cover a great distance.
  • As the game goes on, determine the first thrower of each “hole” based on the total stroke score. In this case, the player who won the previous “hole” gets to throw first on the next one.
  • If you want to challenge yourself and opponents, even more, place the disc golf basket beside or slightly behind a tree. This way you’ll have to focus entirely on your skills for this shot. Just throw the disk sideways and leave its curving nature take it from there.

How to Choose the Best Disc For Every Situation

If you’re just starting out with disc golf, chances are you have a million questions flooding your head regarding the disks themselves. From how to angle them the right way and get them to land exactly where you want to curving them around tricky objects, the list just goes on and on. However, the one that matters the most (especially if you are a newbie) is the type of disk you should use in certain win-or-lose situations. Ready to learn some new tricks?

  • The Putter

Usually soft in touch and round around the rims, putters are the best choice for short-distance strokes. Despite their limited throw range, these discs glide very well and can be used by players of all ages, even kids.

  • The Mid-Range

Unlike putters, mid-range discs can make the most out of various situations throughout the game. Due to their round-like shape with slightly sharp edges, mids (as most players call them) can make the most out of almost every shot, from short drives to long approaches. Given this, it’s no wonder that this type of disc is the most popular choice for disc golfers worldwide.

  • The Driver

Last but not least, we have the drivers. These discs feature a sharp, pointed rim which is ideal for crossing long distances without getting drifted away by the wind. That’s why they’re perfect for that very first throw when you want to get as close to the basket as possible. But, don’t be fooled. Their unique sharp-edged structure makes them hard to handle. So, don’t be surprised if your shots are not that accurate when throwing a driver instead of a putter.

How to Throw the Disc Like a Pro

Contrary to popular belief, disc golf is not a game focused entirely on power. Instead, this outdoor game calls for a balanced combo of disk throwing techniques and just a dash of arm strength. In fact, most players note that they are more likely to hit longer throws when they use just part of their power. This way they also can focus on improving their throwing techniques. If you want to throw a disk like a pro, these tips are a great place to start.

  • Don’t use all your power since your muscles tense and reduce your accuracy.
  • Using just a part of your strength when throwing can also improve the speed of your strokes which can be critical during some shots. In a nutshell, relaxed the muscles help you develop more accurate and concise throws.
  • Angle the disk when you want to curve it around objects. Also known as “hyzer,” this disc golf technique can make the difference between pros and amateurs. Want to curve the disk to the right? Just aim the basket and throw the disk diagonally to the upper left. By putting to use various laws of physics, the “hyzer” tilts your disk sideways with little to zero effort.
  • Try to keep your throw as flat as possible to cover more distance. How come? Throws which are not flat (horizontal) tend to catch more wind and, thus, break hard down to the left. At least, that’s the case for right-handed throwers. With this in mind, flat throws are more likely to move forward despite the wind and, thus, cover more distance.Frisbee golfView product button

Final Thoughts

Sure, outdoor games such as the dunk bucket and lawn Twister are real crowd-pleasers. But, sometimes they can get too boring too fast, especially if you have lots of guests over and everyone wants to tag along. In cases like this, disc golf (a.k.a. frisbee golf) poses as a fun and exciting alternative with no maximum amount of players whatsoever. Plus, it combines two of our favorite games into one. So, double the games, double the fun, right?

If you’ve played your fair share of lawn games, then you probably know that a steady and firm throw can go a long way. From hitting your opponent’s cups during a beer pong match to swishing that corn bag down the corn hole, so much as a simple toss can make or break your game.

Ring toss is no exception to this rule. This tossing lawn game is all about nailing that perfect throw to hit any target that stands in your way. Known for its creative variations and kid-friendly nature, ring toss is the perfect way to entertain the little ones during a family reunion. However, don’t let its simple looks fool you. After a few minor tweaks, ring toss is ready to turn up the heat at your adults-only party. So, how about you throw (in this case, literally) the hottest bash on the block?

What You Need to Play Ring Toss

Despite the multiple variations played here and there, ring toss calls for a particular set of tools. And as you’ve probably guessed, this equipment is pretty simple. With just a dozen of rings and some pegs or bottles you keep in your pantry, you can set up a perfectly fine ring toss court for you, your family and friends to play with. If you’re ready to get the ring tossing started, here’s what you’ll need:

  • An X-shaped structure with 5 pegs. Most ring toss structures (like this one) feature point markings which make it easier for you to count the final score.
  • 12 throwing rings of various colors, preferably plastic or rope. If you’re planning on playing ring toss with kids, it’s best to opt for plastic rings. Due to their lightweight, they are easier to throw.

The Basic Rules of Ring Toss

Mostly known for being one of the most popular carnival games, ring toss is surprisingly easy to play. So, despite the differences between the various versions of this lawn game, the goal for each player is the same: Land as many rings as possible around the pegs (or bottles) and score the most points. Of course, the #1 rule of this game is to have tons of fun while playing. So, remember to throw accordingly!

  • Step 1

Divide into teams. Ring toss is played with 2 to 4 players. You can either divide into two 2-member teams or just play solo.

  • Step 2

Assign rings of different color to each player. That way it’s easier to count the score when you and our opponents have thrown all the rings toward the pegs. Also, the players should have the same amount of rings. So, in case of 4 players, each one should get 3 rings, in case of 3 players, each one gets assigned with 4 rings and so on.

  • Step 3

Place the pegs at a certain distance from the throwing point. Since there are no official rules to determine the distance between the players tossing point and the posts (or bottles), the participants are the ones who pinpoint the distance which is usually at 10ft and up. Sometimes players place the structure even further to make the game more challenging. On that note, always remember to situate the structure in proximity when there are kids involved.

  • Step 4

Throw the rings to land them around a peg or the neck of a bottle. Taking turns, all players must toss all their rings.

  • Step 5

Count the score. The scoring system for this outdoor game depends on the equipment you use, and that’s why it varies. In fact, some pre-made structures feature their own scoring system. So, when your ring toss structure comes with an imprinted scoring system, count your points accordingly.

However, in case you play with a DIY version of the game or bottles from your pantry, you can create a customized scoring system. Here’s how it usually goes. A player scores 3 points when a ring lands successfully on a peg/bottle. This shot is also known as a ringer. If none of the players make a ringer in one round, the ring closest to the peg/bottle scores 1 point. If two players land their rings on the same post/bottle, they cancel each other’s points.

  • Step 6

The first player to score 21 points at the completion of a round wins. Keep throwing the rings until one of the players reaches 21 points. The winner usually takes a prize. Some of the most common awards include a glass of soda or an extra round of onion rings.

Sometimes, when you play ring toss using bottles instead of pegs, winners get to keep their contents. That’s, of course, IF they land their rings on them. These bottles could contain anything from water or soda to beer or wine, for adults. So, it’s totally worth it!

2 Ring Toss Variations to Put Some Pep in Your Game

Don’t get us wrong; nothing beats the real thing. But, you can only play a game a few times before you start feeling that there’s not much more you can do, especially if you’ve mastered your moves/skills. Luckily, the following ring toss variations come as a breath of fresh air for those of us who have played the standard version of this game one too many times.

  • Glowing in the Dark

Are you throwing an outdoor night party but still want to enjoy your favorite yard games? Then, the glowing ring toss is a no-brainer. Swap those boring pegs with glowing sticks and the rings with glow stick necklaces and enjoy the company of your friends and family even when the sun sets. Ready to feel a glow (pun intended!) of happiness?

  • Reaching Adulthood

Who said that outdoor games are just for kids? Sometimes adults want in on the fun and ring toss is a great place to start. How come? Besides being super amusing, ring toss is quite versatile, meaning you can actually play around with not just the posts (whether that’s bottles, pegs or glowing sticks) but also the contents of the bottles (when used). So, while “ringing” a bottle of soda sounds exciting, imagine how much cooler your game would be if you replaced them with beer, wine or your favorite adult drinks. So, what would YOU like to “ring” and drink?

Final Thoughts

Suitable for players of all ages, ring toss is one of those outdoor games you just can’t get enough of. Why? Simply because you can adapt it any way you and your guests feel like. Are you hosting a family get-together? Then, the standard version of ring toss is a great fit. Perhaps you want to invite your friends and their kids over for an evening BBQ party. Much to their delight, the glowing ring toss is going to throw some of its “sparks” into the air.

 

Or do you actually want to host an adults-only backyard party? Even in this case, ring toss (booze edition) or even ladder toss can do the trick. Either way, this lawn game can bring a smile on everyone’s face and make every single one of your outdoor parties a time to be fondly remembered by.

Newsflash: Things get really hot in summer. Between the thermometer-busting temperatures and the non-stop sweating, spending those hot summer days by a pool or at the beach playing beer pong or corn hole. seems like the only viable solution to beat the heat. Luckily, for those of us who can’t go for a daily swim, there is another, even funnier, way to stay cool as a cucumber, especially if you have a well-mowed backyard.

Dunk bucket, the not-so-distant distant cousin of the dunk tank, may take this backyard party favorite down a notch in size, but not in fun. After all, who doesn’t love seeing the reactions of friends and family when they get splashed with a bucketful of refreshing H2O? This lawn game is here to keep your head (and the rest of your body) cool this summer, all from the comfort of your backyard.

What You Need to Play Dunk Bucket

While the original dunk tank comes with a handful of safety concerns, the dunk bucket is as safe as houses. That occurs because there is no major dunking involved, meaning you don’t fall straight into the tank and risk various injuries. Instead, the dunk bucket calls for simple materials which are totally harm-free and can keep you, your family and friends safe while playing. Plus, it’s super easy to assemble, making it the perfect choice for spontaneous backyard tournaments. So, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A dunk bucket. You can opt for a DIY version of this construction but it’s rather complicated to set up and requires for certain materials which you may not have in stock.
  • Nylon bean bags. Used to nail the target, these 5” nylon bean bags are somewhat resistant to water, helping you make the less mess possible. However, if you don’t have any bean bags around, you can always opt for a ball.
  • 5 quarts of water. If you want to challenge participants even more and have even more fun, make sure the water is as cold as possible.
  • Some willing participants. One thing is for sure: The hotter the weather, the more “volunteers” you’ll have for that chair.

The Basic Rules of Dunk Bucket

Focusing primarily on fun, the dunk bucket is one of those games that feature little to no rules. After all, who needs rules to tell them how to splash their opponents from head to toe? You just do it! However, if there are kids involved, here are the steps you need to keep in mind for some safe rounds of dunk bucket.

  • Step 1

Place the dunk bucket structure under a flat wooden surface. Since you’re going to pour gallons of water on the same spot, you’d better avoid slippery accidents with a face full of mud by placing a flat wooden surface beneath the dunk bucket structure. This step is especially important if some of the participants are kids.

  • Step 2

Fill the bucket with water. Chances are this bucket won’t be able to hold the water for more than 4-5 minutes at a time. So, instead of filling it manually (which is the most usual thing to do), you can connect a garden hose to the bucket and just open the tap for an easy refill. Word of advice: You are going to need lots of duct tape for this endeavor.

  • Step 3

Split into teams. If you happen to hang out with a crowd, divide into two teams to make the game more interesting.

  • Step 4

Sit the participants of both teams on the chair beneath the bucket. The members of each team must sit under the bucket, taking turns.

  • Step 5

Aim the target with the bean bags. Using the nylon bean bags as your “weapon”, you must hit the target standing at the left side of the dunk bucket. If you hit it hard enough, the water inside the bucket will drench your opponent from head to toe.

  • Step 6

Count the throws. As you throw the bean bags, count the total number of tosses it took for you to hit the target. The team with the fewer throws wins.

2 Safety Measures to Consider When Playing With Kids

As enjoyable as it seems to get wet on a hot summer day, things can take a turn for the worse if certain safety guidelines are ignored, especially when there are kids involved. Unlike adults, children can’t stand the pressure of the water being slpashed all over them. That’s why you, as an adult, need to consider a couple of things before you allow them to sit on the dunk bucket chair.

  • When it’s their turn, make sure the bucket is half full. This way you’ll avoid dunking them in more water than they can handle.
  • Force them to wear shoes at all times. As each dunk is going to add more and more water to the mix, odds are your backyard may become slippery at points. So, it’s best to prevent such falls as much as possible by making them put on their shoes.

Final Thoughts

We can all agree that having a dunk tank in your backyard is not the smartest choice in the world. Aside from the cost, this outdoor game may take up lots of your deck space while also putting some of the participants at risk. So, at the end of the day, we see no reason for anyone to own such equipment.  For a smaller game you could always try ring toss or ladder toss which are equally fun games.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should miss out on the refreshing and fun memories you can create with your loved ones while playing this game. That’s why the dunk bucket poses as a much safer and cheaper alternative. Plus, it doesn’t take up much of your yard space and is easy to store. So, who’s ready for some splash-tastic throws?