Warmer weather is here, and parents are looking for ways to get kids to play outside more and away from their screens. Have some backyard family time and create fun memories with a game of croquet.

You can get your whole family involved in the sport (just don’t talk too much about the “olden” days when you were young). Croquet is much more than hitting a ball through a wicket. Here are a few benefits and tips for having fun:

Everyone can play. Toddlers, kids, teens, parents and grandparents can all play. Croquet is a multi-generational game. If one person is too good at it, have them play one-handed or with the opposite hand.

It’s inexpensive. Pick up a croquet set at a tag sale, flea market, thrift store or a used sports equipment shop. A croquet set includes 6 balls, 6 mallets, 9 wickets and 2 stakes.

Setup is easy. An uneven or hilly lawn will add to the fun. Forget about regulation size playing area, fit it to your yard. If you live in an apartment, head for the park or the beach to play. Keep it going. Play a game every night. Make a chart to track who wins first, second, third and fourth place. The chart order will change over time as players get better. Hold a tournament at the end of every week. Take photos of the gang in action and holding silly, homemade, reusable trophies.

Add more fun. One day can be hat day, another can be wear blue play day, costume day, etc. Have kids do a cartwheel, crab walk or some other trick before they hit their ball.

Make it a party. Serve a festive meal or snacks and drinks at “halftime.” Hotdogs, beans and s’mores are easy and fun. Play under lights after dark.

Your kids will learn a lot. By playing croquet, children will learn hand-eye coordination, how to control their swing to send the ball where they want it to go, strategy to avoid having their ball hit by another player’s ball, taking turns, self-control and more.

Your enthusiasm for games like croquet will inspire your children to want to play too. Make time to play together as a family and enjoy the summer.

More Ways To Play

  • Pick up some used golf putters and balls to play golf croquet.
  • Use soft inflatable balls as an alternative to wooden croquet balls.
  • Add a few extra obstacles to your course for an extra challenge.
  • For extra-large fun, try an oversize kick croquet set.

Croquet Sets: Our Picks

  • Pointyard Croquet Set: This set of six color-coded balls and mallets is good for beginners or experienced players. A carrying case makes storage easy. $45.99.
  • DealKits Premium Croquet Set: This six-player set is weather resistant and features sturdy, extra-long mallets. All components fit easily into the durable zippered carrying case. $63.99.

– Sarah Yale

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