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Build your own backyard game center

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The adage “Rome wasn’t built in a day” dates all the way back to the 12th century. Though the saying is now nearly a millennium old, its message – that time is necessary to create great things – is as true in now as it was in 1190.

Building great communities takes time, but that process is often escalated when community members take collective action to make their towns happier, healthier and safer places to live. One great way to make community-building the collective affair it needs to be is to plan activities that all community members can engage in and enjoy. Consider organizing something like a field day.

Many grown-ups fondly recall the schoolwide field days that took place when they were in elementary school. Communities can capitalize on those fond memories by organizing community-wide field days that encourage participation from all residents. Categorize events by age (so residents of all ages can compete) and group size so families and singles can compete against one another in events like three-legged races or horseshoes.

A variety of backyard games can up the fun factor at gatherings of all sizes. Corn hole is a wildly popular game, and customized corn hole boards can help hosts of gatherings come across as party professionals. Consider also ladder toss, bocce and wiffle ball as additional games that can bring together teams.

One of the very best parts of backyard games like these is the ridiculously low amount of infrastructure and equipment you need to enjoy them. With horseshoes, all you really need is two stakes, four horseshoes and a shovel to break up some ground. (That’s how we always played; sand and boxed scoring areas were for the fancy folks.)

Bocce is basically horseshoes with differently colored balls. You can probably find a used set at a garage sale.

After visiting your local hardware or lumber store, you can very easily build your own ladder toss or corn hole set.

Ultimate is another low-key activity. Also known as ultimate Frisbee, the sport – which has been around since the 1960s – combines the tossing of the disc with the passing/scoring strategies of both soccer and basketball. All you need for this is a large field and a Frisbee.

Those a little more daring can also set up an axe-throwing area. This is definitely a pastime only to be enjoyed by responsible parties as it can get dangerous quickly – but it is another low-equipment activity as well. All that’s needed are a few hatchets, a target (possibly just a big chunk of trunk tilted to face the throwers) and some paint to mark point zones.

Bring your community together and have fun this summer with some friendly backyard competition.

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