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Who Says Fun Games to Play Outside Are Just for Kids?


Young woman with croquet mallet to illustrate the many lawn games for your backyard

Warmer days mean homeowners want to get outside and safely enjoy Santa Barbara’s beautiful outdoors. What could be better than fun games to play outside with those you’ve been quarantined with? Studies show that engaging in playful activities through adulthood can help lower stress, improve cognitive functions, and build social bonds with others. We can all use some of that right now. Plus, the games listed below are certainly a nice change from one’s latest Netflix marathon.

READ: 12 Things To Do When You’re Confined to Your Home

Plus, fun games to play outside are a great way to create some healthy competition between family and (a few socially distanced) friends while getting your body moving. Here are 10 of the most popular (and most fun) lawn games on the market right now:

  1. Croquet
    The game of Croquet dates back to the early 1800s. The object of the game is to hit your wooden ball(s) through the course of six hoops in the right sequence, finishing by hitting them against the center peg. The team that completes the course first with both balls wins. In singles play, each player has two balls. In doubles, the partners on each side must each play only their own ball.

  2. Spikeball
    As seen on “Shark Tank,” Spikeball quickly became popular after the creators got a deal on the popular show. The premise is simple enough: just slam balls onto the bouncy net and try to keep your opponents from hitting them. This wildly challenging and fun backyard game will seriously get your heart rate up.

    Man with Bocce ball in his hand ready to throw it in the backyard

  3. Bocce Ball
    Bocce requires both strength and skill. The game works like this: Teams take turns throwing their balls near the small ball (pallino) but can also attempt to knock their opponent’s ball out of the way. Whether mastering this classic game in tournament-style play or enjoying quality time with friends, this set is sure to provide hours of entertainment. By the way, practicing in your backyard could lead to a spot on the Santa Barbara Bocce League.

  4. Kan Jam
    What do you get when you combine horseshoes with the frisbee? The ridiculously fun game called Kan Jam. This exciting, interactive, and fast-paced disc game is definitely a fun game to play outside. Divide individuals into teams, take turns tossing and deflecting the Kan Jam Disc to score points up to 21. Or perhaps you’ll get lucky and nab an instant win by tossing it into the front slot.

READ: 7 Must-Haves For Your Next Lawn Party

  1. Jenga
    What could be better than a life-sized version of Jenga? Think about it. Toppling wooden blocks is more challenging when you have to stand on your tiptoes to stack the top blocks. The game of Jenga is entertaining (and challenging!) on its own, but if you want to mix things up, why not add some truth or dare messages on the blocks? 

  2. Pickleball
    Here’s a game that fuses tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Pickleball is a popular paddle sport for two to four players at a time, created for all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple, and the game is easy for beginners to learn. But, in no time it can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.

    Twopeople playing cornhole in their backyard

  3. Cornhole
    A classic round of cornhole can easily be played with a beer or Negroni in hand. That’s probably why it’s the game of choice at every tailgate. In case you’ve never played, the goal is to toss a beanbag into the hole. The person that gets the most beanbags in the holes wins.

  4. BucketBall
    This game is a twist on your favorite drinking game: classic beer pong. Only BucketBall takes it to a whole new level by supersizing it. The rules are similar—just try to throw the ball into the cup—but you get three balls to choose from (small, large, and hacky sack) that will change up your strategy. It’s a fun game that the entire family can enjoy.

  5. Horseshoes
    When buying this game, make sure you look for a rubber horseshoes set because it’s much safer than the traditional metal set. The rubber makes it safe for kids of all ages and is easier to set up. Plus, reviewers say that the rubber mats on the stakes are heavy enough to not get carried away by the wind. It’s a lighter alternative for those of us worried about causing accidents in a heated game.

  6. Flickin’ Chicken
    Watch out! This might become one of your family’s favorite games to play outside. In fact, it is so hilarious, the makers practically guarantee that you won’t make it through a round without cracking up. The goal of Flickin’ Chicken is to flick rubber chickens onto a target. But these foul bounce and roll around, so hitting the bullseye isn’t as easy as it looks. It’ll have the whole family rolling with laughter.

Your investment in one or more of these games will provide hours of fun since although the Santa Barbara economy is opening up, our elected officials are still encouraging residents to stay home as much as possible. Between games, you can keep up-to-date on the local economy in the age of COVID-19 with the county’s Twitter page and our local daily press conference, Monday through Friday, 4:30 pm on CSBTV Channel 20, or on YouTube, CSBTV

READ: COVID-19 Information and Resources for Santa Barbara and Montecito

Playing any of the above backyard games are a great way to keep your family busy at home this summer. If your home is in Santa Barbara and you’re considering selling it to move to a different Santa Barbara area neighborhood, give me a call or drop me an email and let’s talk. You can contact me at or by calling +1 (805) 886-9378.


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