One of the oldest ‘yard games’ is lawn bowling, which dates back to the Middle Ages. Naturally, people have been playing outdoors since before we had permanent housing, agriculture, or cities.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a huge yard to play in. I’ve curated ten of the most fun outdoor games for a small backyard so you can get in on the fun even if you have a tiny space to work with.
The best outdoor games for a small backyard are compact but energetic, like ring toss. You don’t need much space to have fun if you know the right games to play, and some are even better when you can’t lose the pieces in a massive area. Fortunately, many games only need 10 or 12 feet of space.
Best Outdoor Games For A Small Backyard
Whether you have the most petite porch or a little fenced-in patch of gravel and grass, there are plenty of great games to play outdoors. Having a small backyard shouldn’t keep you inside.
Here are the 10 best easy and fun outdoor games for a small backyard:
1 – Giant Tic Tac Toe
Just because it’s bigger doesn’t mean you need a large yard to play giant tic tac toe. Even when you only have a five-by-five yard, you can easily fit in Giant Tic Tac Toe.
The simple grid and two types of markers make this easy for players of all ages and skill levels, so you can play with the kids or use this for a rowdy adult good time.
Like the paper version of Tic Tac Toe, you pick one of two styles of markers. Taking turns, you try to get three in a row while also blocking your opponent.
I recommend picking up the OTTARO Giant Tic Tac Toe Game from Amazon. The portable, easy to put together grid and pieces store easily when it’s not in use.
Plus, the environmentally friendly PVC parts are built to last. Best of all, if it starts to rain, you can pick this four-and-a-half-pound setup and take your game inside.
Last update on 2023-01-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
2 – Ring Toss & Tiki Toss
Ring Toss is one of those games that is easy to understand but hard to master. Plus, it’s a lot less likely to cause accidental and significant damage than horseshoes.
It’s also easy to make this game more challenging by simply tilting the stand at various angles by putting something small like a stone under one side.
Traditional ring toss involves throwing a ring like a frisbee and getting it over a pole or cone. A variant called Tiki Toss consists of a hook, small ring, and a string that is ideal for people who have a tiny yard or covered porch as some apartments offer.
In this version, the tiny ring is on a string, and you have to swing it in an attempt to land on the hook.
3 – Giant Jenga
For a small backyard-friendly game that requires precision and has a lot of very intense play, there’s nothing like Jenga.
Of course, regular Jenga is just fine, but if you’re going outside to enjoy some sunshine, I suggest bringing the scaled-up version of this party classic instead.
Make a five-foot Jenga tower, and the size isn’t the only thing you’ll have more of because you have to dodge when the blocks fall.
Jenga is a simple game where you make squares of three same-sized blocks and stack the squares up in alternating directions.
Then each player removes a block in turn, placing it on top of the stack. This game isn’t one with a winner so much as a loser. Whoever makes the tower fall forfeits the game.
Get a Precision Crafted Jenga Giant JS7 set from Amazon, and you’ll have outdoor fun for years to come. The original manufacturer makes this towering block game of Jenga, so it’s not a low-quality knockoff.
When you’re done, the convenient travel bag packs away all those blocks until your next outdoor play day.
- ORIGINAL GIANT JENGA GAME - For 10+ years, this officially licensed company has created over-sized Jenga brand games - the family favorite, building & balancing, wooden block, stacking and crashing game trusted and loved by kids & adults for generations
- LARGEST OUTDOOR YARD GAME - Build & design your own giant wooden tower with the biggest authentic hardwood Jenga game set ever sold! At setup, starts at 26 inches high, and can stack to over 5 feet high in play!
- EVENT GAME - Whether you're with friends, at a party, at work, at the bar, in your backyard, on the lawn, or by yourself, build Jenga blocks with any party size. Perfect for indoor or outdoor use. It's a game that builds anticipation to a crashing climax!
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Last update on 2023-01-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
4 – Mini Golf
You can’t always go out to the mini-put course, but you can bring this hilariously complicated version of golf home to your small backyard.
While I don’t recommend this for the very youngest players, kids over six typically have enough coordination to play a backyard version of mini golf.
Whether you get a kit or DIY with cups, the goal is to make challenging golf shots on a limited and overly complicated course. For the at-home version, you can change the setup for each ‘hole.’
5 – Darts
Darts is not a young children’s game. Older kids, teens, and adults will enjoy this easy throwing game. You need a dartboard with concentric rings and divided sections worth different amounts of points, and a few darts to throw.
Like most games, you take turns throwing the darts.
To play, you step back a few feet and aim for the center of the dartboard. There are numerous variations of the game, some of which you can find on ShotDarts.
However, the general idea is to get as close to the center as possible, or at least land on the higher value sections of the board. Whoever has the highest score in the end wins.
6 – Giant Kerplunk
Kerplunk is a game played in a large, clear, upright cylinder. About halfway down the tube, there is a series of holes, and into those holes, you insert sticks.
The tabletop version uses marbles to fill up the rest of the top section, but any balls or even stones will do. I recommend something light like foam or tennis balls if you make this game.
Once the sticks are randomly inserted in the holes, you fill the top. Players take turns removing one stick at a time until the balls fall.
The original version of this game is for little kids to work on their dexterity, but players of all ages can enjoy giant kerplunk.
7 – Ladder Golf
Ladder golf, ladder toss, or cowboy golf was originally an adult party game, but it’s great for families. You can play in pairs or teams of up to three. Each player gets bolas, which are balls attached by a piece of rope or string.
There are two upright ladders with three rungs each. Flip a coin to see who goes first. After that, you throw all of your bolas at the opposing side’s ladder during your turn.
The goal is to get the bolas to wrap around one of the rungs and stay on the ladder.
8 – Suction Cup Arrow Archery
Archery is a fantastic sport, but it’s not great for small yards. Luckily, there’s a variant for kids that is much better for small spaces.
Suction cup archery is a one-player sport, though you can play it competitively as players take turns aiming for the center of a target.
9 – Croquet
Croquet is usually played on large expansive lawns, but you can set up a much smaller version of the game in your small backyard.
This two to six-player game involves knocking balls through six metal hoops with a wooden mallet. The first player to make it through all six hoops in the right order wins.
My recommended article: 11 Best Croquet Sets For Outdoor Family Fun
Typically, this UK game is played by young people and adults. However, children can quickly grasp how it works and have a lot of fun playing. I recommend this video for a beginner’s guide to setting up.
10 – Cornhole
Cornhole has a silly name, but it’s a simple game. Like many others, this was traditionally an adult game, but people of all ages can play.
All you need is a sloped board with an appropriately sized hole on the upward side and a handful of small sixteen-ounce bags filled with dry corn.
Set up the corn hole and take turns throwing your bags. If the bag goes in the hole, you get three points. Meanwhile, a corn bag that lands on the board and stays is worth one point, and the first player to reach twenty-one points wins.
Helpful Tips To Know About Outdoor Games For Small Backyards
Almost any classic tabletop game you can imagine has a super-sized outdoor version, and many of these are great to play as outdoor games for small backyards. Moreover, many outdoor-only games choose the games that fit your yard the best.
Here are more helpful tips to know about outdoor games for small backyards.
- Classic games like pick-up sticks and Yahtzee also make good outdoor options. You can use the standard size or opt to go with giant versions for inexpensive hours of fun.
- If you have a little more space and enjoy a simple DIY, you can grab a few friends and put together a people-sized version of foosball with just some PVC pipes of various diameters and a soccer ball.
- Most backyard games have common variations you can play once the initial playstyle becomes familiar. For example, dart boards often have a different game printed on the back.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a giant version of a classic, a single-player style modified sport, or a game only ever played in the outdoors.
Pick the games that fit your space and players. Once you’ve played all ten of these outstanding games for small backyards, try inventing your own.