If you’re too young to remember, lawn darts were basically oversized darts. You threw them at a target on the ground.
Lawn darts weren’t as sharp as regular darts, but they could kill you, which is why the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned them in 1988.
That was 24 summers ago.
When I was a kid, we had lawn darts and a badminton set. Today, our yard doesn’t work for badminton, and my parents didn’t save our 1970s-era lawn darts. Thing 1 (the 12-year-old) and I play catch and shoot hoops, and Thing 2 (the 6-year-old) and I kick the soccer ball around, but I realized a couple summers ago that we weren’t playing games outside as a family, so I decided to find a game we could all play.
I thought about horseshoes, but hammering in the spikes is a hassle, plus the game requires too much skill, so, I settled on bocce.
Bocce was first played in ancient Rome. It’s kind of like horseshoes, except instead of throwing horseshoes around a spike in the ground, you bowl balls to see which side (could be one person, could be a team of people) comes closest to a target ball called a pallino.
If you play it correctly, there are a bunch of rules, but, basically, that’s it, so it’s a great game for kids of different ages and skill levels.
I know, because the family champion is the 6-year-old, which is driving the 12-year-old nuts.
Thing 1 is the family athlete; she plays basketball and softball. She’s good, but, when it comes to bocce, Thing 2 is better.
We aren’t letting him win, either, the way we do sometimes when we play Uno. He just has a knack for getting the ball within inches of the pallino.
Which is the nice thing about yard games: It’s an even playing field.
No one plays them enough to get good at them, so no one’s too competitive. You’re just playing. You’re just passing the time while the hamburgers cook on the grill. You’re just hanging out and having fun.
Lawn darts by TheDamnMushroom, via Flickr/bocce balls by jenly, via Flickr