25 Highly-Entertaining Backyard Games For Kids 2021

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If you’re anything like me your favorite pastime as a kid was playing outside with the neighbors. Whether we were building forts, having lemonade stands, or competing in different games, we spent 80% of our time outdoors.

To bring back the fun that we had as children, we wanted to share a list of the best backyard games for your kids. Use a few of these game ideas for summer 2021 to inspire your children to play outside more.

How Can I Make My Backyard Fun?

The truth is, you don’t have to go out and spend a fortune to make your backyard fun.

While some families choose to spend thousands of dollars on backyard games and equipment for kids, we believe that with some imagination, teamwork, and competition, you can make any backyard fun whether it’s big or small.

25 Best Backyard Games For Kids

In 2021, kids spend more time indoors staring at screens than they do outside playing. While technology is a huge part of life in this day and age, it’s still very important that children experience and participate in outdoor imaginative play each and every day.

To help you encourage your kids to get outside, we’ve created a list of the 25 best backyard games for kids.

This list includes classic games, new-age games, games that don’t require equipment, and games that the entire family can enjoy.

1. Kick The Can

First up on our list of best backyard games for kids is Kick The Can. An old classic, this game will have your kids running, hiding, and laughing all day long.

We love that this game is so simple and all it requires is a soda can, paint can, or bucket from around your house. No need to run to the store to get this game going!

If you don’t remember how to play kick the can or you have never heard of this backyard game, here’s what you and your kids need to know:

Number of Players: 3+
What You’ll Need: A pop can or a bucket from around the house

How To Play Kick The Can

All of the players will gather around. The player who is “it” kicks the can, which officially starts the game. The other players will run and hide immediately after the player kicks the can.

Once the can is kicked, the player who is “it” will close their eyes and count to 50.

Child kicking a can. Kick the can is one of the best backyard games for kids.

When the player who is “it” finishes counting, they will begin to look for the remaining players that are hiding around the backyard.

As soon as the player who is “it” finds another player, they will call them out by name. Both the hiding player and the player who is “it” will run to kick the can.

If the hiding player kicks the can before the player who is “it”, the game will start over.

But, if the player who is “it” kicks the can first, the hider will go to “prison”.

Hiding players can be released from “prison” if another hiding player kicks the can without “it” seeing them. But, if the player who is “it” spots the other hider before they kick the can, they can call them out, which means they will also go to “prison”.

Continue to play until all of the hiding players are securely in prison.

Once all of the players are in prison, the game will restart and the first person who went to prison in the last game will be “it”.

2. Kickball

There’s no game quite as fun as kickball.. at least that’s what my neighborhood friends and I thought when we were young.

Similar to baseball, kickball typically requires a bit less skill and can be a lot more fun for everyone.

If you want to know exactly how to describe kickball to your children, here are the rules of this backyard game:

Number of Players: 6+ (however, you can improvise)
What You’ll Need: A ball (soccer ball, kickball, or four-square ball work well) and bases (cones, sandbags, or baseball bases will work)

How To Play Kickball

Players will split up into two teams. As mentioned above, it’s best to have 6+ players while playing kickball, but when we were kids, we had as few as 4 players playing at once.

Team one will begin in the outfield and team two will start by “batting” (aka kicking).

The outfield team will man different areas of the field, including first, second, and third base, as well as the pitching mound.

A game of kickball. The batter is kicking the ball to the outfield. Kickball is one of the most entertaining backyard games for kids.

Note: If you do decide to play with fewer players, you’ll have one player pitching and one player covering the bases. To make things easier, play on a smaller field so that it’s easier to manage.

When the pitcher rolls (not bounces) the ball to the batting team, the player up to bat will kick the ball and run to first base, just like in baseball.

The outfield team’s goal will be to get the batter “out”. They can get the batter out by catching a fly ball, tagging the base where the runner is going, or tagging them with the ball.

One of the biggest differences between kickball and baseball is that the outfield players can get the batters out by throwing the ball at them and hitting them.

Tip: When we were kids, we always made a rule that if you throw the ball at a runner, you cannot aim above the shoulders. This kept us safe from a face full of kickball.

How To Win

The object of the game is to score as many runs as possible. This means that players round all the bases and tag home plate. The opposing team will try to stop them by getting three outs.

If the outfield team gets three outs, the teams will trade places: team one will go up to bat and team two will take the outfield.

The game will end after 7 innings. An inning is complete when both teams have gone up to bat.

3. Drip, Drip, Drop

This is a lesser known game that I actually learned as an adult while taking care of young children. Drip, Drip, Drop is a wet and wild version of Duck, Duck, Goose!

What we like best about this game is that it is perfect for hot summer days.

Forget about installing a pool because the kids will have all of the fun they need and it will save you a lot of work, money, and headaches.

Here’s what you need to know about playing Drip, Drip, Drop:

Number of Players: 4+
What You’ll Need: Water Bomb Water Balls and a bucket of water

How To Play Drip Drip Drop

In order to play this fun summer backyard game, have four or more children sit in a circle, just like they would for Duck, Duck, Goose.

Choose one player to be “it”. They will take a water bomb water ball and soak it in the bucket of water. Be sure that the child squeezes the foam ball when it is underneath the water to soak up as much water as possible.

Four children sitting in a circle while playing one of the most fun backyard games for kids: Drip, Drip, Drop.

When the ball is soaked in water, the play who is “it” will start to walk around the outside of the circle. They will gently squeeze the water ball, dripping a small amount of water on the head of each sitting player.

As the dropper squeezes, they will say, “drip” before continuing onto the next player. They will repeat this same action until they decide to pick the player of their choice.

Once they decide on a player, they will squeeze the remaining water from the ball onto that player’s head and say, “DROP!”

The dropper will run as fast as they can around the circle. The chosen player will stand up quickly and chase the dropper around the circle in an attempt to tag them.

As the dropper approaches the vacant spot where the chosen player had been sitting, they will sit down. At that point, the chosen player will become the dropper.

But, if the chosen player does catch the dropper, the game will repeat itself with the same dropper.

4. Cornhole

Sometimes referred to as “Bags”, cornhole is one of the best backyard games for kids.. and adults! Whether you’re entertaining guests at a summer BBQ or you’re trying to keep the kids occupied, cornhole is the perfect option.

Although cornhole is pretty self-explanatory, there are some things you should know about the rules before setting it up for your kids.

Number of Players: 2 or 4
What You’ll Need: 2 cornhole boards and 8 bags (find a complete set on Amazon by clicking here)

How To Play Cornhole

In order to set up your cornhole boards, place them 27 feet away from each other. There will be a person assigned to each board. If you are playing with four players, team members will stand at opposite boards.

Note: For younger kids, we recommend moving the boards closer together to make it easier and more exciting.

When the boards are set up and the players are ready, it’s time to toss some bags.

A cornhole board with bags.

The object of the game is to get the cornhole bags into the hole on the board. Here are the scoring rules:

✅ 1 point for every bag made on the board (but not in the hole)

✅ 3 points for every bag made in the hole

A few important things to note when scoring your cornhole game:

❌ Bags that touch the ground and then jump up onto the board do not count. You must remove that bag before the other player throws their next bag.

❌ A bag touching the board and touching the ground doesn’t count. It must be removed before continuing the game.

As you add up points, you’ll use a cancellation system, which means that you will not add each players points up cumulatively. For each round of throws, you’ll subtract the lower score from the higher score in order to get the final score for that round.

For example, if player one scores 4 points and player two scores 3 points, the score for that round would be 1 point for player one.

Once a team reaches 21 points, the game is finished and the winning team is declared.

5. Egg Toss

Here’s a simple one that the little ones (and the entire family) will love to play: egg toss!

Since I was 6 years old, my grandparents have organized something that we call the “Cabin Olympics”. During this event, we organize several different games and one of the family favorites was the egg toss.

I have no doubt in my mind that this will be a hit for your family, too!

Number of Players: 2+
What You’ll Need: An egg for each team of two

How To Play Egg Toss

Egg toss is one of the easiest games to play because there aren’t too many rules.

The object of the game is to see who can toss their egg the farthest to their partner without it breaking.

A carton of eggs is all you need to start one of the best backyard games for kids: Egg Toss.

To start, assign each player a partner. The teams will stand in a line with partners standing across from each other. Starting distance between the partners should be about 3 feet away.

Each team will take turns tossing the egg to their partner. Once one team finishes a toss, the next team will go and so on.

When each team successfully tosses the egg between each other, all of the players will take one step backward. This will continue until there is one remaining team with an intact egg.

If you decide to play with only two players, it is still a fun backyard game, you just won’t be competing against other teams.

Note: This game can get a little messy, but nothing that a water balloon toss can’t fix. See our suggestions for the water balloon toss game below.

We also had several dogs roaming around the yard while we played the egg toss. Eggs are good for dogs, so we simply let them clean up the mess!

6. Balloon Toss

Moving right along, another one of the best backyard games for kids is the balloon toss. What’s more fun for kids than throwing around water balloons on a hot summer day?

Not only is the balloon toss a fun game, but it is also a great way to cool off if there isn’t a pool available for swimming.

Above all, there’s no better way to get the kids excited about playing outside than with water balloons.

Number of Players: 2+
What You’ll Need: Water balloons

How To Play Balloon Toss

In order to play this simple backyard game, round up the kids and put them in teams of two.

Once you have established partners, each team will line up facing one another. Partners should be about three feet apart.

A child grabbing a water balloon from a bucket as she prepares for the balloon toss, one of the most exciting and crazy backyard games for kids.

To start, the first team will toss the balloon from one partner to the other. Next, team two will toss, etc. etc. It’s best to take turns because it makes it more exciting to see all of the action.

Once each team has successfully tossed their balloon, they will take one big step backward. The game will resume the same way until only one team is left with an intact water balloon.

7. Three-Legged Race

If you’re looking for the best backyard games for kids, then look no further. The three-legged race is another game that we played during our annual Cabin Olympics and it was always a hit.

Watch as the kids (or the entire family) race around the yard to see who can coordinate their steps and run the fastest.

This is even a great game to play many times in one day if you want to really tire out the kiddos.

Number of Players: 2+
What You’ll Need: Soft rope, gunny sacks, or pillow cases

How To Play The Three-Legged Race

Before you begin the race, you’ll need to split the contestants into groups of two. Each group will be tied together by their legs or you can simply have each player put one leg into a gunny sack or pillow case.

Children participating in the three-legged race.

Be sure to determine a racing route before the start so that all of the players know where to go. We have found that down-and-back races are the best because you don’t need too big of a backyard in order to make this work.

Line each group up so that everyone has a fair shot at winning and start the race by yelling, “GO!”.

The first team to complete the racing route will be crowned the winner.

If you don’t have more than two players, you can still enjoy this unique game. You’ll simply be racing against the clock rather than competing against other teams.

Note: Some teams may tumble and fall, but it’s all part of the game. This will not only be a fun activity for your kids, but it will help improve gross motor skills and coordination.


One of the easiest backyard games for kids is the classic basketball game HORSE (also known as pig).

This pick-up game is fun for children of any age, including small kids. All that’s needed is a basketball hoop, a basketball, and two or more kids and you’ve got yourself a friendly game of HORSE.

This will require you to have some type of pavement or hard surface in your backyard (or front yard) so that the kids can dribble the ball before taking shots.

Here are a few more things you can tell your kids when teaching them the game HORSE:

Number of Players: 2+
What You’ll Need: A basketball hoop and a basketball (a small kids basketball hoop will work, too)

How To Play Horse or Pig

HORSE is a very easy-to-understand game that can be played by children of all ages.

To start a game, player one will find a spot to shoot the ball. If they shoot the ball and make a basket, the next player must stand in the exact same spot and make the basket, too.

Young boy shooting a basketball into a basketball hoop while playing HORSE, one of the easiest backyard games for kids.

If player two doesn’t make the same basket as player one, they will receive the first letter, “H”.

This will continue for the next few rounds, but if player one misses a basket, player two gets to decide where to shoot from. If player two scores a basket, player one must attempt a shot from that same spot.

The same rules apply to this situation; if player one doesn’t make the same shot that player two does, they will receive one letter of the word HORSE.

The first player to spell out HORSE loses the game, making the other player the winner.

Note: Playing with more than two players is definitely possible and perhaps even more fun! You’ll use the same rules, but you’ll add another player into the mix.

9. Tetherball

Here’s a game that’s often forgotten about, which is truly a shame because it is one of the best backyard games for kids: tetherball!

Tetherball would be an excellent addition to your backyard because it will keep the kids entertained while also helping them burn off energy.

Since it has likely been a while since you’ve played tetherball, here are the basic rules of the game:

Number of Players: 2
What You’ll Need: A tetherball pole

How To Play Tetherball

Two players are needed for this game and unfortunately more than two players cannot participate at once.

A tetherball pole with a ball. Tetherball is an often overlooked backyard game for kids but it offers plenty of fun.

Note: If you have more than two children in your household, they will need to take turns. To get them excited about taking turns, set up a bracket championship where the winner moves on to challenge the other children.

To start, the players will stand on opposite sides of the tetherball pole. Player one will hit the ball in one direction and player two will try to hit it back in the other direction.

Players cannot hold onto the ball, they must hit the ball with an open hand.

The object of the game is to have the tetherball wrap all the way around the pole. Each player will aim for this goal.

10. Carnival Games

Let’s change things up and make your backyard extra fun with a few carnival games for your kids. And just an FIY, some of our recommendations below include DIY options.

At this point you might be thinking, “oh gosh, how much time and money will this take?”

Two young children participating in a ring toss while sitting on pavement. Design a few carnival games for your backyard this summer to keep the kids entertained.

And I get it. DIY projects can be time consuming. But luckily, we’ve thought of several backyard carnival games that are not only exciting but easy to make or buy.

Here are our recommendations:

Ring Toss

This classic carnival game can be purchased through Amazon using this link: Yards of Fun Ring Toss Game Set.

Your kids will love practicing their ring toss skills in preparation for the local carnival or fair.

Can Blasting

The can blasting game is perfect for a DIY project.

Take a few empty Campbell’s soup cans and stack them on a table in the shape of a pyramid in your backyard. Use a tennis ball as a blaster.

Soup cans and a tennis ball are all you need to create a can blaster game for your backyard.

Mark a spot in your yard where your child will stand and have them toss the tennis ball at the soup cans in hopes of knocking them all down.

If you want to make this a competition between several children, have each child throw three tennis balls at the soup cans and see who can knock down the most.

Fishing Hole

And of course, we can’t forget about the fishing hole carnival game.

To create this game in your backyard, purchase a small plastic or inflatable kiddie pool and fill it with water.

Next, you’ll want to add magnetic fish toys to the pool. This particular set of magnetic fish toys comes with fishing poles so you can kill two birds with one stone.

One of the many carnival games for kids: fishing hole. This is a great option for your backyard this summer.

When the pool and toys are set up, let your kids fish for prizes. We recommend putting numbers on the bottom of each fish and coordinating those numbers with cheap knick-knacks that they will enjoy.

Note: To make the game even more exciting, you could have the grand prize be a real pet fish just like they do at real carnivals. Fish are cheap and easy to take care of and this will teach your children about owning a pet and responsibility.

11. Laser Tag

For the longest time, I didn’t realize that laser tag could be played anywhere. I thought you could only play laser tag at the arcade.

But as it turns out, you can play laser tag any place you’d like, even in your backyard!

Number of Players: 2+
What You’ll Need: ArmoGear Laser Tag

How To Play Laser Tag

There are plenty of different games to play using laser vests and laser guns, some more fun than others.

A girl shooting a laser tag gun at her opponent. Laser tag is an easy way to occupy the kids this summer in your backyard

Overall, the goal of any laser tag game is to target the other player’s vest in order to gain more points. The player with the most points will win.

This game is especially fun to play in your backyard in the dark, possibly during a family bonfire. The darkness allows for more hiding spots and a lot more excitement.

12. Egg and Spoon Race

Keep things simple with an intense egg and spoon race. This is a great game to play with children of all ages because it doesn’t require a lot of skill.

So whether you have young children at home or older kids, they’ll love racing each other to the finish line with eggs on their spoons.

And the best part? All of the necessary materials for this game can likely be found in your home.

Number of Players: 1+
What You’ll Need: Spoons and eggs for each player

How To Play Egg And Spoon Race

Each player will stand on an imaginary line while holding a spoon with an egg on it. When the official (likely mom or dad) says “go!”, each player will race to the finish line.

The goal of the race is to walk or run as fast as you can without letting the egg drop to the ground. Balance is key for this race.

Three eggs and a spoon on a table. These are all the things you need to play the Egg and Spoon game with your kids.

If a player does drop their egg on the ground, they must grab the egg and put it back onto their spoon. They are not able to start walking again until the egg is securely on their spoon and they are no longer touching the egg.

There aren’t any penalties for dropping the egg, but it will significantly slow them down.

To make it more difficult, have the race be an out-and-back. This will require the players to turn around, which is not easy when you are balancing an egg on a spoon.

13. Croquet

Croquet is a classic game that has been around for decades, so of course we had to include it on our list of best backyard games for kids.

This sport requires a bit of focus and coordination, making it the perfect game for children ages 8 and older.

If you’re anything like me, you haven’t played croquet in years and you’ll need a brief update on the object of the game. Here’s what you need to know in order to teach your children:

Number of Players: 2-6
What You’ll Need: A croquet set

How To Play Crochet

Since croquet has some distinct rules, we found that it’s best to watch this tutorial for a complete description of the game:

14. Sack Race

One of my personal favorite backyard games for kids is the sack race. Although exhausting, it was so enjoyable to hop around the yard in competition with my siblings and cousins.

A sack race is similar to the three-legged race mentioned above. The biggest difference is that the players will compete as individuals rather than on a team.

Here’s how you can explain the game to your kids:

Number of Players: 1+
What You’ll Need: Gunny sacks or pillow cases

How To Play Sack Race

Just like the three-legged race, the object of the game is to race as quickly as you can to the finish line.

Three children in gunny sacks hopping in the grass. A sack race is a great game for entertaining the kids in your backyard this summer.

Each contestant will line up with both feet inside their gunny sack or pillow case. When mom or dad shouts “go!”, the children will hop as fast as they can to the finish line.

Sounds easy, right? I’ll be the first to tell you that this is an energy-burning game and it’s perfect for little ones that just can’t seem to sit still.

Note: Be aware that children frequently fall during this game. Scrapes and cuts are common, so take caution and only have the kids race on grass.

Backyard Games With No Equipment

Keeping kids entertained doesn’t have to involve purchasing a bunch of toys and equipment. Below, we’ve listed the 3 best backyard games for kids that don’t require equipment.

15. Freeze Tag

Likely the most popular backyard game for kids is freeze tag. If you haven’t played freeze tag throughout your life, I’d be very surprised!

Not only is it a widely-known game, but it is also one of the easiest backyard games to organize because it doesn’t require anything but three or more kids.

Although you probably know the rules to freeze tag, let me give you a quick refresher:

Number of Players: 3+

How To Play Freeze Tag

One child is selected to be “it”. They can decide this with Eenie Meenie Miny Moe or Bubble Gum Bubble Gum In A Dish.

After a player is selected as being “it”, they will close their eyes and count to 50.

Two young girls playing freeze tag together.

As “it” is counting, the other children will run to hide. Once “it” is finished counting, they will start to search for the other players.

If another player is spotted, “it” will attempt to tag them. When “it” tags another player, they must freeze where they are and they cannot move until another “free” player touches them for more than 5 seconds.

Note: You can also play freeze tag where the “free” players must crawl between the legs of the player that’s frozen in order to unfreeze them.

If “it” can freeze all of the players at once, the game will end and the first player to be frozen will become “it”.

16. Red Rover

Another backyard game that doesn’t require equipment is called Red Rover. Red Rover is an intense game that involves running, pushing, and holding hands as tightly as possible.

If you never played Red Rover as a child, you’re missing out, but your kids don’t have to miss out!

Here are the rules for Red Rover:

Number of Players: 6+

How To Play Red Rover

Red Rover requires at least 6 children in order to play. That’s because both teams must start with 3 or more players in order to keep the game going.

Team one and team two will line up across from one another with about 15 feet in between. All of the players from team one will hold hands and all of the players on team two will hold hands.

A young boy running toward the opposite team while playing Red Rover.

The game will start when team one selects a player from the opposite team and shouts, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (player’s name) right over!”

The player that is selected must run as fast as they can into the hands of the opposite team (see picture above). If the player breaks through their hands, they get to return to their previous team.

But, if the player doesn’t break through the hands of the other team, they will join the new team.

The game will end when one team has been reduced to just one player. The opposing team that has the majority of players will be named the winners.

Note: This game can be dangerous due to force, therefore we recommend playing at your own risk.

17. Ollie Ollie Oxen Free

And I cannot forget to mention my favorite backyard game that doesn’t require equipment: Ollie Ollie Oxen Free.

Ollie Ollie Oxen Free is a version of freeze tag, but it requires the hiding players to return to a home base in order to be safe from becoming “it”.

Since this isn’t a very well-known, we recommend reading through the rules below:

Number of Players: 3+

How To Play Ollie Ollie Oxen Free

The game will start by selecting a player to be “it”. It’s also important that a “homebase” is established. When we were children, we always chose the flagpole in our backyard to be the homebase.

Once these two things have been decided upon, the player who is “it” will close their eyes and count to 50. When they reach 50, they will open their eyes and start looking for the hiding players.

Several children running to find homebase in order to be safe during the game Ollie Ollie Oxen Free.

For the hiding players, they’ll want to be sneaky and try to return to homebase without being seen. If they are spotted by “it”, they need to outrun them and touch homebase before “it” tags them.

Once a hiding player reaches homebase without being tagged, they will yell “Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!” This means they are safe and “it” can no longer tag them.

If all of the hiding players make it to homebase without being tagged, the game will start again with the same player being “it”. But, if “it” tags a player, they become “it” for the next round.

For more summer fun, check out our post: 35 Exciting Backyard Ideas For Kids

Backyard Games For Older Kids

Understandably, some of the backyard games listed above aren’t appealing to older kids. With that in mind, we’ve come up with 8 additional games that we think your older children will go nuts for.

18. Spikeball

A lesser known backyard game, but equally enticing, is called Spikeball.

Perhaps you’ve seen this game played on the beach or maybe you haven’t heard of it at all. Regardless, this is one of the best backyard games for older kids because it will challenge them physically and keep them thinking on their toes.

Here’s what you need to know about Spikeball:

Number of Players: 2+
What You’ll Need: A spikeball kit

How To Play Spikeball

To start spikeball, you must have your spikeball net set up and ready to play. Follow the directions included with your kit in order to set it up properly.

Next, players are divided into teams. Typically this game is played with teams of two, however, we’ve also found it possible to play with a total of two players (one for each team).

People playing spikeball on the beach.

Similar to volleyball, spikeball starts by having the teams on opposite sides of the net like the picture shown above. Team one will begin by serving the ball (this entails throwing the ball in the air and spiking it on the net).

Team two will then spike the ball back to team one, but each team has a total of 3 hits (just like volleyball) before the ball must be spiked onto the net for the other team.

The biggest difference between spikeball and volleyball apart from the size of the net is that players from both teams can move around the net freely. There are no sides after the first serve.

If the ball hits the ground, the team that spiked the ball onto the net last will win a point.

Since this can be a complicated game, you can check out this video to fully understand how to play: How To Play Spikeball.

19. Ultimate Frisbee

For coordinated older kids, you might want to introduce them to the game Ultimate Frisbee.

As you probably have guessed, Ultimate Frisbee is a game that involves throwing a frisbee. Two teams will compete to score points against the other in hopes of winning the game.

Think of Ultimate Frisbee like soccer, but with a few different rules. Because of the differences, you should read about the object of this game and how to play below:

Number of Players: 4+
What You’ll Need: A frisbee

How To Play Ultimate Frisbee

To play Ultimate Frisbee, two teams must be formed. Each team must have at least two players, however, the more players the better.

Team one will start at one end of the playing field and team two will start at the other end. Team one will start by throwing the frisbee as far as they can to the other end of the field while yelling “ultimate!”.

A young boy throwing a frisbee during an ultimate frisbee game in his backyard.

Team two will receive the frisbee. During the serve, they can let the frisbee hit the ground before picking it up to play.

Once they pick up the frisbee, the game begins. Team two’s goal will be to pass the frisbee between players until they reach the other end of the field (or the end zone).

Now here’s the kicker.. the biggest rule of Ultimate Frisbee is that the player holding the frisbee can only take three steps before they must pass it to another player on their team.

Team one’s goal will be to block team two from reaching the end zone. The team on the defense can block the other team by intercepting passes.

If the frisbee touches the ground, it will be turned over to the other team and they will begin passing between players to reach the other end zone.

The team that has the most points by the end of the game or the first team to reach 21 is declared the winner.

20. Bocce Ball

Similar to horseshoes, bocce ball is a thrilling game perfect for older children or adults. It is typically played at summer BBQs or while camping.

Bocce ball can be played with as few as 2 players and as many as 8 players, which makes it great for small or large groups of kids.

This game is relatively popular, but if you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s what you and your kids need to know:

Number of Players: 2+
What You’ll Need: A bocce ball set

How To Play Bocce Ball

To begin bocce ball, team one (or player one) will toss the pallino, or in other words the little white ball. The thrower can toss it anywhere they’d like within the yard.

After the pallino is tossed, the same player will toss their first bocce ball. The goal is to get the bocce ball as close to the pallino as possible.

A complete bocce ball set sitting on grass waiting for kids to play.

Next, player two will throw their first bocce ball toward the pallino in hopes of getting even closer to it than player one’s bocce ball.

This will continue until both players have taken turns throwing each of their 4 balls.

The player who threw a bocce ball closest to the pallino will win a point. They will also win a point for any of their balls that are closer to the pallino than the opposite player’s first ball.

Just like in cornhole, only one player can score points for each round. The maximum number of points that a player can score per round is 4 (one for each ball).

The first player to reach 16 points is named the winner.

21. Annie Annie Over

When I was young, my mom told me all about a game that her and her siblings used to play. This game called Annie Annie Over is an intense competition that involves a lot of running, which is excellent for expending energy.

Note: This game goes by several different names like Ante Over, Annie-I-Over, and many other variations.

Teach your kids Annie Annie Over for a new and exhilarating game to play in your backyard.

Here’s what you need to know about this game:

Number of Players: 6+
What You’ll Need: A ball and a short building (a shed or small garage works perfectly)

How To Play Annie Annie Over

To start Annie Annie Over, players must be split up into two teams (3+ players on each team).

Team one will start on one side of the building and team two will start on the other side. Team one will start by throwing the ball over the building while yelling “Annie Annie Over”.

A young girl running in the grass around her house while playing one fo the best backyard games for kids: Annie Annie Over.

Team two will be on alert because their goal is to catch the ball. If team two don’t catch the ball, they will then throw it back over the building and yell “Annie Annie Over”.

If a team catches the ball that is thrown over the building, the player to catch it will run around the building as quickly as possible in an attempt to hit a player from the opposite team with the ball.

As the runner rounds the building, the team must avoid being hit by running around the building. If they reach their original side, they are safe. If they get hit by the ball, that player will join the opposite team.

This will continue until only one player is left on one of the teams. The team with the majority of players will win the game.

22. Giant Jenga

Sure, regular Jenga is a nail-biting game, but have you ever tried playing Giant Jenga?

Surprise your older kids with this backyard game and watch as they build the tallest tower.. without it collapsing, of course!

If you know how to play Jenga, then you know how to play Giant Jenga. But just to jog your memory, here are the rules for this game:

Number of Players: 2
What You’ll Need: A Giant Jenga set

How To Play Giant Jenga

Two opponents will face each other while playing Giant Jenga.

Player one will start by removing one Jenga piece. The goal is to remove a piece without touching any other pieces or knocking down the tower. If they are able to remove a piece successfully, they will place that piece on top of the tower.

Children playing Giant Jenga.

Next up is player number two. They will do the exact same thing: remove a piece and place it on top of the tower.

This pattern will continue until one player knocks down the tower. The player that doesn’t knock down the tower is declared the winner.

23. Dodgeball

No game is quite as lively as a game of backyard dodgeball. Gather the kids, set up a few dodgeballs and watch the action begin.

Dodgeball is a beloved game all around the world, but rules may very depending on your location. Here is how we recommend playing dodgeball:

Number of Players: 6+
What You’ll Need: 5 balls (soft foam balls are typically the best to avoid injury)

A girl throwing a yellow ball at her opponents during a friendly game of dodgeball in her backyard.

How To Play Dodgeball

Dodgeball starts with two teams on either side of the field. At least 5 balls will be lined up at the center line.

When the official says go, the game will start and both teams will race to the center line to retrieve a dodgeball.

The object of the game is for either team to throw the ball at opposing players. If a player is hit with a dodgeball, they will be out of the game. They must stand on the side of the field while the other players continue to compete.

If a player throws a ball and a member of the other team catches it, the player that threw the ball is then eliminated.

And one last rule.. if only one player remains and a ball is thrown at them, they can catch it to bring all of the eliminated players on their team back into the game.

The game ends when all of the players from one team are eliminated.

Note: Dodgeball is best played in a fenced-in yard so that the balls will stay within the boundaries.

24. Badminton

Introduce your older kids to badminton, one of the most common backyard games.

Similar to tennis, badminton is a great way to get your kids’ heart pumping and keep them occupied in your backyard.

Since the rules of badminton are typically foggy, we’ve included them for you below so that you can easily explain them to your kids:

Number of Players: 2+
What You’ll Need: A badminton set

How To Play Badminton

In general, this game is pretty simple to understand. A player or team will stand on each side of the net to face off against their opponent(s). There should be distinct lines for the badminton court boundaries.

Two young girls playing badminton in a backyard.

Team one (or player one) will serve the birdie over the net to team two (or player two). Team two will return the birdie by hitting it back over the net.

The first player to miss a birdie and let it hit the ground will lose a point. The player that scored the last point will serve for the next point.

To win the game, a player must reach 21 points.

25. KanJam

Our final backyard game suggestion is another frisbee game by the name of KanJam.

KanJam is a unique game that involves two teams and… trash cans. Weird, right? But I can promise that your kids will love this game.

Similar to frisbee golf, your kids will practice their gross motor skills, coordination, and teamwork. Here are a few more things you should know about KanJam:

Number of Players: 4+
What You’ll Need: A frisbee and two “cans”

How To Play KanJam

Since there are several rules to remember while playing KanJam, we recommend reading the official rules here: How To Play KanJam

A boy throwing a frisbee while playing KanJan, one of the best games for kids to play in your backyard.

A Final Note: Backyard Games For Kids

Getting your kids outside will not only benefit them physically, but emotionally as well.

We hope that this list of the best backyard games for kids gave you a few ideas to help you motivate your children to play outdoors, work as a team, and compete in different challenges.

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