I’ve been a suburban homeowner for two whole years now and while I’ve learned many, many lessons—how weeds spread like a disease, for example, or how rotting wood is never, ever a good thing—my backyard entertainment knowledge has grown exponentially since we first inhabited our beloved home. I now know that plastic toys and games barely last one summer. Rain, sun, grass and dirt warp yard toys faster than you can say Amazon Prime, which is frustrating but fine, because usually their cost justifies their fleeting existence.
But sometimes you don’t want to light money on fire and would prefer to invest in a quality product that will last, well, forever. If you’re that person, we’ve got the best backyard games for you that will have the whole family outdoors this summer and every summer going forward, interacting and engaging in some healthy competition. From classics like croquet to newer options like ladder golf and kubb, break the below games out at your next party and watch the whole family gather round to play—and if you’re family is like mine, there will be lots of light-hearted sh*t talking, as well. Which is probably the best gift to give dad this year.
Playboule V3 Lighted Bocce Ball Set
What do we like best about bocce? For one, it’s practically a federal law that you need to have a glass of Italian red wine in your hand while playing. Second, the old-school/old-world vibe it gives off makes the game perfect for families who are lazing the weekend day away together. This set is grit-, sand- and waterproof (not many other brands can make this claim) and each ball comprises an LED light switch that enables the game to be played long after the sun sets.
Ladder Golf Double Tournament Game
If you’re going to buy ladder golf, you want to buy it from Ladder Golf and Tosso founder Brent Doud, who invented the game back in 2003. Crafted from solid hardwood and brass hardware, the set is super sturdy (read: able to withstand golf balls flying at it non-stop) and portable, too (meaning dad be the MVP when he arrives at his in tow at the next bbq!).
Amish Toy Box Croquet
There’s something so classic and traditional about this lawn game—like upon purchasing a home, every new owner should receive the keys along with a croquet set. While there are many cheaper versions online, the Amish Toy Box’s offerings are as sturdy and quality as they come. Handcrafted by Amish and Menonite craftsmen in Ohio, these croquet sets are as beautiful to look at as they are fun to play the age-old game with.
Victory Tailgate Cornhole Game Set
There are LOTS of cornhole sets being sold online these days, but the majority of them are so poor in quality and construction, they won’t last you an entire football season. Not so with Victory Tailgate’s products, though! Made in America from cabinet grade plywood, these cornhole sets are built to last for decades, and they’re all-weather thanks to multiple coats of exterior paint. Folding legs that stay within the board’s perimeter mean no dads or kiddos will be tripping, and you can get the set customized with pretty much any professional or collegiate sports team, company logo or even good ol’ dad’s moniker.
Amish Toy Box Kubb Game
Also called "Viking Chess", Kubb originated on the island of Gotland in Sweden and is taking American backyards by storm this summer. How do you win? Well it takes a mix of throwing skills, strategy…and luck. Or as Amish Toy Box owner Larry Kauffman describes it, the game is “horseshoes, bocce, and cornhole all rolled into one game.” Our favorite offering is made by—you guessed it—those Amish and Menonite craftsmen in Ohio. You won’t find better quality or craftsmenship anywhere else on the market.
Elite Sportz Equiptment Ring Toss Game
The cheapest game on our list, ring toss is also the easiest to pick up—meaning everyone from dad, to great grandpa to your three-year-old daughter can join in on the fun, ensuring the entire family is involved in a little healthy competition. The rings’ durable rope mean they’ll last for years to come, and the game is sure to help with kiddos’ eye-hand coordination and motor skills—while the adults can get a laugh at how the game becomes more and more difficult after a few beers.
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