9 Sustainable backyard games to play with family

Eco-friendly outdoor play is highly beneficial for your children's health 

Outdoor play can help your little ones develop motor skills and overall physical and mental health, especially lowering stress and anxiety. Plus outdoor environments allow your children to connect with nature! These sustainable backyard games are seriously fun for the entire family!

We’ve all had our backyard picnics and barbecues, and the kids have definitely had their days of entertaining themselves in your yard. But everyone needs a little something extra to do when they’re outside — no one wants everyone staring at their phones all day long, even if it is summer.

Now that there’s probably some kids running around, you’re going to need a little more for them to do while they’re outside. You might want to get a sandbox or two, but not everyone has the space for that. 

Maybe you could get a big pile of dirt and water it down? But this is hardly sustainable, and probably gets noisy after a while. 

What about some games? We’ve got you covered with the most sustainable backyard games to play with a family that is sure to keep everyone entertained.

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1. Foam darts

First off, if children (or teens) in your house like Nerf guns, then you could make an easy trip to a sporting goods store for some foam darts. For .10 cents a dart, you can have a lot of fun making targets. 

You’ll need something to hold up the targets — a board or a thick stick does nicely — and then it’s time to get your darts out. This is a great outdoor game that is important in the life of your kids.

2. Wiffle golf

Wiffle golf is one of those extremely simple backyard games to play with a family that requires very little investment. Wiffle golf sets are usually inexpensive, but if you have a few Wiffle balls and some PVC pipe lying around the house, you can make your own Wiffle golf course.

If Wiffle golf isn’t for you, how about Wiffle ball? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like, Wiffle ball is a Wiffle golf set without the holes.

3. Soccer

One of my personal favorites to play with family, but also one that takes up a lot of space is soccer. You can buy an inexpensive soccer goal from a sporting goods store and make yourself some makeshift goals out of PVC piping as well.

Studies show that soccer has amazing health benefits. If you don’t have the space to have a Wiffle golf course or Wiffle ball field, then try setting up some targets with PVC piping for your kid’s Nerf guns.

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4. Tchoukball

If you’re looking for something more complex than Wiffle football, but still solar-powered, check out tchoukball. It took me way too long to figure this game out, but basically, there are two teams of five players who attempt to throw a Wiffle-like ball into the other team’s basket. If you really want to see someone hurt their face with an errant throw, try tchoukball.

5. Cornhole

Although it is officially called beanbag toss, you can make each side as long as you want. But the general rule is that the two boards are placed 22 feet from one another. 

It’s a fairly simple game to play with family. Simply throw your bag at the other player’s board and see if it goes in. If you have a Wiffle golf course, you could also try Wiffleball beanbag toss.

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6. Reverse Charades

In this version of the classic party game, one person is chosen as a guesser and can ask yes or no questions. The rest of the team has to use gestures and other methods to get their partner to guess the given phrase or word.

This makes for a great team-building exercise as well as a way to just have fun. For an added twist, put a time limit on how long the guessing player can ask questions or bonus points for getting your partner to guess the phrase before the timer runs out.

7. Capture The Flag

This classic game is always popular with friends and family because it forces kids who are too young to play competitive games to work together. Capture the flag works great in a backyard setting because there are plenty of places to hide and sneak around without getting caught.

Instead of having everyone on one team, you can split people into two teams that need to work together in order to win or assign players who are too young for this game onto one team (I recommend making it the same team every time).

To make the game more difficult, try adding a twist like hiding both flags in the opposing team’s territory or requiring that someone on each team come unarmed.

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8. Target Practice

For a fun, safe activity that everyone will enjoy, try a target practice. You can use anything from empty cans to jugs of water filled with paint. This is also a great way to get older kids comfortable with using tools safely and responsibly.

This is a good activity for all ages and a way to work on hand-eye coordination for both kids and adults.

Instead of just shooting at a target, try giving the players a challenge like only being able to shoot from a certain spot or using a limited number of bullets.

9. Bocce Ball

Bocce balls are large balls about the size of baseballs with dots on them. They can be played inside or outside depending on the surface you are playing on. To play, everyone takes turns throwing their ball as close to the target ball as possible.

This game is a classic and will be around for many years to come and at its core, it is about strategy and skill.

For a younger crowd, there is bocce mini which turns the classic game into a fun and fast-paced dice game that everyone will have fun playing.

If you would like to know more about games like these, pay a visit to GameQuarium.com for inspiration.

Don’t let the summer slip by without playing some games with your family. We all want to spend time outside, and these sustainable backyard games are a great way to get people of all ages involved in playtime while also teaching them valuable skills for life.

What other types of games do you enjoy with your family? How could we help make those experiences more meaningful or memorable? 

Let us know – we love hearing from you.

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