Inexpensive Games to Play in the Backyard


Yes, you love your son, daughter, spouse, parent or friend dearly – but when it comes to lawn games, they are the opponents and your goal is to crush them. OK, so that might be a little harsh, but there’s no doubt that many Minnesotans enjoy a little bit of friendly competition during the warmer months. Your lawn is the only part of your property that can serve as a playing field, and there are many ways to take advantage of this open space and soft turf:

Ladder Golf:

Ladder golf

If you’ve ever played ladder golf, you know that things get very competitive very quickly. Opponents stand about 20-30 feet apart and take turns tossing bolas (two golf balls connected by rope) towards a ladder-like structure. Landing your bola on the top rung is worth three points, the middle rung earns two points and the bottom scores just one point. A big backyard is great for anyone who lacks coordination, since the bola will safely land on the bed of grass. If you have kids, be sure they don’t start a contest to see who can throw bolas the highest, or you’ll end up with a damaged yard. The more you practice ladder golf the more likely you are to earn bragging rights in the family.


One of the main reasons soccer is the most popular sport in the world is because it is easily accessible. Nearly any open area can become a soccer field, so long as you have a ball, some players and a goal. A healthy lawn is a great play area – the spongy soil and smooth grass provide the perfect cushion for players. You don’t even need to set up two goals to have a good time. You can put your own twist on soccer by making it into a game of horse. Depending on the shape of your lawn, players can get very creative with their shots on goal. You will get better traction wearing cleats, but you probably don’t want to use them on your lawn. These shoes tend to dig out clumps of grass, and that’s never a good look for a yard. Take precautions and you’re sure to get your kicks right in your own backyard this summer!


This is a classic lawn game that has been the source of family fun for well over a century. The goal of croquet is to use a mallet to hit grapefruit-sized balls through hoops (or “wickets”) around the yard. You can set up your course however you like, so no two games are the same. Things really get interesting when players strategically hit their opponents balls out of the way as they progress through the hoops. A freshly mowed lawn is the perfect place to play croquet – it’s safe to drop mallets on the grass and the surface has just the right amount of resistance for a shot. When you aim for the ball, be careful not to leave a divot in the grass. No shot is worth roughing up your lawn. With enough practice, you can set yourself apart in a game that brings your family closer together.



Tossing bags into a hole may seem relatively simple, but when you’re competing with friends and family to see who can do it best, finding the right technique makes the difference between winning and losing. Cornhole involves two teams of two players standing at a distance and facing each other. Just like ladder golf, the goal is to accurately throw an object (in this case a bean bag) towards a target next to the opposing players. Cornhole makes for a great lawn game because the equipment is relatively cheap and it doesn’t take long to master. There’s no running, kicking or clubs involved, so you can enjoy the game without hurting your lawn. Bring out your competitive spirit with intense matches that come down to the wire.

Games and activities help you get the most out of your lawn. While some people view a lawn as a purely aesthetic part of their property, active families are sure to end up with a few grass stains this summer. Instead of staying indoors, watching a ballgame on TV, get some bonding time with your loved ones on your own playing field. Your lawn is where summer memories are made, so find a sunny day and get outdoors!