With the weather getting nicer, it’s only natural to be planning some outdoor activities with your friends at parks, beaches, or a big backyard. According to the latest CDC guidelines, the best ways to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19 is to stay six feet apart from other people, especially those you’re not living with, wearing masks, and regularly sanitizing any shared equipment. We have a guide to the items you’ll need to comply with these recommendations, but what should you do when you’re out there?
We’ve collected six games appropriate for all ages that you can play outdoors while keeping the appropriate amount of distance between players. If you live with all of the people you’re playing with, and everyone has taken precautions, your overall risk is lower. If you’re with people who haven’t been following the CDC’s guidelines, or don’t live with you, we suggest wearing gloves at all times to prevent direct contact with any shared equipment.
You should also check with your state and local lawmakers for the latest data concerning active cases, and guidance on whether or not it’s safe to socialize in your area. If you’ve taken the right precautions to minimize your risk, and want to spend time outdoors with friends and family, here are some games you should consider playing.
Kan Jam is a deceptively difficult game in which four players (in teams of two) try to score 21 points by throwing a Frisbee toward a round, plastic can. Hitting the can with no interaction from your teammate counts for two points, if your partner hits the Frisbee so it makes contact with any part of the can, it counts for one point, if your partner hits the Frisbee into the opening on top of the can, it can counts for three points. If the Frisbee makes it through the front slot with no interaction from your teammate, it’s an automatic win.
The cans in Kan Jam are always spaced further than six feet apart, so the only shared point of contact players have is with the Frisbee, which can be cleaned regularly.
Cornhole is a game in which two players (or four players in teams of two), throw bean bags at an sloped, wooden board with a hole toward the top. If a beanbag lands on top of the Cornhole board, it counts for one point. If the beanbag gets into the hole, it counts as three points. The game is played until one team gets 21 points.
According to the official rules, Cornhole boards must be placed 27 feet apart, which complies with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. Players can choose between using red or blue bean bags, so each team only has to touch the ones they throw, which reduces the risk of shared contact.
Sometimes called “lawn bowling,” Bocce is an Italian game in which players (individuals or teams of two) try to score 12 points by getting their balls closest to a smaller one called a pallino; here’s how it works.
At the beginning of a round one player rolls the pallino roughly twenty feet away. Players then take turns rolling their larger balls toward the pallino. Once all the balls have been tossed players determine the larger ball that’s closest, which counts for one point. If multiple balls from one team are closer to the pallino than any ball rolled by the opposing team, each ball counts for one point. Players can throw their ball in an attempt to knock their opponents balls farther away from the pallino, without hitting the pallino itself.
Bocce can be played on multiple surfaces, including grass, sand, and on an official court. You shouldn’t play on a hard surface like concrete or pavement because you could damage the ball. Bocce balls come in two colors, so players and teams don’t have to touch the same ones.
Typically played on an official course, this mini golf set allows you to play at home. The set comes with one club, two balls, four “holes,” one tube, one windmill, three slides, and a set of mats and borders you can use to play indoors. The object of the game is to complete the course you’ve set up while hitting the ball the fewest number of times. The ball must go into each hole before moving players can move on to the next one.
The ability to customize your course each time you play, and the option to set it up indoors if you don’t feel comfortable spending time with other people outdoors right now makes it the most versatile game on this list. To avoid shared contact with other players, we recommend you get at least one more putter before you play.
Horseshoes is a game for up to four players, and combines some of the rules of Cornhole and Bocce. Players begin by stick two metal stakes into the ground, then attempt to throw their Horseshoe (U-shaped metal widgets) toward it. Horseshoes that hit the stake and spin around count for two points; if no player makes that shot, the team whose horseshoes closes to the stake get a point. Teams are awarded multiple points if their horseshoes are closer to the stake than any thrown by their opponents. The first team to score 21 points wins.
This set comes with four horseshoes: one pair is gray, the other two are blue. Teams or individuals only need to touch the two horseshoes they throw, which minimizes shared contact.
Lawn darts is the only game we’re recommending that can be played with six feet of distance between players and no shared equipment (unless you’re playing on teams). This set comes with four lawn darts (two red, two blue) and four hoops.
Each team sets its rings at two distances (five feet and ten feet away, for example), and attempts to throw their darts so they land inside one of the rings. If your dart makes it inside the closer ring, it counts for three points. If your dart makes it inside the further ring, it counts for five points. The first team to score 21 points wins. If no player gets darts in their hoop, the player whose dart is closest to one of the rings scores one point.
Players only interact with the hoops and darts they’re playing with, and teams can socially distance from one another while playing.