What are the best backyard games to play this summer?

Summer Games Banner

Cornhole, badminton, bocce ball, ladder golf, and wiffle ball are a few of the most popular summer games. With warm weather in full swing across most of the country, more and more of us are spending our afternoons and evenings outdoors. Whether it’s just you and your family or you’re throwing a party with friends and family, it’s important to have backyard games to play on those warm summer days. Some can be enjoyed with your favorite beverage in hand, while others get your competitive juices flowing. Check out our guide to the games, equipment, and how-to for some of the most popular backyard activities!   


1. Cornhole

Bag toss, corn toss, cornhole, whatever you want to call it, claims the top spot as the most popular backyard game in the country. It’s a leisurely but competitive game that can be played by four people at once, and doesn’t take up a ton of space. The rules are relatively simple to learn and the game itself is pretty simple: take your bean bag, loft it towards the board, and try to get it to land on the board or – even better – in the hole.


The American Cornhole Association (yep, it exists) is a great source for official rules of play. There are some basics you’ll need to know:

  • The official cornhole board is 48” x 24” and made of half-inch plywood. The hole in the cornhole board is 6” in diameter, and centered 9” from the top and 12” from each side of the board.
  • There must be 27’ from board to board. Friends on the losing team may blame their poor performance on the boards being too far apart, so it’s handy to know the official setup!
  • The scoring system is 1 point for a bag landing on the board, 3 points for a bag going in the hole, with the winner being the first to 21 points. You can use standard scoring in which points are simply added up after each toss, or cancellation scoring. Cancellation scoring means that if you land two bags and your opponent lands one bag on the board, you’re awarded one point because your opponent canceled out one bag.

Many people get creative in building their own boards and bags, but you can also buy ready-made sets and be playing in no time!

Ladder Golf

2. Ladder Golf

Another one of the most popular backyard games is ladder golf (or ladder toss, lasso golf, etc.). Ladder golf consists of a three-rung ladder, usually made out of some kind of hardwood and PVC; and three bolas, which are two golf balls attached by a nylon rope. The ladder is set 15’ from the toss line, where players toss each bola individually at the ladder and try to wrap their bola around a rung of the ladder.

Points are awarded based on which rung the bola lands on: the top step is worth 3 points, the middle step is worth 2 points, and the bottom step is worth 1 point. Games can be played with 2 or 4 players, and the first team or individual to 21 points is the winner. If you're looking for a game the whole family can enjoy, ladder golf may be it!


3. Badminton

Badminton is a classic, more active game that works in even small- to medium-sized yards that you’ll find in many subdivisions. It’s a racquet sport played by 2 or 4 people racquets to hit a shuttlecock back and forth over a net. The official court size is only 44’ long x 20’ wide, and the net is just 5’ high. 

With a compact court and simple equipment often sold in a convenient, portable kit, badminton is a great way to get active even if your space may be limited. In areas where there might not be enough room for kickball or wiffle ball, badminton is a great way to get four people up and active!

Wiffle Ball

4. Wiffle Ball

Backyard wiffle ball is a time-honored tradition for many families. Mine still talks about home runs, unhittable pitches, epic catches, and long afternoons rounding the bases playing wiffle ball at our big family gatherings!

Wiffle ball is one of the most inexpensive, easiest games to set up and can be enjoyed by many people at once. Some yard space, a simple plastic bat, plastic ball, and something to mark off distances or bases are all you need (although a board or something to set up as a strike zone can help avoid arguments and prevent you from having to use a catcher!) It can also be enjoyed by both kids and adults. Like many of these games, there are official rules that you may not have been aware of. Whether you’re playing it like traditional baseball or within the official wiffle ball rules, where hits are awarded based on how far the ball is hit, it remains a family favorite.

If you’re looking for a game that can be set up quickly and inexpensively while also involving a bigger group of people, give wiffle ball a shot. It’s a great way to get everyone up and moving, plus it lays the foundation for kids that may end up playing baseball or softball as they get older!  

Bocce Ball

5. Bocce Ball

Bocce ball is a fun, surprisingly challenging game that can be played in almost any yard. It’s kind of like (and often called) yard bowling, and it’s maddeningly simple yet competitive.

The game consists of one smaller, target ball called a pallina or jack, and eight larger balls. Two teams compete and each have four of the larger balls. One team rolls the pallina out (all tosses are underhand) and then the teams alternate for the first throw of their regular bocce ball with the goal of getting as close to the pallina as possible.

Only the team with the closest ball scores points. They’ll get one point for being closest, then additional points for the other balls they have that came to rest closer than the opponent’s closest throw.

You can pick up everything you need for your next get-together in a bocce ball set.

Whatever game you choose, remember all of these are best enjoyed with good company and food on the grill. Doitbest.com has everything you need to create a perfect backyard setting, including the games to keep everyone entertained!

Start playing today!

Top of Page