Planning a party is about more than keeping your guests in drinks and nibbles. If you really want everyone to get into the celebratory spirit, you’ll need to make sure to lay on some entertainment… and what could be better for that than some fun outdoor activities? Get your next party off to a bang with these 5 backyard sports games – guaranteed to break the ice, get the adrenaline pumping, and provide the kind of great, all-round family fun that everyone can enjoy.
Take one football, one yard, and one group of fun-loving partygoers, and what do you have the perfect recipe for? Two points to the person who guessed a game of 500. The rules are simple: one person gets the throw the ball (which, by the way, you may want to make sure is soft enough not to inflict any serious damage on your guests), and everyone else gets to try and catch it. Position the thrower on one side of the yard, facing away from the rest of the gang, who should line up on the opposite side of the year, facing forwards. Ask the thrower to call out a certain number of points followed by either “alive” or “dead or alive”. If they say “200 alive”, the ball must be caught in the air by one of the catchers in order for the points to be won. If they say “200 dead or alive”, the ball can either be caught in the air or off the ground. Whoever reaches 500 points first wins the round and gets promoted to the position of the tosser.
If you really want to get your party off to a great start, try Play Party Plan’s excellent suggestion of playing a game of Balloon Down. The premise of the game is simple, but it’s fun enough to keep all age groups entertained. To get started, take three different helium balloons (any color will do, and they don’t necessarily have to be the same) and tie them down with a balloon weight. Next, grab a permanent marker and write point values such as 25, 50, and 100 on the balloons. Tape off one side of the yard and stand the balloons about 10-15 feet away (you may want to bring it a little closer if you’re hosting a kid’s party, or a little farther away it’s an adult’s only occasion). The highest scoring balloon should be the furthest away, and the lowest-scoring balloon should be the closest. Pop a bucket of small, soft foam balls next to the line and you’re ready to go. The rules of the game are easy: each player gets five attempts to try and hit as many balloons as they can. If they hit a balloon, they score the number of points designated to that particular balloon. The winner is the person who lands the most points. Simple, fun, and easy to grasp, this is a great game for kids and adults alike.
Capture the Flag
An oldie but a goldie, Capture the Flag will keep your guests thoroughly entertained, even if they’ve played it a million times before. The only caveat is that it works best in a large backyard over a smaller one. Start by splitting your group into two teams. Each team gets a flag (if you don’t have a spare flag to hand, improvise with a cloth napkin). While team A stays locked away outside of sight in the house, team B should hide their flag somewhere in the yard as best they can (although they shouldn’t obscure it completely by burying it under a pile of rocks – at least a portion of the flag should still be visible). Once the whistle blows, team A is released to find the flag without getting caught by the other team, who can use everything from water balloons to tagging with two hands to either knock that person out of the game, or put them in “prison” (only to be released if team A manages to get the prisoner back to their side without getting tagged again).
Color By Corner
The requirements of Color by Corner are simple: place a flag, colored balloon, or piece of colored paper in each corner of the yard. Select one person in the group to act as a caller: they will begin by standing in the middle of the yard with their eyes closed. Everyone else should line up around the edges of the yard. When the caller cries “go”, all the runners must scatter around the yard. When the caller calls “stop”, the runners must run to one of the corners of the yard with a specific color. 10 seconds after calling “stop”, the caller must yell out a color. All the players who’ve landed up in the corner of the year represented by that color are out. Once the game gets down to only 4 people, each must run to separate corners of the yard when the caller yells “go”. The winner (and next caller) is the last person standing.
For this next game, you’re going to need some specialist equipment (well, as specialist as a set of colored balls and one white ball gets), but trust us, it’s worth the investment. Played extensively throughout France, Bocce Ball is simple to get your head around and a joy to play. The game can be played in either teams or individually, depending on the number of players. Each player (or team) gets two balls of the same color. The game begins by the first player tossing the small white ball from the set into the yard. The game plays out as each player then tries to get their colored balls as close to the white ball as possible. The person whose ball is closest to the white ball earns a point. The winner of the game is the first person (or team) to reach a certain number of points first.