Go Outside and Play

Posted by: Shel 15 Comments

Go Outside and PlayIs anybody else still mourning the loss of Jarts? Remember that yard ring-toss game that made mothers sound like an excerpt from A Christmas Story: Be careful with those or you’ll poke your eye out! Well, apparently not enough kids listened to their mothers and the game was taken off the market. I don’t get it – like horseshoes didn’t knockout a person or two?? And who hasn’t tripped over a wicket or seen a croquet mallet wielded as a weapon?

For our Friday Five I thought I’d look for some safe yard games. Here are a few that promise to be (almost!) as enjoyable as Jarts  – and none of them take as long (or as much space) to set up as croquet. So grab your mate while the weather’s still nice and go outside and play!

1. Ladder Golf Game. The buddy who introduced us to this game noted you could find it at big box stores for about $20, but could build your own sturdier version for a few bucks more. The one pictured here, from the Wireless Catalog, is a glow-in-the-dark version for some evening fun.

Go Outside and Play

2. Bocce Balls (also known as lawn bowling). This traditional game is a personal favorite! Sets can be found in sporting good stores and online shops. Prices for real balls (there are plastic versions available – not nearly as fun) range from $30 on up to a fancy $200. This set from L.L.Bean with it’s durable case is $90.

Go Play Outside

3. Backyard Bean Toss. Shown here is a 3-hole version from Triumph. There was also a mini one-hole version. My internet search turned up plenty of brands to choose from with prices ranging from $20-$50.

Go Outside and Play4. OGO Sport Copter Darts. Kind of a weenie-version of Jarts (no points!), but with the same premise. They’re easy to pack up and their soft materials lend themselves to indoor spaces also. Most of the sets I saw were about $35. Here’s a brief look at what Copter Darts look like in play.

5. Score Tower. This is a fun accessory for any of the games above. It not only helps you keep track of the score, it holds a beverage for you! ($42.99)


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  • I love bocce ball. It’s a lot of fun on the beach. Come visit and we’ll play … I promise. 🙂 By the way, so happy to catch up on some of your posts. Life and writing got a little crazy busy and I got really behind. I love your posts.

    • Shel Harrington

      I didn’t see a date and time on your invitation! Never have done beach bocce ball, but combining the beach with anything makes it better! Glad you had a chance to check in, Kim!

  • Love this post! I totally miss lawn darts! And where can I find the rules to this golf game? I just started working at a senior center and found one in the closet but only the Spanish rules survived. Lucie (email submitted privately if you know)

    You already helped as now that I know the name, I can likely find them online somewhere.

  • Ooh, I loved croquet. And Bocce? Never played – for some reason I always thought it was a faker game – like only in a movie or a play I saw or something. I would love to try that!

    • Shel Harrington

      I think you’d like it, Lisa – there’s a reason it’s been around for centuries. Simple, one can get skilled at it, but it’s enjoyable no matter the skill level. It’s a good social game.

  • Fun ideas! Played cornhole (variation of backyard bean toss) for the first time in August with friends and totally enjoyed it. Always wonder why we don’t do things like that more often.

    • Shel Harrington

      We can play in the folks front yard next time I’m home – give the neighbors something new to look at!

  • Croquet is another fun one I remember. Never heard of Jarts.

    • Shel Harrington

      I always liked seeing the colorful balls and mallets lined up. You’re making me want to go dig our set out of the garage – maybe when we loose about 10 more degrees of this Oklahoma heat!

  • I remember playing Jarts, but I didn’t remember the name. I always loved playing Horseshoes. Have fun!

    • Shel Harrington

      I liked to play, but I never mastered Horseshoes. Seeing others play takes me on an instant trip down memory lane. The simplicity of it – as with bocce balls – wins over techy gizmos for me every time!

  • Denielle Williams Chaney

    I love this!!! With two active boys at home, we will for sure be using the ideas on this post ASAP.

    • Shel Harrington

      Glad to hear it, Denielle! The Ladder Golf was new to me and we have really enjoyed it.

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