Lawn Games for Little Kids
As twilight extends your days well past dinner, it is time for your family to enjoy evenings in the backyard! Check out these fun ideas to get you outdoors.
In the summertime, the daylight seems to stretch on forever (at least well past dinnertime). Why not take advantage of the extra hours to spend some quality time with your family and enjoy that lawn you’ve carefully cultivated and mowed all season!
There are a lot of fun games you can play right in your own backyard, with equipment you can buy at your local sporting goods store.
The English have been winding wooden balls through hoops since the Middle Ages, but croquet really caught on in England in the mid 1800s. Although it was once regarded as a pastime for the social elite, now anyone and everyone can play croquet—rich and poor, young and old—and the sport has become a staple in backyards around the world.
Most preschoolers will enjoy hitting the croquet ball around, but tend to let the rules fall by the wayside. In time they’ll catch on and as their aim improves, they’ll be more interested in shooting for the wickets.
How to set up:
The croquet court is rectangular, and is best set up in a level area with short grass. The backyard version of the game is usually played with nine wickets, and between four to six balls. A stake is driven into the center of the court. Two wickets are placed in a row at either end of the court, and the remaining five are set up in the shape of two diamonds in the center.
How to play:
Between two and six people can play at once. The balls are set up in order of color: blue, red, black, and yellow. One team plays the blue and black balls; the other team plays the red and yellow balls. The goal of the game is to use your mallet to hit all your balls through the wickets and hit the stake before the other team does.
Horseshoes is believed to have developed from the Roman game of quoits, in which an iron ring was thrown around a stake in the ground. The modern game uses horseshoes rather than rings, which is how the name originated.
You may consider starting off with lightweight plastic horseshoe sets that will make it easier for pint-sized players to join in the fun.
How to set up your court:
First, find a level surface. Professional horseshoe courts have a three-foot by five-foot pit around each stake, filled with clay or sand. But if you don’t plan on making horseshoes a permanent part of your lawn, you can simply drive the stakes into the ground 40 feet apart. Mark off a line about three feet in front of each stake.
How to play:
Divide up into two teams, and give two horseshoes to each team. Players should stand behind the line and take turns pitching the horseshoes at the stake. After all the horseshoes have been thrown, the players take turns throwing at the opposite stake. Players score points based on how close they get to the stake: a ringer is worth three points; horseshoes that make it within six inches of the stake or lean against it earn one point. The official game is played to 40 points, but unless you want your game to extend well past bedtime, keep it to around 15 points.
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