Get active during the warm-weather months with these outdoor games. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue for guests of all ages or an adults-only summer cocktail party, games can make your events more fun and memorable. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite summer pursuits for kids and adults, along with women’s outfit ideas to keep you stylish and comfortable.
One of the easiest games to set up and play is badminton. It can be played with a net in a manner similar to tennis, or players can simply hit the birdie—also known as a shuttlecock—back and forth. Kids can have fun seeing how many times they can hit the birdie back and forth without it touching the ground. Badminton sets are available at many stores, and they’re usually quite inexpensive.
Dress for this casual outdoor game in women’s shorts and a short-sleeve tee. There are elastic-waist shorts and pairs with five-pocket jean styling. If you like knee-length shorts with resort flair, consider a pair of Bermuda shorts. When shopping for a T-shirt, choose Supima cotton for softness and durability. Supima cotton has a long-staple fiber that resists wear and holds its shape, plus it’s colorfast.
If you want to put a tennis-inspired spin on your badminton outfit, pair a women’s polo shirt with a pleated skirt. There are athletic skirts that work well for most outdoor sports. Or opt for a skort, which combines the best features of skirts and shorts.
Another backyard game is volleyball, although you can also take it to the beach. As few as two people can pass the ball back and forth over the net for a casual game, or you can separate party guests into teams. In traditional volleyball, players take turns serving and playing different positions, although you can make up your own rules for a casual home game. Don’t be too competitive or strict about the rules of outdoor games—unless you’re playing at an official level, the games can be modified to suit you and your guests as needed to ensure everyone has fun.
Volleyball is an active game, so you’ll want shorts and a tank top or tee made from high-performance fabrics. There are moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics infused with stretch, which come in many colors and prints. Most provide UPF 50 for covered areas, which is an important feature for outdoor apparel. There are athletic shorts that work well for most sports—including volleyball. An elastic waist with drawstring and lightweight fabric are two important features to look for in a pair of sporty shorts.
We think there’s just something relaxing about sailing a flying disc through the air, which is why we’ve included Frisbee on our list. Things can get pretty active, though, when you’re running to catch one. Set up an informal game by positioning guests at different intervals—depending on how much space you’re working with and how many people are playing. If you don’t have enough room in your backyard for this or any other outdoor game, gather your crew and head to the part for more playing space.
Dressing for a Frisbee game is a matter of comfort. Stay cool in women’s cotton tank tops or a sleeveless mock-neck top. Even a lightweight cotton tunic is good for an outdoor game like disc toss or Frisbee, depending on what you call it. When it comes to bottoms, you can stay modest and comfortable in a pair of elastic-waist capri pants with a hint of stretch.
If you want a backyard game with vintage appeal, there’s croquet. If you’re unsure of the rules, there are plenty of informative guides online to get you started. The game is leisurely-paced and low-exertion; it involves hitting a ball through wickets with a mallet. It’s a fun addition to a cottagecore-themed party or Victorian-inspired garden party, and you can even include it as part of a summer bridal shower.
There’s no running and likely very little sweating when playing croquet, although you still may want light, breathable materials with UPF 50 to keep you cool in hot temperatures and safeguard against UV rays. Because this game is relatively low-effort, you can dress in a floaty cotton dress with comfy walking sandals. Or slip into a tiered skirt and cotton tank top. Capri pants are good for croquet games, too. Wear a pair with a polo shirt in a summery hue or a short-sleeve keyhole-neck blouse for preppy flair.
Another fun game that’s popular for summer is the beanbag toss. Also known as cornhole, this game involves tossing small beanbags into boards or boxes that have a hole cut into them. The hole is only slightly larger than the beanbag to add a challenging element, and the game is usually played in teams. For casual games, about 2 feet between beanbag boards should suffice. You can find beanbag toss game sets for sale, but if you’re the DIY type with basic woodworking and sewing skills, you can make your own game set. These are just some of the outdoor games to try this summer. Gather your family and friends and ask for other game suggestions. One final tip—make sure everyone plays fair and always wear comfortable shoes. Athletic shoes are the best option for most games, although if you’re playing croquet, you can get away with sandals or even a pair of ballet flats.