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Justin Dees

Justin Dees

Loan Officer
Movement Mortgage
NMLS ID # 448762
222 East Carrillo St, Ste 107, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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p: (805) 886-8318
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e: justin.dees@movement.com

Our top 12 outdoor games for homeowners

By: Movement Team
June 7, 2024

Memorial Day Weekend is in the rearview mirror, and summer is in full swing! (Can you believe the Fourth of July is next month?) So it’s a great time to break out some outdoor games you know everyone will love. Not sure which ones to go for? Don’t worry!

Whether you have a backyard barbecue, pool, patio or any patch of lawn at all, we've listed our twelve favorite outdoor games that are sure to keep the fun going all summer long.

1 - Horseshoes

With origins in the late 1800s — when real horseshoes were used — this game is played by tossing horseshoes from one end of the pitch to the other to get your horseshoes closer to a peg stuck in the ground than your opponent's. Extra points are earned for leaning on the peg or encircling the peg outright.

It might not be as flashy as more modern games like Beer Pong and Corn Hole, but those newer games are based on the principles of horseshoes. If you need a suggestion on which set to get, we like this steel version 'cause they give off that satisfying "clang" when they hit each other.

2 - Corn Hole

As far as equipment goes, Corn Hole is pretty simple. All you need is a set of inclined boards with holes cut in them and six bean bags in two colors. Technically, the bags can either be filled with beans or corn (hence the name). But all you need to do is set the board up at your next party, and you're ready to go!

What's great about Corn Hole is that it doesn't exclude anyone; grandparents and grandkids can play against each other with no problem. More importantly, it's a game that people can enjoy even if they're not playing, and players can chat with non-players without interrupting the game. Plus, you can make your own if you’re feeling handy, or you can order one from places like Etsy. Just look at this patriotic one that’ll have you ready for the Fourth of July!

3 - Yard Yahtzee

Yard Yahtzee is just like regular Yahtzee, but instead of having a handful of dice and friends sitting around a kitchen table, you get to toss oversized dice and hang out in the summer sun. That's why it's also called the Lawn Dice Game.

Players take turns rolling as many as five dice, picking which to roll again to score the most points. The dice can be rolled up to three times, and players score dice combinations after each turn, similar to hands of cards: three-of-a-kind, four-of-a-kind, a full house, etc. A Yahtzee, worth 50 points, is when you get all dice with the same number. You can buy a premade game, or if you feel adventurous, make your own DIY set.

4 - Bocce

Summers in Italy are filled with smartly dressed men of all ages gathering in the town square for an afternoon game of bocce. Here in the US, the uniform is more shorts and flip-flops, but the game is the same. It's simple, can be played by anyone of any age and you can use just about anything as a bocce court as long as its level: gravel, hard-packed dirt or a small, level section of lawn. Just mow a patch to create a bocce court. Two people can compete, but bocce is more fun when teams play against each other, usually four party-goers. Here's a nice bocce set from GoSports.
 

 

5 - Lawn Twister

Twister is a great party game, for sure. But when playing it indoors, it’s easy for the furniture to get in the way. So it might be best to take this activity outdoors. Plus, summer is a great time to do it out on your lawn. Besides, tumbling onto the grass is a lot less painful than doing the same on a hard floor. And you don't even need the big vinyl mat from the home version. All you need is a patch of grass, a few cans of spray paint (give it time to dry before playing) and a DIY template for the circles. Here are the instructions!

6 - Ladder Golf

Unlike the Tiger Woods version of golf, where players stay respectfully silent during an opponent's turn, Ladder Golf encourages hoots and hollers to rattle other players. Each has three bolas (a rope with two balls on either end) that are tossed one after another in an effort to snag them on a ladder rung. Landing one on the top rung is worth three points; the middle gets you two; the bottom nets just one point. A good strategy is to knock another player's bolas off the rungs so that they get fewer points. The highest-scoring player at the end of the round throws first next time. The first to get to 21 points exactly is the winner. Here's a no-nonsense ladder ball set from Wayfair.

7 - Giant Jenga

Because "Jenga" is a registered trademark, this game is sometimes referred to as Tumbling Towers. But no matter what you call it, it's a fun and strategic stacking game that's been making appearances in patios and outdoor spaces of bars, breweries and wineries across the country.

The fact that it could fall at any time provides the thrill of faster-paced games, but you can still carry on a friendly conversation as you play. But, because it can collapse, this lawn game is not recommended for families with small kids running around. You can buy the authentic Jenga version here, or why not make your own?

8 - Mölkky

Another wooded lawn game is Mölkky, a popular one in Europe that got its start in Finland. Find a nice patch of grass, and stand up twelve wooden pins, each painted with a number, one through 12. The goal is to rack up exactly 50 points by knocking the pins down.

Here's where the strategy comes in: knock over multiple pins and get one point per pin. Knock over a single pin, and you get points equal to the pin's number. But don't go over 50. If you do, your score gets cut back to 25 points. After a player's turn, the pins are reset in the exact spots where they land. In this way, the "board" is constantly changing, and no two turns are the same. It's sure to be your most requested lawn game by summer's end. Find Mölkky here.

9 - Frescobol

While all the other games on this list pit player-against-player or team-against-team, Frescobol is different because instead of an opponent, you have a partner. The goal is for Frescobol players to work together rather than to score points. The one rule to Frescobol is to be collaborative and, using wooden paddles, hit the ball back and forth without letting it hit the ground. The ideal distance is about 25 feet apart, but you can choose the distance that’s best for you!

Having gained popularity on Brazil's beaches, Frescobol can be played anywhere you have some open space. Your new backyard is perfect! We've seen cheapo Frescobol kits sell for just thirty bucks, but to be authentic, spring for wooden paddles. We love this sweet set for under $100 from Amazon. They're lightweight and will last forever.

10 - Swimming Pool Basketball

If you have a pool in your backyard, why not combine swim time with game time? Especially since water can make games more exciting! Ever tried swimming pool basketball? It’s the same as regular basketball but you get to stay cool while playing in the pool. Plus, splashing the opposing team is a viable option here. Check out this cool basketball set up on amazon if this is the game for you!

11 - Pool Volleyball

We know you’ve probably heard of beach volleyball, but what about pool volleyball? If basketball isn’t quite your sport, then maybe give volleyball a try. Just split into two teams and set up your net to get started! Plus, the water makes jumping a little more challenging for this game. Check out this inflatable volleyball net for your next pool day! (It even comes with a basketball hoop if you want to try that, too.)

12 - Diving Pool Toys

Need a pool game that’s a little more kid friendly? You can never go wrong with diving toys. Kids can have a great time searching the bottom of the pool for whatever treasures lie at the bottom. Just make sure what you throw in the pool is weighed for they don’t float to the top. Here’s a diving toy treasure set that even comes with some game cards to help you get creative in the pool!

Have a great summer in your home!

You waited all winter long to enjoy your outdoor space, so go for it. Round up the family, text out some invites, fire up the BBQ and let the games begin.

Still haven't gotten pre-approved for your next home (with a yard, hopefully)? We can help. Reach out to a loan officer near you to discuss your options today!

Movement Mortgage "MM" red logo
Author: Movement Team

About Movement Mortgage, LLC (“Movement”)

Movement is not just a mortgage company – they’re an Impact Lender and force for positive change. With more than 4,000 teammates across all 50 states, they reinvest the majority of our profits back into the communities they serve. Movement is the 10th ranked top-producing residential mortgage company in the U.S., funding more than $20 billion in residential mortgages annually. The company has contributed nearly $400 million to the Movement Foundation since 2012, funding the Movement Schools network, affordable housing projects and global outreach efforts. For more information on Movement and Impact Lending, visit movement.com/impactreport .

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Justin Dees
Justin Dees
Loan Officer
Wondering how much home you can afford? Let’s talk about your next move!
222 East Carrillo St, Ste 107, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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NMLS # 448762

State License #CA-Temporary Authority