by Kaitlyn Thompson
Summertime is the season when families and friends gather together to have fun and create memories. Family reunions, road trips and vacations form summer itself because of the endless games and activities everyone plays to bond.
When people think about summer games, they typically think of Marco Polo, water gun fights, water balloon fights, etc. However, water-based games are not the only ones that create a healthy competitive environment between families and friends. There are hundreds of games that groups of people can have a great time with.
A family favorite happens to be cornhole (a.k.a. bean bag toss). Cornhole provides a fun and competitive outlet for dozens of people. Whether you play it at a family barbeque, on vacation, your friend’s birthday party or bible school, cornhole is a classic game that everyone of all ages can enjoy. The object of cornhole is to throw the bean bags at the board and hope by some miracle that you can sink the bag into the hole at the top of the board. The object to win is to score the most points, and depending on how you play, points can vary: three points if you sink the bean bag and one point when the bean bag lands on the board.
Croquet is another great lawn game that can be enjoyed by several people. The object of the game is to hit the ball(s), with a mallet, through the six-hoop course that is set up in a particular sequence in each direction and finishing the game by hitting the ball(s) against the peg in the center of the course. In croquet, two, four or six players can take part in the action. When playing, you have a mallet and a corresponding colored ball. The course is set up into a double diamond formation, the starting stake at one end of the course and the turning stake at the other end.
As you begin the game, you decide who will go first and then begin by hitting the mallet against the ball. As you go through the course, you move counter-clockwise to the next wicket/hoop. If one player’s ball does not go through the wicket, then it is the next player’s turn to go. Going through the course is simple, as long as no one knocks your ball out of the way. The first player to pass through all of the wickets in the right order and hit the turning/center stake wins the game. Even though one person has won, the game still continues until each person has finished the course. Croquet may seem difficult, but once you have the proper playing set, it is a family fun game.
Like cornhole and croquet, horseshoes is a classic. One may say that throwing a horseshoe at a peg 40 feet away is not fun, but once given the chance, horseshoes is a game that shouldn’t be ignored. This lawn game defines competition and truly shows which family member can hit a target. In order to play, you need two people, a flat area, four horseshoes (two for each person) and two stakes. The two stakes are separated out 40 feet apart, one on each side. The object of the game is to toss the horseshoe at the stake and hook the shoe around the stake. Points depend on the placement of the shoes: the closest shoe to the stake gets one point, if you have two shoes closer than your opponent’s, you get two points, ringers are worth three points each, ringers and a shoe closest to the stake gets four points, leaning shoes are worth one point and if your opponent throws a ringer on top of yours, they cancel each other out. Whoever scores 40 points, or the number you set as the maximum score, wins the game!
In recent years, table games, such as Yahtzee and Jenga, have become backyard favorites. Just like its table counterpart, Giant Jenga is a marvel when it comes to game time. It’s just like the normal table sized Jenga except, giant! Giant Jenga is played just as regular sized Jenga is: you try and pull out a block without the whole structure tumbling down to the ground. Not only will this game maximize normal Jenga’s fun, but it is sure to create a great competitive dynamic at your next barbeque.
During the summer, there are many people who go on vacations to a beach somewhere in America. In between tanning and splashing around in the ocean, volleyball is a great pastime to play. Just like normal volleyball, beach volleyball requires the ball to be volleyed from one side of the net to the other. The object is to try and get the ball to touch the ground in order to gain point. Then, whichever team at the end of the game has the most points wins! Volleyball can be played anywhere, and with several people at a time. All you need to play is a net, people (at least one to each side) and a volleyball (or even a beachball if that’s what you prefer).
Not unlike volleyball, badminton has a similar concept and is easy to learn for beginners. To play badminton you need a net, rackets and a shuttle/birdie. With at least one person on each side, you rally the shuttle from side to side in hopes that your opponent fails to hit the shuttle so that it falls to the ground. Depending on the winning number of rallies set, whoever has the most won rallies at the end of the game wins. It’s as simple as that.
If the family reunion goes late into the evening and the cousins are getting restless, there are dozens of glow in the dark games to play. Water bottle glow stick toss, glow in the dark wiffle ball and night bowling light up the night with their endless fun. Water bottle glow stick toss requires water bottles and glow sticks. In order to play, you have to put glow sticks into the bottles and then connect the other glow sticks to create tossing rings. The object is easy, just try to toss the rings onto the water bottles. It does not matter how far the bottles are separated out, just as long as the ring can have a shot at wrangling the bottle.
Glow in the dark wiffle ball is night baseball, but with plastic, glowing balls and a plastic bat. This game is played like baseball, three strikes and you’re out, homeruns count and you have to field the ball to try and get the runners out. It’s simple, it’s fun and easy to pick up on. Night bowling is family friendly as well. Like water bottle glow stick toss, you need 10 water bottles, glow sticks and a ball. The glow sticks are cracked and placed inside of the water bottles, set into the typical triangle and at risk of being knocked down by the ball. One must knock pins down in order to win, just like regular bowling.
Summer is about having a good time, so don’t let hot, humid days stop you from getting together with your friends and family. Get competitive, team up with your mom and create memories that will last a lifetime.