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Written by Darci Tomky   

Game on!

It’s summer. Doesn’t that just make you smile?

It’s summer and that means watermelon and corn on the cob and flip flops and sparklers.

Whether you are at a family reunion, up at the cabin or at your church picnic, summer is a time for hanging out out of doors, and do you know what that means?

Lawn games.

From badminton to ladder golf to croquet to four square, it’s time to get your game face on!

Horseshoes is a classic summer game and something that can be played by any age at any competitive level—just make sure the pets and small children are out of the way! Another alternative is the centuries-old game of quoits, a similar game where a metal ring is thrown at a distance over a metal post. And of course, by default, it’s much cooler and more sophisticated than horseshoes simply because it’s British.

Speaking of the British, don’t forget to bring out the skittles at your next picnic. No, I’m not talking about the yummy colorful candy pieces. I’m talking about the ancient bowling game, which, in its giant lawn version, can be the hit of any outdoor occasion. And if I haven’t got your stomach grumbling at the mention of skittles, don’t be confused when someone starts talking about cheese—that’s just what they call the ball you throw at the pins.

Also making the list for giant backyard games is lawn jenga. Just think about a wobbling wooden jenga tower, except this time it’s five feet tall with two-by-fours. Talk about extreme! Better keep Fido in the house for this one! (I won’t even bring up lawn darts. Family reunions are supposed to be fun, not life threatening, right?)

If you want something a little less dangerous, try a mellow game of washers or beanbags. Just be prepared for a little squabbling from Grandpa and Grandma, as it seems every family has a different set of rules that may or may not stay the same each time you play.

I’ve always wanted to try a game of human chess or checkers. Since I have no clue how to play chess, I better stick with checkers. They have actual mats you can buy, or a little sidewalk chalk and a group of friends in black and white shirts will work just fine. I think a little teamwork and some leap frog action could make human checkers a fun way to spend a summer afternoon.

If you have a lot of space and a lot of energy to burn, try a friendly game of kickball or ultimate frisbee. Don’t have a frisbee? Bananaball is a hilarious—and slightly messy—variation of the same game. Just don’t expect to get the banana back in one piece.

If none of these strike your fancy, there’s always kick the can, baseball, bocce ball, capture the flag, slip-n-slide, giant lawn twister, frisbee golf, basketball, cricket and sand volleyball—or make up your own game! Don’t you just love summer?

Holyoke Enterprise June 7, 2012