For every jock who turns a casual game of kicking the ball around into an FC-level soccer match, there are 10 other non-athletes just wishing for a simpler activity that allows for some friendly competition and drinking. Here are 10 games you can play in your backyard—whether it’s at family barbecues or bachelor parties—without even having to put down your beer. So slather on some sunscreen and get outdoors!
The 10 best backyard games you can play without setting down your brew
This classic game is easy to play and easy to learn. And best yet, it’s nearly impossible to sustain an injury while playing—a bonus for those accident-prone types who have already had a couple of beers. The game involves throwing washers into a box, with bonus points awarded if you get them into the pipe. Although you can buy a Washer Toss set, building your own is an easy DIY project.
As the name suggests, Beersbee is the ultimate mash-up of drinking and Frisbee. The object of Beersbee is to knock the opposing team’s beer can or bottle off their pole with a Frisbee, whilst holding a beer in your hand. If you knock the other team’s bottle off, they must finish their beer. It’s easy to make your DIY Beersbee poles out of PVC pipes and some wood, but bros can also purchase the equipment online.
No longer considered exclusively a game for retirees, bocce ball is making a big comeback among the under 65s. Originating in ancient Rome, bocce ball begins by one player throwing the boccino (a small white ball) in a designated area. After, each player takes turns throwing his balls as close to the boccino as possible. Sounds simple enough, right? Think again. Play a round with your old Italian grandfather and prepare for humiliation.
Also known as Ladder Toss, this backyard game has a storied history. Some believe the game dates back to the old west, when cowboys and caballeros would throw live snakes at fences or branches for points. (Others believe it was invented in the 1990s in American campgrounds—a much less exciting origin story.) We know one thing for certain: ladder golf is addictively fun.
Unlike volleyball or soccer, badminton is one of the easier backyard sports for “athletes” of any skill level. For an extra challenge, create a rule requiring you to hold a beer the entire match. The first to 21 points is the winner. The loser has to finish their beer. Cheers! And bonus: the beer will help quell any flashbacks to high school gym class.
The goal of Cornhole is to throw a beanbag into the hole of a raised platform. It sounds easy and fun enough, but wait until the first few innings are over—that’s when the real trash talk starts.
This ubiquitous tabletop game gets way more exciting when the wooden blocks are supersized. To build your own, you only need some 2x4s and a sander. Cut the boards into 48 pieces, each 10.5-inches long. Sand all the blocks so they can slide easily out, and if you want, paint the edges fun hues. When it’s time to play, start off with two hands and then switch to one.
Mölkky is a Finnish throwing game that’s inspired by kyykkä, a centuries-old game with Karelian roots. The object of Mölkky is to knock over wooden pins by throwing a wooden bat. Each pin is marked with numbers one to 12 and situated in a tight circle. If you knock one over, you score the amount of points marked on the pin. Build your own version or buy it online.
The game of horseshoes originates from Ancient Greece when poorer citizens who couldn’t afford to buy a real discus made their own by bending horseshoes into a circular shape. At your next backyard shindig, set up a round robin tournament to crown the top player with a gold-medal-worthy prize: a six-pack of beer.
For those who lack the hand-eye coordination that some backyard games require, there’s always Lawn Scrabble. Building your own set takes a bit of time, but the payoff is totally worth it. This portable game will become a hit at every outdoor soiree. Not required: A giant-sized dictionary.