Affordable games to get the family outside this summer


Most of the games we play these days are on a device with impressive graphics and lightning-quick response times. It’s time to hit the reset button, people — time to get the whole family outside and reconnect with some fresh air and each other. We love these low-cost, low-stress ideas for getting everybody outside, engaged and smiling at each other, not at a screen. Whether you’ve got a big back yard or you’re limited to a local park or public pool, you should be able to find at least one game here that works with your budget and your family.

Put Up a Net

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a pool when temperatures rise, your gaming options just got a lot cooler. With only a ball and a net, you can be shooting hoops or playing volleyball for hours all while keeping super cool in the pool. Volleyball nets are a great investment and can serve double duty as a badminton net or for practicing your water polo shot on a willing goalie. Substitute pretty much any ball for a soft beach ball and get even the youngest little ones in the pool and in on the family fun.

Save Money with Old School Swimming Games

Remember all those old school games like Marco Polo, sharks and minnows, and greasy watermelon football? They require very little to no equipment and even less organization for easy entertainment and exercise together.

And what is greasy watermelon football, you ask? Cover a watermelon in Vaseline and toss it in the pool. First person to get the watermelon out of the pool wins. It’s usually a dogpile of people, a mess of arms and a bunch of thwarted mad dashes for the pool stairs. It’s exhausting good fun.

Get Seriously Healthy With Water Sports

Kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding are also great ways to enjoy local bodies of water and get a great upper body workout. Find local rental companies or make the commitment and invest in one. You can get a kayak for less than $300 these days, or check Craigslist at the end of the season for great deals, too.

Go Green

Enjoy green grass but don’t break too much of a sweat with lawn game classics like bocce ball, croquet, and ladder toss that you can pick up at any sporting goods store. A bean bag toss (or corn hole as some call it) is a lawn game that anyone can play and everyone loves. It’s also an excellent DIY project for the whole family to work on together. What better way to teach the kids about ingenuity and enjoying the fruits of their labor than to build one of these games together? Throw in some power tool safety lessons while you’re at it, too.

Did we mention washers? Frisbee tic-tac-toe? And who doesn’t love a good old fashioned run in the sprinklers? Try any of these DIY lawn game ideas, too. Truly, a few Google searches will get your mind running with ideas about stuff around the house you can repurpose to create simple games that the kids can make with you and enjoy using at the park, beach or in the backyard.


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