Best Lawn Games

Although the weather has been almost unbearably hot in WNY lately, the fact remains that we don’t have much longer to enjoy the great outdoors before snow will be knocking at our doors again. In hopes of cooler evenings and a few more summer picnics before the leaves start to fall, here are some of my favorite family lawn games.


I think my love of croquet started long before I had ever had the opportunity to pick up a mallet–thanks to the iconic Alice in Wonderland scene where the balls are hedgehogs and the mallets are flamingos. Something about croquet screams “English teatime garden poshness” to me, and it feels like I’ve stepped into a filming of Downton Abbey. Croquet is suitable for children of almost any age, although you’ll want to make clear that mallets are not to be used as weapons before getting the game started. One of the great things about croquet is how adaptable it is to lawns of all sizes. If you don’t have a lawn, try a local park.


A long-held favorite of my Italian-heritage family, bocce is an Italian ball sport that involves tossing a small white ball (known as a jack) somewhere on the playing field and then players taking turns trying to get their ball to land closest to the jack. The bocce balls are heavy, so younger children may not be able to participate, but cousins as young as seven have played in our family without a problem. To involve children who are even younger, let them be in charge of throwing the jack.

Ladder Golf

This game, which involves a ladder made out of PVC pipe and two golf balls held together by a piece of rope, involves a bit of skill to get the rope to wrap around the ladder rungs. Make sure to clear a sizable playing space to avoid injuries!


Many of these lawn games are easily adaptable to beaches, and will then have the added benefit of being close to water for a post-game cool-down! (Image Credit:

Because we are TutorDoctor of WNY, it wouldn’t make sense to have a list of lawn games without the locally-developed Kan-Jam. Who knew that a frisbee and two plastic barrels could be so much fun?


This is the game that perhaps requires the most advanced set-up, but badminton is one of my all-time favorite lawn games. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as feeling the shuttlecock thwack off your racket over the net.

What are some of your favorite summer lawn games?



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