8 Summer games to keep you entertained.
Sure, not everyone can pole vault, sailing’s a bit out of the question for a lot of us landlocked folks, and as for wrestling? Well, that might test a few friendships among families and neighbours. Still there’s a wide assortment of summer game options, several of them featured at the Olympics, that are within easy reach. The beautiful thing is, that they’re not only inexpensive, but from a recreational standpoint, skill levels aren’t an issue. Here’s a handful we look at.
Badminton has long been the perfect casual outdoor activity that you can set up in your backyard, a field, or even at the beach. It’s a type of racquet sport played by hitting a shuttlecock back and forth across a net. Badminton makes for a great family activity, as it can be played with either two or four players. Two player games are known as singles, with one person on either side of the court, while four player games are known as doubles, with two players on either side of the court. A game begins with one player serving the shuttlecock diagonally over the net into the other player’s service court. Each side may only strike the shuttlecock once before it passes over the net. A single point is scored whenever a player wins a rally, regardless of whether they served. Badminton games are typically played to 21 points.
History: Badminton was developed in British India during the mid 19th century from the earlier game of “battledore and shuttlecock.” Since 1992, badminton has been a Summer Olympic sport.
Although this game is more popular played in a sandbox area as opposed to a grass surface, horseshoes is classified as a lawn game. It’s played between two people, or two teams of two people. Typically, the game involves four horseshoes and two throwing targets (stakes). Players alternate turns tossing two horseshoes (one at a time) at stakes in the ground, which are traditionally placed 40 feet (12 metres) apart. Any horseshoe that completely surrounds the stake is called a “ringer,” and scores three points. If no ringers are scored, then the horseshoe nearest the stake receives one point. Most backyard games are commonly played to 21 points.
History: It is believed that horseshoes evolved from the ancient Greek sport of “quoits.” As the story goes, poorer citizens who could not afford to buy a real discus, made their own by bending horseshoes. The practice was later adopted by the Roman army, and spread across mainland Europe to Britain, where the aim of the sport remained as a competition to see who could throw the horseshoe the furthest.
Ladder Ball is a lawn game played by throwing bolas (two balls connected by a string) onto a ladder. The game really is as simple as it sounds, but don’t let that fool you, because it’s harder than it looks. Ladder Ball is typically played with up to four players, in either teams of one or two. Once you have spaced the game ladders about 15 feet apart, you can begin tossing your bolas. Each player has three bolas, and must toss all three before another player can go. The goal is to wrap the bolas onto the rungs of the ladder. The top rung is worth three points, the middle is worth two, and the bottom is worth one point. Whichever bolas are still hanging at the end of the round are awarded points. The first team to score 21 points exactly, without going over, is the winner.
History: The origins of ladder ball are for the most part unknown. One theory speculates that the game developed from a pastime in which cowboys in the western United States would throw live snakes at fences or branches for points.
Bunnock is commonly referred to as a cross between bowling and curling. The object of the game is to knock down all of the oppositions bunnock (bones), beginning with the two guards first, using the provided throwers. A set of bunnock includes four black bones (guards), 40 white bones (soldiers), and eight coloured throwers. The game consists of two parallel rows of bones set up 10 meters apart. Each row consists of 20 soldiers placed side by side, with two guards at either end. Bunnock can be played with two to eight players, and is won by knocking down all of the opponent’s bones with the least number of throws.
History: Bunnock is believed to have been created during the 19th century by Russian soldiers as a way to pass time while stationed in northern Siberia. Bunnock got its nickname, the “game of bones,” because the soldiers used dead horse’s ankle bones as playing pieces.
Bocce is an Italian-developed ball sport played around the world. The game can be played between two players, or teams of two, three, or four, where each side is given four balls to bowl. A match is started by a randomly chosen side being given the opportunity to throw a smaller ball (the jack) from one end of the court into a designated zone at the other end of the court. The side that places the jack bowls first. Once the first bowl has taken place, the other side bowls. From then on, the side which does not have the ball closest to the jack has the chance to bowl, up until one side or the other has used their four balls. At this point, the other side bowls its remaining balls. The team with the ball closest to the jack receives a point. The scoring team is awarded a point for each of their balls that is closer to the jack than the closest ball of the other team. Typically, it takes between 7 and 13 points to win a game.
History: The early Romans were among the first to play a game resembling what we know today as bocce. Beginning with Emperor Augustus in the 1st century B.C., bocce was soon introduced throughout the empire.
Croquet is a sport that involves hitting plastic or wooden balls with a mallet through hoops (or wickets) embedded in a grass playing court. There are several variations of croquet currently played around the world, but the one played primarily in Canada is also called “nine-wicket croquet” or “backyard croquet.” In this variation, there are nine wickets, two stakes, and up to six balls. For a two- or four-player, two-sided game, you will need four balls. The ball colours are usually blue, red, black, and yellow. One side (with one or two players) plays with blue and black, and the other with red and yellow. The course is arranged in a double-diamond pattern, with one stake at each end of the course. The object of the game is to advance your ball through the course, scoring points for each wicket and stake in the correct order and direction. The winner is the first side to score 14 wickets points and two stake points for each of its balls.
History: Croquet is a form of ground billiards that has been popular in western Europe dating back to at least the Middle Ages. However, the oldest document to bear the word “croquet,” with a description of the modern game as we know it comes from London, England, in a set of rules registered by a gentleman named Isaac Spratt in 1856.
Cornhole is a lawn game in which players take turns throwing bags of corn (or bean bags) at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. Cornhole matches are played with two sets of bags, two platforms, and two to four players. There are four bags to a set, with each set identifiable from the other using different colours. Cornhole matches are broken down into innings in which every player must throw all of their bags. If playing in pairs, the first side of players alternate pitching until both players have thrown all four of their bags. Then, the players pitching from the opposing side continue to alternate in the same manner until all four of their bags are thrown and the inning is completed. In order to score, the bags must either be tossed into the hole or land on the board. A bag that falls through the hole is worth three points, and a bag that lands on the board is worth one point. A cornhole match is played until the first player or team reaches 21 points.
History: The game described by a gentleman named Heyliger de Windt in his 1883 patent for “parlor quoits” displays most of the features of the modern game of cornhole, but with a square hole instead of a round one.
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis, in which two or four players (singles or doubles) use solid paddles to hit a perforated polymer ball (similar to a wiffle ball) back and forth over a net. The rules of pickleball are very similar to those of badminton. The ball is served diagonally into the opponent’s service zone with an underhand stroke, and must be from behind the baseline on one side of the centre line. A single point is scored by winning a rally. Unlike badminton, only the serving side may score a point, and play for a point ends when one side commits are fault. Similar to tennis and table tennis, you have to hit the ball either out of the air, or after one bounce. The first side to score 11 points, leading by at least two, wins the game.
History: Pickleball was created in the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, at the home of former State Representative Joel Pritchard. When Pritchard and his friends returned to his home after a round of golf, they attempted to play badminton, but couldn’t find the shuttlecock. Instead, they improvised with a wiffle ball, lowered the badminton net, and fabricated paddles from plywood in their shed. t8n