Lawn Games: Prepare for Summer

Photo by Shari + Mike

Photo by Shari + Mike

Growing up I never took lawn games too seriously.  They were fun and all, but as a kid I had more interesting things to do than knock a ball around a yard with an oversized hammer.  As I got older I realized just how important these simple and seemingly goofy games really are.  It gets the friends and family outside, gets everyone talking (the beer may also play a part in that) and most importantly can start a tradition that can last for years.

We've now been playing Kubb for years.  Every summer the family looks forward to it where lore is created and legends are made out on the lawn.

I wanted to make sure everyone was ready for Summer, which is why this guide is put together this April.  Be in top lawn game form as the weather turns warmer and beer gets colder. 

Here are the best lawn games for the Summer.  Order a set, pour a Tom Collins and plan your summer yard dominance accordingly.

BOCCE BALL

This Italian classic, which is named after the play on words "bacci" or "kisses" in Italian is a favorite from the beach Dad's in Kennebunkport to the hipster kids down in Austin.  We all know how to play it - get the big ball next to the little ball - it's a simple game.  So simple that it's been played through history originating in the Roman times. 

I love this one from Houzz with a wooden box to transport your set - you'll look like you've pulled it out of your Italian Uncle's Alfa Romero. 

PRO TIP:  Grip your throwing ball firmly with your thumb and pointer finger and toss overhand.  This will ensure the proper english to stop the ball while giving you accurate aim.

DRINK:  Beer:  Peroni   Cocktail:  Negroni 

KUBB

Photo by Shari + Mike

Photo by Shari + Mike

Legend has it that Vikings played this game during down times between pillaging coastal towns.  Others say the Swedish invented it in the early 20th century.  Either way it's nordic, very fun and sure to turn some heads in public.

Think of Kubb like a cross between horseshoes, bowling and the best game of chess ever.  The object of the game is knock over your opposing team's kubbs that are set up in a row in front of you - however there is a level of strategy to the game that will keep even the fieriest of competitors coming back for more while giving the novice first timers a helluva good time "tossing the wood" as friends of mine call it.   

This set from YardGames.us is perfect with a carrying case.  That wood is heavy and you're going to want a little extra help. 

PRO TIP:  When tossing the baton at the kubb aim just short to make sure any extra bounce can up your chances of knocking over a kubb.  And watch your toes.  I recommend playing on grass or hard-pack sand.  

DRINK:  Beer:  Domestic   Cocktail:  Gin & Tonic

KAN JAM

Photo by Shari + Mike

Photo by Shari + Mike

Around since the 80's, Kan Jam is another simple, highly entertaining game that everyone can enjoy - so long as you can throw the 'bee with some accuracy.  I like it because it takes the relaxing and highly un-competitve activity of frisbee and adds in teams and a great payoff every time you score a point. 

Object of the game is simple - get the frisbee in the can - but the fun part comes when you're partner (who stands next to the can you're trying to jam) is able help the thrower by trying to deflect any errant toss into the can.  Think of it like a lazy, frisbee ally-oop - and nothing is quite as satisfying as jamming the kan in the hot summer sun.

Kan Jam is trademarked so there's only one manufacturer of the game.  Buy at a place like Dick's because they'll usually run a sale or a deal along with it.

PRO TIP:  If you're the 'jammer' use two hands.  I know this means putting down the drink, but it's only for a second - I swear.  If you're the 'thrower' watch the wind and play with it - also remember it's harder than it looks and you'll need time to warm up.

DRINK:  Beer:  Flying Dog   Cocktail:  Margarita