12 Backyard Games for the Whole Family (Because Everyone Loves a Little Friendly Competition)

Summer's (almost) here. And while we have some great family vacations lined up, from group tours to Disney, we're also hosting friends and family at home. So here's to a little friendly competition in our own yard, firing up the barbecue and creating an inaugural backyard Olympics with these 12 outdoor games that the whole family can enjoy.

Backyard Games for the Whole Family At-a-Glance

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1. Hathaway Games Croquet Set

Best Classic Backyard Game

It's not summer unless someone slices an amazing shot through a wicket to win the game. This version of the perennial lawn game includes colorful mallets, balls, wickets and a carrying case, so that you can be your family's own croquet shark.

Buy It ($110; $62)

2. Bigtree Yard Pong Bucket Toss

Best Backyard Game for Adults

Twelve buckets and a pair of balls can be arranged in various formations to challenge all ages, and this comes with a carrying case so you can play at the beach and in parks. To play, divide into two teams with six buckets each, fill 'em with water or sand so they don't tip over, and take turns tossing the balls into the opposing team's buckets. The first team to get a ball in all six buckets wins.

Buy It ($50; $39)

3. Franklin Sports Badminton & Volleyball Set

Best Two-in-One Backyard Game

Two games in one convenient kit? Yes, please. This set includes everything you need for a four-player game of badminton or multi-player volleyball.

Buy It ($115; $80)

4. Beyond Outdoors Bocce Set

Best Lawn Game

You don’t need much for this game, aside from a flat, grassy space and these resin Bocce balls. It includes a convenient storage case to safely hold and transport the game, a set of eight 90-mm balls, one 40-mm pallino and a measuring tape to keep everyone honest.

$40 at Amazon

5. MegaChess Large Premium Chess Set

Best Outdoor Board Game

This oversized backyard set comes with 12-inch-tall pieces made of durable polyethylene that can be left outside for extended periods, plus a lightweight vinyl mat. So you can leave your position before your next move, and it's a cool-looking lawn ornament.

$219; $160 at Amazon

6. GoSports Giant Horseshoes with Case

Best Updated Backyard Game

The Encyclopedia Britannica notes that the game of horseshoes dates back as early as the first century, when Roman officers played it during the Roman occupation of Britain. Luckily, things have been modernized a bit since then, so heavy metal horseshoes are no longer a requirement. This set includes oversized pieces that have a throwing arch all their own—so even horseshoe pros will be trying something new.

Buy It ($50; $48)

7. GSE Games Ladder Ball with Carrying Case

Best for Older Kids

This ladderball set not only assembles quickly, but it also folds into a compact unit for storing once it’s built. Not sure how to play? Space the ladders 15 feet apart and toss the ropes called "bolas," trying to wrap them around each rung. The top rung is worth three points, the middle is worth two and the bottom is worth one. The first team to 21 wins!

Buy It ($102; $84)

8. KanJam Toss Game Set

Best Beach Backyard Game

Bring your favorite beach game to the backyard for hours of entertainment. Divide into teams and then take turns trying to toss (or deflect) the Kan Jam Disc into the goal. The first team to get to 21 points wins.

Buy It ($50)

9. ECR4Kids Jumbo 4-To-Score Giant Board Game

Best Indoor-Outdoor Set

Sure, Connect 4 can be played anywhere there’s a board. But this brightly colored set is made from weather-resistant plastic and a lightweight frame that can be easily transported from the basement to the yard and back again. It takes just two people to play but you could also tap into your competitive side with a kids vs. parents duel.

Buy It ($250; $237)

10. Splinter Woodworking Shop Yardzee & Yardkle Set

Best Lightweight Backyard Set

These dice are 150 times the size of those used in the vintage board games Yahtzee and Farkle, which makes it extra fun for backyard play. They’re made from lightweight wood that's weather-resistant (so you're OK if you accidentally leave 'em out in the rain). Plus, for every game purchased, a tree is planted.

Buy It ($80)

11. Jenga GIANT JS7 Hardwood Game

Best Giant Backyard Game

Don’t have a ton of space? This giant Jenga game stacks vertically, so it can be played almost anywhere—even in the living room.

Buy It ($170; $118)

12. Beyond Outdoors Wooden Bean Bag Toss

Best Backyard Cornhole Set

Cornhole is a staple at any BBQ. This sturdy wooden set includes double-sided beanbags with one sticky side that stays put upon landing, and one smooth side meant to slide when it hits the board.

Buy It ($80)

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