We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Some Good Backyard Games?

Mary Elizabeth
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

People lucky enough to have a backyard, whether their own or shared, may wish to find new ways to enjoy it. One of the ways to do this is to use the area for backyard games. Backyard games can be any games that fit the area of a backyard and are fun to play in that context. Backyard games could be what a family plays every Sunday afternoon. Alternatively, backyard games could be what you pull out for the annual Fourth of July picnic with your friends from work. Good backyard games have very different requirements for set-up, and because that may be a major consideration, that’s how this article is organized.

Backyard Games with Little or No Set-Up
Hide-and-seek, Mother May I?, Simon Says, Red Rover, Statue-Maker, and Tag are good backyard games that require no set-up at all, just a bunch of people and a large enough area in the backyard to accommodate them. Some games have very simple or minimal requirements. Flashlight Tag requires flashlights, and Capture the Flag requires a “flag” for each team. Kick the Can, as you’d expect, requires a can. Jump-rope and all its variations, simply require a piece of rope, and games like bocce simply require the set of bocce balls. Games of catch, including Monkey in the Middle or Keep Away, only require a ball or one of the many recently invented objects that sail through the air.

Some good backyard games have a component that is set-up only temporarily. This includes croquet, for which the wickets are put in place for play and taken down after, and any variation on baseball, such as stickball or kickball, which requires four bases, a batter’s box, and a pitching area, though sometimes natural features, rather than equipment, is used in these ball games.

A wide variety of games played with a set-up drawn in chalk on a hard surface can become good backyard games. Four square is a sidewalk game played with a playground ball on a hard surface, but it can easily become a backyard game. A large square—the size varies—is drawn on the ground in chalk, and each side is bisected to form four interior squares. Rules for four square change over time, and there are different rules, depending on region. Hopscotch and all its variations can also be backyard games: all you need is a hard surface marked with chalk. In fact, many so-called sidewalk games can be played on a hard surface in a backyard. Marbles and jacks will work as well. Rules for these games are available on-line and in books.

Backyard Games with Permanent or Semi-Permanent Set-up
There are several good backyard games that are best played with a permanent set-up of some sort. Horseshoes is one. Although you don’t have to build a professional pit in order to pitch some horseshoes in your backyard, if you want the stakes to stay put, you might wish to consider an anchoring system. Stakes are placed 40 feet (12.2 m) apart, and there must be a safety zone on all sides, so a fair amount of room is needed. You can obtain more information from the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America. There are horseshoe sets made of softer materials and using above ground stakes, but you should check product reviews to determine quality.

Tetherball is another game that requires installation. The pole from which the ball is hung is usually installed in concrete. Pool games, such as water polo, of course require that one have a pool, and basketball and Horse require the basketball and the hoop, either affixed to a building or on a stand. Enjoyable games played over a net, such as volleyball or badminton, can be played in the backyard with a temporary or permanent set-up, while tennis requires a more permanent installation.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for WiseGeek, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Jun 27, 2014

If you have enough people for two teams, relays can be fun, and you don't have to just run. You can skip, gallop, crawl or whatever.

Red-light, Green-Light is a great backyard game, too. It's sort of like Statue-Maker. It's fun, especially for younger kids.

Dodgeball is another can't-miss fun game, if you have enough for two teams, and a ball. We used to play it in the gym (and called it Slaughter Ball), but it's fine for backyards, as well.

If you have a group, kids always love Duck, Duck, Goose, too, or even London Bridge or Ring-Around-a-Rosy.

Really, a little imagination is all you need to come up with a good many fun backyard games.

By Pippinwhite — On Jun 26, 2014

Badminton nets are usually easy to set up and take down, and most people enjoy playing it. It's not as formal as tennis, so most people don't mind playing it, even if they're not really good at it. It's also a game where people rarely get hurt.

Blindman's bluff is another classic game that's great for backyards, and fun for people of any age. And all you need for Snatch the Bacon is a beanbag, or any similar object, and some way to mark off a dividing line on each side, in front of each team.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.