Fresh-Air Fun: Get Your Game On at the Lake

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Photo courtesy of McAlpine House

After a long winter of cozying up inside by the fire, spring is here, and that means it’s time to get OUTSIDE! According to the Outdoor Industry Association, heading out into the fresh air is the best way to de-stress during these challenging times. As health officials have strongly discouraged traveling to recreation spots during the pandemic, they do recommend engaging in outdoor activities close to home—especially with family members in our own backyards. The rewards to our physical and mental health are reason enough to get out there, as many studies suggest that outdoor exercise is directly associated with increased energy, feelings of revitalization, and positive engagement.

When the weather warms up in your neck of the woods, consider adding some of these socially distanced lawn games to your must-do list. These fun games can bring an element of excitement, teamwork, and friendly competition to your outdoor get-togethers and help create new memories. Just remember to be safe and have hand sanitizer ready to clean any shared play equipment.

A Timeless Classic

Photo courtesy of Backyard Sidekick

Croquet is an Old-World sport that began hundreds of years ago. Back in the day, the six-wicket international game was typically played in a formal manner—wearing crisp and starched all-white apparel—while adhering to a decidedly rigid set of rules. Today, the nine-wicket American version is far more relaxed, all-inclusive, and can be played on any lawn anywhere. Freshly mowed grass is still preferable and creates an even, level surface for the balls to roll smoothly. To “croquet” means to ruthlessly smack your opponent’s ball far away—a HUGE part of the fun indeed.

For a deeper dive into croquet and all its forms, visit the United States Croquet Association. If you’re looking for a great croquet set for your lake home lawn, check out these Amazon best sellers.

On A Roll

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Preferably played outdoors with a glass of wine in hand—so sayeth the Italians—the beautiful game of bocce has a captivating and complex history. Also known as Italian lawn bowling, it is the third most-played sport in the world and one of the oldest yard games known. According to the United States Bocce Federation, Roman soldiers played bocce to unwind between confrontations with the Carthaginians. Some believe this ancient version of the game involved throwing big rocks at a smaller rock, and now, 2,000 years later, our modern-day adaptation basically adheres to the same concept.

Over the last few years, everyone from gen-Xers to baby boomers to winery owners have caught up with the Romans, claims Bocce Builders of America. And why not. This is an outdoor sport that anyone can enjoy—especially at the lake. It’s the perfect activity for safe social distancing while capturing the spirit of joyful comradery we’ve all been craving during the pandemic. 

Regulation bocce courts are 91 feet by 13 feet, but the dimensions of home courts can be whatever fits into your backyard. Variations are acceptable provided foul lines for throwing, mid-court lines for first throw of the pallino (the smaller target ball), and inbound markers are clearly established. 

Serve It Up

Photo courtesy of Karolina Grabowska via Pexels

Badminton or volleyball, anyone? There’s a reason why both kids and adults love these engaging net games you can quickly set up on the lawn at the lake. You can play either one of these team sports out in the fresh air with safe social distancing yet still feel like you’re part of a competitive group.

For instant, easy-to-assemble fun, check out the Beyond Outdoors Standard Volleyball/Badminton Set that includes a net, stakes, four badminton racquets, two shuttlecocks, a volleyball, and an air pump.  

Lawn Dice—Let’s Roll!

Photo courtesy of Jen Woodhouse

This all-weather set of giant dice is just the thing to shake things up on the lawn at your lake house. Made of sustainably sourced kiln-dried New Zealand pine, this literal bucket of fun includes 20+ dice games—Yardzee (Yahtzee), Farkle, Bunco, Pig, and more—plus five dry-erase laminated and reusable scorecards, and a handy lidded bucket for easy storage. Jumbo dice are 150x regular dice size with deeply carved dots and rounded edges for safety and comfort. The game creators at Splinter Woodworking Co.—now known as SWOOC Games—partner with Trees for the Future and will plant a tree for every order. Check out their Giant Tower Game and other awesome lawn games, all made with eco-friendly materials.

Whether it’s a traditional game of horseshoes or a lively party game like Kan Jam, get outside and get your game on!

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