7 of the best backyard games for your quarantine clique

By Bob Doda, News 12 Digital
It’s spring, the weather is getting warmer, and you are still doing the responsible thing by staying at your home with your quarantine clique. It only makes sense to go outside into the backyard, side yard, front yard and organize some lawn games.
Growing up in Smithtown, my brother was the commissioner of the Dartmouth Drive “Backyard Baseball League.” I mean, he would figure out everyone’s ERA, for fun. The shed was first base, the above-ground pool was second and third-base had no landmark – but if you fielded a ball and threw in that general direction, the runner was out. We improvised, and we had fun.
These games today don’t need much improvisation as the rules are pretty standard. But they can be modified if you don’t have all the necessary equipment. So, let’s get into some of the best lawn games out there, in no order, that you can enjoy safely with your fellow quarantinos.
Kan Jam – I would say the best lawn game to hit the market in the past 25 years. Kan Jam is fun because it’s you against yourself. Your only job is delivering the frisbee to your partner in a place where you can extract the most points. But, much like golf, you can get the yips. Clear out the cob webs and get into a nice groove. Also, make sure to announce the score after every round or there will be issues (it’s also fun to say “good year” after most score announcements. It gets old quick, but that only makes it funnier.)
Ramp Shot – I only know one crew of people (the brothers McDermott) that consistently bring Ramp Shot to gatherings, but I’m ready to cosign. This is hours of fun and a great way to harness superior reflexes.  Like Kan Jam, the set up is as simple as it gets – all you need is two pieces of plastic, a ball and the heart of a lion. 
Cornhole aka Bags - One of the backyard game OG’s, Bags is a game of feel. There are so many factors at play – Are the bags heavy/light? What’s the slide factor on the board? Am I getting a sunburn? Get clutch, throw some bags outside and may your hot streak be unending.
Giant Jenga - I want to thank Hasbro for these fun facts about Jenga.
  • The word, Jenga, comes from a Swahili word meaning “to build.”
  • The highest known Jenga tower on record stood 40 complete tiers with two blocks into the 41st.
  • The wooden blocks for Jenga begin as Alder trees, which grow primarily on the West side of the Cascade Mountains in the states of Washington and Oregon.
Need a DIY project to stay busy? Build your own Giant Jenga.
Spikeball - Spikeball is for people willing to sacrifice the body for the team. You must be willing to completely lay out to keep the ball in the air if you want to keep your chance of victory alive. A good game of Spikeball can be just as much fun to watch as it is to play. Check out these top plays from 2019:
Wiffle Ball – There’s no need to field 9 on 9 teams here. You can have a totally reasonable game with four people, a bat, a ball and a lawn chair (shout out to Downing Yards in St. James). Just create some boundaries and some invisible runners and your own backyard can be Yankee Stadium. Vice Sports did a great piece on the “Greatest Wiffle Ball Championship” three years ago:
BULZiBUCKET – I have never played this, but it looks like a ton of fun. It markets itself as the “next generation cornhole” which says two things to me: 1. The game’s creators are ready for that type of pressure and 2. Scoring better be said aloud pre-round. Basically, hit buckets or help your partners shot with everything but your hands. Simple and fun.
If these games aren’t available, remember there are plenty of ways to stay entertained in the backyard. Keep an inflatable ball up in the air with a group of three for as long as you can. Play kickball, dodgeball, whatever ball. Play Marco Polo if you are lucky enough to have pool access and call “fish out of water” a bit too much. We used to play TV tag, but I forgot the rules.
Happy gaming everybody and stay safe.