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Outdoor Games for the Best Summer Yet

Jul 23, 2015

by Valerie Rains

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

What better excuse for spending a whole day outdoors than staging a ladder-golf round robin or a winner-take-all badminton tournament? (Pro tip: Don’t forget the trophy!) You can find countless options for hand-crafted and vintage lawn games on Etsy — which one is your favorite?

Games Where You:
Toss

Whether you call it baggo, tailgate or cornhole, a good, old-fashioned bean bag toss is a classic summer pastime. Serious players might opt for a regulation-play wooden set (customized with a state flag, alma mater, or monogram), but there’s also something to be said for a vintage carnival-style board emblazoned with a creepy clown face. Other solid ways to warm up your arm: mastering the ring toss, learning the ropes of ladder golf, and hitting the horseshoes.

From top: LCLWoodWorking lawn dice set, $75; HomeandHearthVintage Bobo the Clown Bean Bag Game, $65; ColoradoJoes state flag ladder golf set, $195; VintageTreasuresRus kids’ rubber horseshoe set, $25; MidwestCornhole classic pyramid cornhole boards, $135; NemoWoodArt boomerang, $59; RozEmazingDesigns ladder ball game, $115.

Games Where You:
Topple

Fact: knocking things over is fun, as babies the world over discover before they can even talk. Introduce an element of strategy and a scheme for racking up points, and you’ve got hours of all-ages fun in the making (even if one of these games is technically about getting your opponent to do the toppling). Keep an eye out for fun international options like Swedish Kubb, a horseshoes/bowling hybrid with (supposed) Viking roots.

From Top: Country Kubb hardwood Kubb game, $115; ThePickledHoot giant stacking game, $125; WillowHeights redwood Kubb set, $55; Outdoorspieler Kokajun throwing game, $54.

Games Where You:
Swing

From vintage croquet sets to handcrafted beach tennis paddles, Etsy sellers have many ways to improve your swing — or at least the look of it. (And when all else fails, they make great photo props for summer parties.)

From Top: IVAMIR birch plywood beach paddle set, $39; VintageBettyLuke croquet set, $87; 86 home 1930s Teenie Weenie Lawn Golf set, $850; HellaSlingshots reclaimed wood beach tennis paddle set, $78.

Games Where You:
Roll

Thousands of years before Lebowski lounged lane-side, bowling games began as outdoor activities, spinning off a range of iterations (bocce, pétanque, candlepin, duckpin, and beyond). No smelly rental shoes required.

From top: CrolAndCo vintage petanque balls with leather holder, $62; KeepsakeToys wooden kids’ bowling set, $39; ScoutandForge vintage bowling pins, $125.

 

Games Where You:
Aim

Thanks to injury-preventing elements like foam-tipped arrows, ping-pong ball ammo, and felt-ball slingshot fodder, anyone can work on his or her aim without worrying about putting someone’s eye out.

From top: IGWwoodworks ping pong ball shooter, $15; ThwackArchery bow and arrow set, $25; HellaSlingshots reclaimed rosewood slingshot, $44; HellaSlingshots wood-and-leather slingshot, $34; HellaSlingshots felt slingshot ammo, $13 per bag.

 

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Valerie Rains is an editor at Etsy.

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