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Square Up With These Posh and Fun Outdoor Games

From popular games like badminton to Scandinavian summer pass-times, these garden games breath fresh air into your garden

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By House & Garden | February 17, 2024 | Travel Leisure

With summer here, we’re spending more time in our gardens or in our local parks. We barbecue, we picnic, we have a Pimms or two. What more could one need? Well, for some people, the answer is a competitive round of Molkky thank you very much. If you’re not familiar with Molkky, read on. It’s one of our picks of the outdoor games you should have in your shed, at the ready.

Most of these can be played and enjoyed by people of all ages and don’t require the kind of concentration that gets in the way of conversation. Some were selected mainly because you can play them with just one hand, meaning you don’t even have to put your drink down. But crucially, all of these outdoor games will hold everyone's attention for long enough to get their heads out of their devices for a little while. Even the most ‘organised fun’-averse among us can agree this is a very good thing.

Petanque and Bocce

Bocce ball is an Italian version of bouls. Image via Pexels.

Best for: liberal, metropolitan elites

The former is French, the latter is Italian, and they are similar (but not indistinct) games that involve rolling balls to get them as close as possible to a smaller target. It can be played on any flat surface, such as a lawn or gravel.

Croquet or Pall Mall

A classic of course, easy to learn but hard to play well. Hit the balls though the hoops with a mallet and channel your inner aristo. Image via Pexels.

Best for: Bridgerton cosplay fans

A classic of course, easy to learn but hard to play well. Hit the balls though the hoops with a mallet and channel your inner aristo.


Best for: Scandinavian design admirers

Another throwing game. This one is from Finland and involves a set of numbered wooden pins and a throwing stick called a "mölkky." The pins are arranged in a tight formation, and the objective is to score exactly 50 points.


Best for: old school ruralists

This is a traditional throwing game that involves tossing rings onto a target - a metal or wood peg that has been driven into lawn. The rings are usually made of metal (some people think it is a formalised version of the rural horseshoes game), although there are also versions with rubber or rope rings.

Giant Jenga

Best for: budding architects

A plus-size version of the classic game, players take turns removing blocks from a tower and stacking them on top without making it collapse. They’re made of wooden blocks and can be played both indoors and outdoors.


Best for: burning off some steam

Combining elements of tennis and tetherball, it is played with two or more players who use racquets to hit a ball attached to a string, which is wound around a central pole. The objective of the game is to hit the ball in a way that causes the string to wrap tightly around the pole, moving the ball up or down. Apparently Andy Murray had one when he grew up.

This story originally appeared on House & Garden UK.