The weather in Texas is Finally It’s starting to look like springtime (even though Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter) and I’m here for that. While my allergies might be protesting, I really want to go outside among friends (safe of course!) And play a few adult outdoor games.
It’s crazy to think we’re approaching the one year anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdown, but our family is taking the same positive approach as starting the lockdown and making the most of it. That means more art projects than since middle school and reading more books than ever before … I just wish I had this list of boredom in March 2020.
My favorite part? Going outside for some fresh air and play games like we’re kids again. My family really enjoyed being outside, moving around and being competitive.
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And let me tell you, our activities have been heated in the best possible way. Now that the weather is starting to cooperate, I can’t wait to recreate these “field days” with family and friends. If you’re looking for ways to safely spend time with loved ones, read these tips, then check out our list of the best outdoor games for adults to come up with ideas for your weekend plans.
Bocce is one of the easiest yet most competitive games you can play. I grew up playing backyard bocce ball tournaments in my grandparents’ backyard with my sisters and those games are some of my fondest memories to date (although I think we invested more in the color ball we had to throw than in the game itself ). The game is played with eight large balls and a pallina, a smaller ball. The aim is for your ball to land as close to the pallina as possible. If you land your ball right next to the pallina and then see it roll 10 feet away, your blood can definitely be boiled. This sentence Glows even in the dark, so the fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down.
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Paddleball is one of my favorite games and also the one I’m worst at, but that makes it all the more fun. I have vivid memories of my parents having intense paddle ball competitions on Galveston Beach as a kid and they made it look so easy. I was always frustrated that I couldn’t hit the ball more than five times in a row, which is why I stand by the fact that it is actually an outdoor game for adults. While I’m still not sure if my family is following the real rules, we have the best time to count how many times we can hit the ball back and forth without it hitting the ground. This set from The Beach People is breathtaking and makes every player feel like a professional.
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As an avid golfer with three daughters not particularly interested in sports, croquet was something my dad liked to set up in the back yard and play with my sisters and me. He loved teaching us how to hold the racket and how to aim as we chopped off and tried to get the ball through the little hoops. Again, we never paid too much attention to the rules, but it was always so much fun seeing who could make it through the course first. Anne Campbell, Editor, best described the game: “It’s fun for all ages and looks great on the lawn whether it’s being used or not. (Even more perfect in combination with mint juleps and summer dresses …) “We can’t say more.
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Is it just me or have you heard and seen Pickleball everywhere these days? Whether it’s an outdoor double date or a neighborhood tournament, everyone is raving about this game. It’s similar to tennis, but played on a badminton-sized court with special paddles and a wiffle-like ball. I’ve noticed more and more parks are building pickleball courts and have even been to some friends’ homes where they have their own in their back yard! Look for your next dish or get yourself this set from Target and try the game that nobody can stop talking about.
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Four square volleyball
While researching the four field rules for my family, I came across this four field volleyball game and have been dying to get it ever since. It is the love child of the classic four-square and volleyball game and seems to be written with “I’m addicted” everywhere. The rules are the same as for four squares, but instead of throwing them on someone else’s square, sharpen them! This game is guaranteed to be the main event of your next barbecue. Until I get a net and my own set, I’m still playing traditional four-square, and so should you.
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Corn Hole is one of those classic outdoor games that never get old. It’s also a very energy efficient game that you can play with a drink in one hand and a conversation at a time. It is essentially a beanbag that is played in teams where each player must do their best to throw their beanbag into the hole in the board. Scoring is simple too: one point for landing the bag anywhere on the board, two for hanging on the edge, and three for crafting. While you can always find corn-hole boards with more character, I recommend buying a simple wood set and getting creative. I’ve seen beautiful plaques with the family’s hand-painted names and been to a few events where everyone can sign and date the plaque with brightly colored crayons, add their handprints, and more.
You may be wondering if Jenga is really an outdoor game but make it huge and it is no longer safe for the kitchen table. Just ask executive producer Michelle Nash about her broken water glass fiasco. When you haven’t played, basically you are arranging all the blocks in a specific way to build a tower and removing them one by one without it collapsing. Michelle’s advice? “Just avoid a windy area and definitely keep all drinks out of the crash radius.” This set from SunnyLife is beautiful and would make a great gift too.
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Spikeball is one of the ultimate outdoor games as it can be played in the grass, on the beach, and even in the pool. This one will definitely get your heart racing as you have to be quick on your feet to hit the ball in the middle of the players on the trampoline before it gets away from you. Our associate Brandy Joy Smith and her family are huge fans of this, both adults and children.10 of 13
I know this is not your typical outdoor game, but when our editor Anne Campbell sent me these beautiful backgammon sets, I couldn’t help but add them to the mix. She recommends putting the game on a picnic table, and it doubles as pretty decor too! This is definitely a scene I can get over with – sitting in the back yard, Flatland Calvary playing in the background, a glass of rosé and friendly competition. The sets come in green, red, and blue and I’ll be spending far too much time deciding which color to add to my game collection.
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No list of outdoor games would be complete without a horseshoe. My dad built a homemade horseshoe pit in my back yard when I was little, and although it has been covered in grass and weeds since then, I now want to fix it. All you need are two stakes, two horseshoes, and a lot of patience to hook the horseshoe around the stake. This traditional Texas game is a favorite of our editor Lauren Zielinski, and she notes, “It’s actually not as easy as it looks if you’ve never played it before, and it brings me nostalgic back to tiny honky-tonk bars with open jukeboxes who have opened doors and lots of ice cold Lonestar beer in deep south Texas. “
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While some people might want to quit Beer Pong in their college days, I recommend updating the game and trying BucketBall. It’s basically the same as traditional beer pong, but with larger buckets and a tennis ball. You can play with or without alcohol, but the alcohol definitely makes it more difficult, fun, and an outdoor game for adults. It takes all of the fun and competitiveness of the original game but leaves out the lukewarm beer and sprouted ping pong balls. If you happen to have 20 trash cans lying around, you can jumbo it up and play with a basketball.
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table tennis table
Even if this is played most of the time, ping pong can certainly be viewed as an outdoor game. There are plenty of tables that can withstand the weather conditions. So why? would not Do you play the game outside Riley Reed, our contributing editor, recognizes that ping pong requires some skill and coordination, but is loved and appreciated by all.