With warmer weather now on the horizon, it’s certainly time to start thinking about summer. As with any sunny season (but especially this year), the longer days and balmier evenings shouldn’t be about darkness and devices, but should instead revolve around the outdoors and our much-missed family and friends. After all, who doesn’t love a spot of al fresco entertainment with those they cherish most? Even science is telling us to do so. Yes, engaging in playful activities throughout childhood and maturity has been said to help lower stress, improve cognitive functions, and build social bonds with others… far more than phones can offer us!

Here at OnBuy, we want to emphasise the importance of open-air leisure over summer and, with our selection of fabulously fun outdoor toys and games, you’ll never have to worry about school holiday boredom again. From classic lawn game ranges to new and innovative favourites, there really is something for every buyer and budget in our collection, so what are you waiting for? Prepare your patch and get ready to let the good times roll. It’s going to be fantastic!

What are lawn sports?

lawn sports

Put simply, a lawn sport is an outdoor game that can be played on any form of turf or backyard grassland. Many types and variations exist, though the two most common kinds often involve balls or the throwing of objects as their primary means of gameplay. Some are even historical in nature, having been devised and enjoyed in different forms for centuries. In fact, lawn bowling (one of the most common examples and often played today) dates all the way back to the Middle Ages.

Of the majority still practised today, there are two major categories:

  • Ball games: This encompasses everything from bocce to bowls, which tend to involve larger balls being rolled towards a smaller target. Croquet, sholf and pétanque are other widespread (but not so well-known) alternatives.
  • Throwing games: As the name suggests, these activities necessitate throwing as the primary form of gameplay. Horseshoes, washer pitching, and lawn darts are renowned and famous examples, as well as quoits, skittles, and Mölkky.

What should I consider before buying my lawn game?

considering lawn games

When it comes to choosing your perfect summer plaything, there are a number of factors to consider first. Browse the list below to determine which points are most pertinent to you.

  • Space: This should be your primary concern before any purchasing begins. Be sure to check the dimensions of your garden (and the game itself) to confirm it’ll fit in your area. Most models are equipped with handy fold-away features and adjustable straps, but size is definitely worth considering if space is slightly more limited. If this is the case, consider taking your activities to a local beauty spot, such as a beach or expansive park. 
  • Number of players: Certain models only require one or two players, which may cause issues if your family is somewhat larger. Many are encouraged to be enjoyed by more though, so keep an eye out for this information when browsing. Indeed, no one wants to feel left out!
  • Toddler time: It’s no easy feat to design a lawn game that appeals to a wide age range, but be sure to choose carefully. Those with large, lightweight, simple pieces are far easier for younger children to handle, and brighter colours help to keep an infant’s interest. Try looking for games that involve both skill and luck for little ones, as this can allow them to appreciate competitiveness in a passive setting.
  • Materials: Living in the UK, we’re prone to a spot of drizzle across the summer months. Because of this, any outdoor games should be built to last, and able to withstand the elements of our fickle ‘sunny’ season. Models constructed from wood, plastic or rope usually fit the bill, whereas those made of fabric tend to be more flimsy. 
  • Storage: Another important consideration, storage space can heavily dictate what kinds of lawn games you’re likely to purchase. If this isn’t an issue, happy days! However, if spare shed or garage room is limited, larger, more cumbersome activities may not be the most suitable.

What are the best garden games for all ages?

best garden games

Now that we’ve established the basics, let’s delve straight into OnBuy’s selection of the top six lawn and garden games available today. Having determined your surface area, the number of players involved, and their relevant age range, we hope you feel better equipped at making a final decision - all that’s left to do now is shop! A summer of fun in the sun awaits...

To create a vintage vibe | vidaXL Wooden Kubb Game Set

vidaxl outdoor games

Pros: Charming natural wooden aesthetic, can be played on a variety of surfaces (even ice!)

Cons: Not suitable for children under the age of three, can only be played with up to six participants

Has your family discovered the game of Kubb yet? If you’re looking for a brilliant backyard activity that’s a cross between bowling, horseshoes, and corn hole (or you just want something that’s easy to transport around town), it’s a super fun and challenging option. The general object of the game is to knock over a series of short wooden blocks (or Kubbs) on the opposite end of the playing field with cylindrical batons, eventually knocking over the ‘king’ after all the baseline and field alternatives. 

With vidaXL’s premium model in your summer garden arsenal, you’ll never have to worry about seasonal tedium ever again! Constructed from high-quality solid pine, this Kubb game is durable and sturdy, able to withstand all varieties of British weather. Perfect for barbeques, camping, picnics and communal outdoor events, it’s the perfect sunny companion you didn’t know you needed.

Requiring a combination of strategy and skill, it can also help with hand-eye coordination and motor skills, encouraging better physical dexterity and accuracy. This set also includes no less than 21 luxury wooden pieces, made easier to carry and transport around with the handy fabric case. Simple to store and always convenient to pack away, it’s an ideal size for stowing away when winter rolls around. The robust and solid structure won’t ever fail you in colder conditions though, as Kubb can be played on a wide range of different surfaces… ice and grass included.

On the downside, however, this option may not be the best for younger families or toddlers, as it’s not intended to be played by anyone under the age of three. The participant limit of six may also be an issue if larger, more inclusive games seem better suited to your household.

For cool and colourful fun | French Plastic Boules

boules game

Pros: Comes with a handy outdoor carry case, easy to store at home or in your car

Cons: Heftier weight can make the boules harder to transport, game itself may be considered boring

Boules, or lawn bowls, is a sport in which the objective is to roll biased balls along a stretch of flat ground, hoping that they stop close to a smaller ball called a ‘jack’, or ‘kitty’. One of the oldest games on our list, it dates as far back as Ancient Greece, where contestants would throw light objects (such as flat stones and coins) as far as physically possible. By the Victorian era, boules, as we know it today, was part of the national culture, remaining played by roughly 40 countries now. It’s cousin, boccia, was even named a Paralympic sport in 1984. 

This gorgeous child-friendly set is perfect for friends and family alike. Equipped with a useful outdoor carry case as standard, it’s easily transported around for whenever the bowling mood may strike you. As an especially bright and colourful activity, it's a fantastic means of introducing younger children to the world of outdoor games, with attractive, vivid hues and interesting, intriguing shapes. Able to be packed down to a convenient, holdable size, it’s also great for storing away during the colder winter months, taking up little room in whichever area you choose.

On a more negative note though, the boules’ heftier weight may make carrying this set around slightly more challenging. The game itself may also be considered somewhat boring, as the rounds can tend to seem rather repetitive after a while, too. 

For lovers of accuracy and precision | Vinsani Family Throwing Game

throwing game

Pros: Great for improving hand-eye coordination, suitable for a large number of players 

Cons: Must be dismantled and assembled, longer dimensions may make it harder to store

If you’re a fan of accuracy and precision when gaming, then the Vinsani Family Throwing Game is certainly the best choice for you. Generally, players on two teams must take turns to toss the rings onto their accompanying dowels, scoring points for whichever ones they hit. Those on the red base equal a total of 225, whereas those on the green base make a combined sum of 35. 

Much like the vidaXL example listed above, this game is fantastic at improving hand-eye coordination and general numeracy skills, so is great for younger children (particularly those currently learning to count). Unlike many of its competitors, the Vinsani is also suitable for a larger number of players, wonderful if a huge party was your plan. On top of all this, the solid wooden structure is strong and robust, meaning it won’t suddenly crack or break if left out in the cold or rain for too long. The hardy rope quoits themselves are resilient, hard-wearing, and pretty indestructible, so there’s no need to worry about longevity or durability across the colder months. 

Unfortunately though, the Vinsani does possess some downsides. The shape itself must be assembled and dismantled whenever not in use, which may be an issue if conscientious packing-away is unlikely. The longer dimensions of its base may also be harder to store, so not ideal if shed or garage space is more on the restricted side.

For classic entertainment | Doodle Giant Outdoor Tumble Tower

doodle giant blocks

Pros: Perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, fantastic for developing motor skills

Cons: Taller height may be an issue for smaller children, hefty to carry around

Everyone loves an outdoor tumble tower, and we’d love to tell you why. A traditional British plaything of physical skill and dexterity, this game typically consists of 54 wooden blocks, each one gradually removed from the tower to make a progressively more unstable structure. The slabs themselves tend to also have small, random variations in their dimensions, so as to create subtle imperfections in the stacking process, and make the building more challenging. Gameplay can last between five and fifteen minutes, so it’s ideal for summer barbecues and beach trips alike.

Doodle’s beautiful pine model is perfect for use both indoors and outside. Ideal for developing motor skills, coordination, and self-control in children, it’s the fun-filled game that every parent needs. Not only will it keep your little ones occupied and engaged, it’ll also help their nimbleness and ingenuity for the future. Packaged in a strong box with a carry handle, it is also easily packed away and stored in a place convenient for you.

On the flip side, it’s taller fully-built height of 60cm may be too high for smaller children to reach, so may have to be adjusted according to individual dimensions. The heftier weight may also be an issue if you prefer to transport and play your games on the move, so may not be appropriate for those who like to travel. 

For some Scandinavian-inspired sport | Tactic Mölkky Game

Molkky game

Pros: Comes in a beautifully presented wooden box, accompanying score tracker app is free

Cons: Only suitable for ages older than six, rules may be difficult to understand

Though you may not have heard of it, Mölkky is a Finnish throwing game similar to skittles, and has taken the world by storm ever since its invention in 1996. Suitable for everyone in the family, regardless of age and condition, the set consists of a throwing pin and several shorter alternatives numbered from one to 12. Each player takes it in turns to knock over the numbered dowels, and the first to reach exactly 50 points is the winner. Simple, right? Since 2016, many countries have even hosted the Mölkky World Championships, which were first organised in France. 

This wonderfully crafted set from the industry-leading experts at Tactic Games UK is the amazing all-inclusive lawn game you’ve been looking for. Beautifully presented in a stunning wooden box, the timeless pin shapes are constructed from smooth and appealing wood, which is durable and hard-wearing throughout the winter months. The appealing rope handles are stable and convenient, meaning the container can be carried around easily and without difficulty. 

On the downside, however, Tactic’s traditional game also presents some issues. Only suitable for ages older than six, not to mention the tricky scoring method, this traditional Mölkky game may be harder to understand if numeracy presents a challenge.

To conquer your competitors | Professional Badminton Set

badminton set

Pros: Complete set includes a practical carry case, convenient to store and ideal for use on the go 

Cons: Larger surface area of lawn required, only suitable for a maximum of four individual players

One of the best garden games for adults and children alike, badminton is well-established as the ultimate summer party companion. A sport usually played with racquets, the aim is to hit a shuttlecock across the net, quick enough for your opponent to miss. Though larger teams may choose to participate, it’s typically enjoyed with one player either side in a ‘singles’ match. Since 1992, badminton has been an Olympic sport with four events and, at high levels of play, it demands excellent fitness, aerobic stamina, agility, strength, speed, and precision. It’s also a technical sport, requiring good motor coordination and the development of sophisticated racquet movements.

This fabulous set by Hygrad allows you to take the court with you, available with a handy and practical carry case as standard. Convenient to store (due to its slender size) and ideal for use on the go, whether you’re popping to the park or journeying further afield, it provides everything you’ll need for a fantastic and fun-filled summer. Complete with four badminton rackets, four reinforced studs, six ground anchors, two shuttlecocks, one net, and one sturdy guy line, there’s no chance of instability or unsteadiness when erected outdoors or inside.

Compared to some of its lawn game competitors though, this model may be better suited to spaces of a larger surface area, owing to the demands and parameters of the game. With four rackets included, it’s also only appropriate for four individual players.

Hit a home run

garden family games

We hope you’ve enjoyed this foray into all things garden game-related. Should you require more information on our fabulous selection of outdoor activities, or are simply in need of some al fresco inspiration, why not check out our blog and buyer’s guide resources? Packed full of handy tips, tricks and advice on how to take your space from drab to undeniably fab, there really is something for everyone in our online collection. 

If you’re looking for something a little different to help you level-up post-lockdown, why not delve into our extensive range of open-air toys? Those who like sport but aren’t keen on ball games will love target games like archery and laser tag, which can help to improve coordination and balance while still maintaining the benefit of fresh air. Alternatively, for the less dextrous among you, bouncy castles, bubble blowers, play tents and pogo sticks make the perfect playthings for enjoying long days in the garden. With a shed full of outdoor toys and games, your garden is sure to become the ultimate entertainment ground this upcoming sunny season! 

Please note: the information in this buyer’s guide is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.