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I'll let you in on a little secret: outdoor games are not just for kids. While the importance of play for children is well documented, researchers have found that adults who make play a regular part of their lives report lower levels of perceived stress, strengthen community ties, and even make themselves more attractive.
Outdoor play is often linked to heart-healthy physical activity (and is a lot more fun than labouring away on a treadmill) and is positively associated with overall health and cognitive development for people starting from childhood.
However, if team sports were never really your thing, there are dozens of games you can take up this summer to get outside and get playing — and with the Victoria Day long weekend coming up, it's the perfect time to add some fun games to your arsenal.
From childhood classics to reviewer favourites, these are the 19 best adult-friendly outdoor games you can play this summer for barbeques, camping, parties, family reunions, weddings, backyard fun and beyond.
Best outdoor games under $50
Introducing this summer's must-have beach toy: Skip Ball. This durable, water-resistant ball skips across the water for the ultimate game of catch. Amazon shoppers call the top-rated toy "perfect" and say it makes for "fabulous play in the water."
Great for camping, the backyard and family get-togethers, this four-person croquet set comes with four wood mallets, two wood stakes, four balls and nine dipped wire wickets. Plus, the budget-friendly set includes a convenient carry bag for easy storage and portability.
From the makers of Exploding Kittens comes Throw Throw Burrito, a dodgeball card game. To play, users must collect matching sets of cards faster than their opponents while simultaneously ducking, dodging and throwing squishy airborne burritos. This outdoor-friendly game has earned a whopping 25,000 reviews on Amazon and an average rating of 4.7 stars. According to one shopper, it's "easy to learn" and you "end up working up a sweat" by the end of the game.
These fan-favourite flying rings are 80 per cent lighter than standard frisbees, making them safe for little fingers and toes. With a whopping 14,000 ratings on Amazon, shoppers say the toy is "good for kids" and "lightweight."
Measuring 3.5 by 3.5 by 3.5 inches, this set of six dice is perfect for camping, backyard tournaments and more. The dice set comes with a bonus Rollzee and Farkle scoreboard and a canvas carrying bag. With 4,600 reviews and an average rating of 4.6 stars, Amazon Canada shoppers call the dice a "nice addition" to the "family game cupboard."
Best outdoor games under $75
Perfect for a pick-up game at the park or to stow in the back of the car for weekend trips, this waterproof corn hole set comes with two boards and eight bean bags in two team colours. The set has earned over 2,100 reviews from Amazon shoppers and an average rating of 4.3 stars. It's a "sturdy little set," according to one reviewer. It's "perfect" for the "park or [the] beach."
Dubbed "America's No.1 Party Sport," Kan Jam is a fun and straightforward game for all ages and skill levels. In teams, players throw the disc at and into the target to get points. The frisbee set has become a favourite among Wayfair shoppers, earning an average rating of 4.7 stars. According to one reviewer, it's a "fun game" and provides "hours of entertainment."
This UV and weather-resistant washer toss game is made from high-quality wood and plastic. The set includes a rulebook, a carrying case and eight washers and rings. With an average rating of 4.5 stars on Wayfair, shoppers say the Bolaball set is "good quality" and provides "endless family fun."
This knock-off toss game supports a wide variety of targets, including water bottles, beer cans and small toys. The goal of the game is simple: Players toss the frisbee disk through the air in hopes of knocking off the target. However straightforward, it has earned more than 1,600 five-star reviews on Amazon. It's "oh so addictive," according to one shopper, and whether you're "five or 65," it's such a "great and easy game."
Best outdoor games under $100
A lawn game classic: this Bocce Ball set includes eight high-gloss playing balls, a canvas carrying bag and a measuring device for when the competition gets stiff. The set is "excellent," says one shopper. The heavier weighted balls are "more true to the pro game."
Bring your favourite board game to the backyard with this life-sized Snakes and Ladders set. Measuring 10-feet by 10-feet, the set comes with eight ground stakes to keep the mat in place and one giant inflatable die.
You've seen it on the beach, you've passed it in the park, and now, it's time to play it for yourself: that's right, we're talking about Spikeball. This "insanely fun" backyard game has earned close to 12,000 reviews from Amazon shoppers and an average customer rating of 4.7 stars.
Perfect for when the sun goes down on those warm summer nights, this light-up bean bag toss game includes four battery-powered light-up bean bags and two glow targets so you can keep the fun going. With an average rating of 4.8 stars, 96 per cent of Bed Bath & Beyond shoppers would recommend the game to a friend.
Pickleball is a family-friendly sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong in one easy-to-learn game. It can be played anywhere and requires only a badminton-sized court, two paddles and a plastic ball to get started. This top-rated Pickleball set from Amazon comes backed by more than 1,300 reviews and an average rating of 4.7 stars.
Best outdoor games under $250
These high-quality ladders are constructed from solid hardwood with weighted bases for more stability and longevity. The bolas are made from real golf balls for that same authentic experience you remember from childhood.
If you've never played disc golf before, you're in for a treat. This challenging game involves concentration and strategy, yet fun and engaging competition for players of all ages. The Hathaway Games set includes one steel target, six weighted discs, 12 deflecting chains, four ground anchors, one flag, one nylon carrying bag and a rulebook.
It's everything you love about Jenga but in jumbo form. This Jenga hardwood game starts at 26 inches and can stack to over five-feet high during play. With an average rating of 4.9 stars, Wayfair shoppers call the set "very entertaining" and say it's a "popular" choice for games night.
Great for golf fans or as an early Father's Day gift, these golf ramps are covered with artificial turf and feature a foldable steel leg. With an average rating of 4.6 stars, Wayfair shoppers say the game is a "lot of fun for both golfers and non-golfers" alike.
This oversized version of the classic four-in-a-row game can be enjoyed indoors or outside and has everything you need for old-fashioned, low-maintenance fun. The set includes a sturdy pine wood game board and 42 playing discs in two colours for easy two-player games.
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.