The best garden games: fun for all the family this summer

Our round-up of the best garden games will help you make the most of a summer at home

The best garden games
(Image credit: Argos )

The best garden games can turn an afternoon of lazing about in the garden into hours of fun with the whole family. Plus they are a great distraction if you want to get some work done in the garden and your 'helpers' have become more of a hindrance. Garden games are also great for getting your kids away from screens (no judgment here, we all know of the silencing powers of an iPad) and get them playing with the rest of the family. Who knows, even your sulky teen might enjoy a round of boules. 

We've rounded up our fave games, from classics like outdoor Jenga and skittles, to water slides and Swingball to get you inspired to find new ways to get your kids outside. So keep scrolling for the answer to 'What on earth can we do to keep them entertained now?' 

Disc Golf

(Image credit: John Lewis )

1. Disc Golf

Best garden game for adults and children: the whole family can join in with this

Specifications
Suitable for: 10 years +
Players: 2+
Reasons to buy
+Fun for adults too+Easy to play with any amount of people (just take it in turns if there is more than four of you) 
Reasons to avoid
-You only get four frisbees

Such a simple concept – throw a frisbee until it hits a stick. But it could provide hours of fun for you and your family. We think this would be a great game for any social distancing garden parties we will be having over the summer too – would love to see how this turns out after a few G&Ts...

Buy Disc Golf 

Rainbow giant Jenga

(Image credit: John Lewis )

2. Professor Puzzle Giant Toppling Tower Game

Best classic game: this pastel version looks great and everyone can get involved

Specifications
Suitable for: 8 years +
Players: 2+
Reasons to buy
+Looks stylish in your garden 
Reasons to avoid
-Clearing up giant wooden blocks isn't fun 

Why go for boring old wooden Jenga when you could have a rainbow design instead? Of course we picked this because it looks lovely, but it's also a classic game that everyone can have a go at. The fact that it's giant just makes it even better – it turns into quite the garden sculpture once you start playing. 

Buy the Professor Puzzle Giant Toppling Tower Game

Garden skittles

(Image credit: Argos)

3. Traditional Garden Games Junior Wooden Skittles Set

Best building game: one for kids of all ages

Specifications
Suitable for: 5 years +
Players: 2 +
Reasons to buy
+Lovely pastel colours+A classic game all ages can play 
Reasons to avoid
-You will find cheaper sets  (they just won't be as pretty!)

Again, it was the lovely colours that drew us to the skittles set – so much prettier, and more eco-friendly than those bright plastic sets. This will last summer after summer in your garden, and the whole family will enjoy playing no matter what their age. Just try not to get too competitive...

Buy the Traditional Garden Games Junior Wooden Skittles Set

Water slide

(Image credit: Argos)

4. Chad Valley Double Slide

Best water game: a fun water slide for hot days in the garden

Specifications
Suitable for: 3 years +
Players: 1 +
Reasons to buy
+Large enough for two to use at a time+Works on a flat surface too 
Reasons to avoid
-It does use a lot of water 

What a classic. Hours of fun right here! On a hot day we can't think of a better garden game than a water slide. And they have had an upgrade since we used to use them – gone are the days of a strip of pond liner and someone having to hold the hose pipe while everyone else had all the fun. This one gets attached to the hose so it continuously stays wet, plus sprays everyone who slides down it thanks to the sprinkler at the bottom. What's great about this one is because it's a double version you can have races too. 

Buy the Chad Valley Double Slide

Swing Ball

(Image credit: Argos)

5. Turbo Swingball

Best high energy game: a classic garden game that's great exercise too

Specifications
Suitable for : 5 years +
Players: 1 +
Reasons to buy
+Only needs one player+Height adjustable so suits all ages +Great exercise too 
Reasons to avoid
-None!

If you are looking for a ball game that isn't going to totally destroy your garden, opting for a Swing Ball is the way forward. All the mess (sorry  fun) is contained because the ball is attached to a pole and can't fly off at plants and windows – genius idea. It also means your kids don't need you to constantly come and play bat and ball with them because they can practice on their own with this.

Buy Turbo Swingball

Petanque garden game from John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis)

6. Bex Petanque Alsace Garden Game

Best holiday-inspired game: pretend you're abroad with this holiday favourite

Specifications
Suitable for: 8+ years
Players: 2+
Reasons to buy
+Classic game+Comes in a stylish carry case
Reasons to avoid
-The metal balls will be too heavy for younger children

If you haven't played the classic game of pétanque on your holidays, chances are you've at least watched others playing it on the beach or in the square of a quaint French village. Recreate some of those summer holiday vibes at home with this set, which includes six balls (three black and three chrome), a hardwearing storage case, a jack (the small wooden ball) and a measuring tape (for settling those inevitable arguments over which ball has landed closest).  

Buy the Bex Petanque Alsace Garden Game

Professor Puzzle Traditional Ring Toss Game

(Image credit: John Lewis )

7. Professor Puzzle Traditional Ring Toss Game

Best value garden game: an inexpensive buy that's simple and fun

Specifications
Suitable for : 6+ years
Players: 1+
Reasons to buy
+Great for small gardens +Inexpensive 
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for much younger family members 

If you're after a garden game that doesn't take up a lot of room so will work well in a smaller garden, this ring toss game would be perfect. The rules are simple, just throw a ring and try and get it onto one of the coloured sticks – different colours equate to different points. As many people as you like can play, just keep passing on the rings and writing down your scores – great for garden parties as kids and adults will enjoy!

Buy the Professor Puzzle Traditional Ring Toss Game 

Tennis set

(Image credit: Argos)

8. Chad Valley Tennis, Badminton and Volleyball Set

Best multiple game set: kids will have hours of fun with these ball games

Specifications
Suitable for : 5+
Players: 2
Reasons to buy
+Rackets and balls are included +Great price+Easy to put up 
Reasons to avoid
-You'll need a large garden 

If you've got the room, and don't mind your garden potentially facing a bit of a beating, a badminton set is a great buy for the summer. This set comes with everything you need for both badminton, tennis and volleyball, including rackets and balls for all games. It's really easy to put up, you just stake it into your lawn and rolls up easily for handy storage too. 

Buy the Chad Valley Tennis, Badminton and Volleyball Set

Garden Tee Pee

(Image credit: Rex London )

9. Children's Jungle Play Teepee Tent

Best garden teepee: easy-to-use garden den that's great for little ones

Specifications
Suitable for : Any age if supervised
Players: 1+
Reasons to buy
+Hours of play time+Suitable for younger children 
Reasons to avoid
-Not waterproof 

A teepee will allow your kids to come up with all kinds of garden games so it is a really versatile buy – a shop one day, school the next. This one also looks lovely and would be a stylish addition to your garden. It's not waterproof so will have to be brought inside during downpours and for the winter months, but it would look just as lovely in a playroom.  

Buy the Children's Jungle Play Teepee Tent

Den kit

(Image credit: Not on the High Street )

10. The Original Den Kit

Best for adventurers: one for fans of Bear Grylls, this will provide hours of fun and develops skills too!

Specifications
Suitable for : 8+ years
Players: 1+
Reasons to buy
+Great for kids learning outdoor skills+Good for team building 
Reasons to avoid
-You will need trees and bushes in your garden 

Time to up the den building from an old sheet and some clothes pegs? This den building kit is the answer. It comes with everything  you and your children need to create amazing dens in your back garden – including camouflage tarpaulin, a groundsheet, a mallet and mugs, how adorable! This is great for teaching your kids skills as well as how to work together in a team. 

Buy The Original Den Kit

How to buy the best garden games 

When choosing the best garden games, there are a few things you might want to think about beyond how fun it will be. Always check these specs too before you make a purchase:

What ages is it suitable for?
If your kids are teenagers this is probably not something you need to think too much about, but if you have younger children always check whether it will be suitable for them.

How many players is it for?
If you are a larger family, you might want to avoid garden games that are only suitable for two players, more to avoid the arguments more than anything else. Also, consider if the game can actually accommodate more players than it states. For example, with badminton and tennis you could all just grab a racket and get playing as a family. 

What size garden will it suit?
Think about what games would suit your space. If you have a small garden, static games like Jenga would be a better choice as you don't need copious amounts of room. If you have a larger garden this will be less of a problem, but also consider the shape and style of your garden, some games won't be suitable for a sloping garden and for some you will need a lawn area. 

More garden games to keep kids entertained: