Your grill is fired up and ready to go and your refrigerator is full of enough food and drinks to satisfy a crowd. There’s just one last thing you need for your backyard barbecue: games to entertain your guests. Here are a few ideas that are sure to make your summer party a success your friends will be talking about all year long.
What first comes to mind when you think of backyard games? For many people, it’s croquet, the classic game that involves smacking a ball through a hoop with a mallet. Other backyard classics include lawn bowling and its close relative, bocce. You don’t need a huge yard to play these games, but they’re definitely more fun with additional space.
If your backyard is especially large, your guests might enjoy splitting into teams and playing more active sports like soccer, flag football or softball. If you do end up playing one of these games, keep in mind that it will probably be more fun — and less painful — to fit it in before everyone stuffs themselves with burgers, potato chips and grilled corn.
Horseshoes and more
Two all-time favorite backyard barbecue games are horseshoes and cornhole. In horseshoes, two people alternate attempts to toss horseshoes around stakes in the ground. Cornhole is similar, except players try to toss beanbags through a hole in a raised platform. Depending on how many people are at your event, these games can easily be adapted to team play.
You’ll also find plenty of similar games out there if you want to play something a bit different. With washer pitching, players try to score points by tossing large metal washers into a hole or a cup. Another variation is KanJam, a game where players amass points by throwing or deflecting a flying disc into a pair of large metal cans.
From the tabletop to the yard
Setting up an oversized board game is a good way to make your next barbecue an especially memorable one. Make a list of some of your favorite tabletop games, like checkers or Yahtzee. Now, imagine how these games could be scaled up for backyard play.
Many oversized backyard board games are available to purchase, but if you’re especially creative or handy, you could try building your own version of Jenga with two-by-fours, making an oversized Scrabble game with stencils and plywood or by crafting an outdoor domino set.
It might get wet
It’s summer, so the odds are good that the weather will be warm or hot on the day of your barbecue. Why not set up some water-based games to help your guests cool off? One backyard favorite is a Slip ‘n’ Slide, which you can either buy or make yourself with some heavy plastic, a running hose and a few other items. You could also organize a game of water-balloon dodgeball, which is exactly as fun as it sounds. If you do this, just make sure that all your guests are enjoying themselves and nobody is being pelted unwillingly.
If water balloons and water slides sound a little intense, you could encourage a more relaxed water-based vibe at your party instead. Try filling a few wading pools so guests can pull up a lawn chair and cool off their feet while enjoying a refreshing beverage.
Equipped with these ideas, you’re well on your way to hosting a backyard barbecue that will be the highlight of your guests’ summer.
This article is presented by Jannell Ford in Hanover, Massachusetts.