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"Corn hole" is clearly the No. 1 yard game for UGA fans. Former Bulldogs coach Mark Richt was famous for playing the game vs. recruits

Top 6 yard games for your home tailgate this football season

Nick Cole

Are you looking for a way to keep your football-crazy crew entertained this football season? Yard games can be a great addition to a home tailgate.

Nothing gets the pregame juices flowing quite a little backyard competition.

Today, DawgNation will explore six of the top yard games that could help make your home tailgate a hit this football season.


Ah, cornhole.

A game so closely associated with football tailgating that you probably have met some folks in SEC parking lots who believe they could compete in the televised American Cornhole League events after all their years of tailgate practice:

It seems like every party has someone who thinks they’re a cornhole expert. That’s why this yard game is a “must have” for your backyard tailgate this fall.

What You’ll Need to Play

  • Two wooden cornhole boards. They are sold in sets, and often come decorated. Here’s a look at a nice Georgia Bulldogs board set, for example.
  • Eight kernel-filled bean bags (Two sets of four). Each team will need 4 bean bags to throw at the cornhole board. These are also sold as sets, and also come in Dawg designs.

Some Rules You Should Know

  • The cornhole boards should be separated by 27 feet for an adult game. You can move them as close together as 15 feet for a game involving kids.
  • Landing a bag on the board is worth 1 point, landing a bag inside the hole on the middle on the board is worth 3 points.

You can read the rest of the official rules from the American Cornhole Association here.


Are you looking for a yard game that will help you work off those tailgate desserts on a Saturday afternoon?

Look no further than Spikeball. This four-player game is high-energy, fast-paced and extremely exciting. Even for spectators.

Check it out:

What You’ll Need to Play

If you’ve never played this game, it’s part volleyball, part handball and includes the use of a trampoline-like platform which is for the ball only (don’t step on it).

Unlike some of the yard games on this list, this one is not an easy do-it-yourself project. You’ll want to buy this one in the package. It costs $60 at Academy Sports.

Some Rules You Should Know

For this game, the most important things to remember are:

  • There are no boundaries– you can go wherever the ball takes you and still be in play.
  • Don’t try to catch the ball. You can’t palm it, either.
  • Don’t let it hit the ground. If it hits the ground, your team loses the point.

You can read the official Spikeball rules here.

Yard Jenga

Do you like playing the classic tower building game in the comfort of your home? Well, Yard Jenga is like an outdoor version of the classic game on steroids.

Note: If you’re not a Jenga fan, there’s also a yard game version of Connect Four. Which, as you may have guessed, is a giant version of the classic board game.

What You’ll Need to Play

You’re going to need lots of large wood blocks and a steady, level surface on which to build the tower. If you’re interested in the prepackaged version of the game depicted in the video above, it can be had for $40 plus shipping.

There are several “do-it-yourself” videos for building giant Jenga sets for your yard. Many of them tout a finished project for $20 or less. But this project requires being handy with a saw and a fair supply of wood, so only you know if you’re up for that task.

Some Rules You Should Know

When it comes to Yard Jenga, many people like to play on teams. So you may want to assess whether this is a 1 vs. 1 game or 2 vs. 2 game at your tailgate.

Also, if you’re up for the challenge, some players enjoy requiring that you only use one hand from the beginning to end of the block removal and replacement process.


If tossing the cornhole bags isn’t good enough for your group, you could take things to the next level with horseshoe pitching.

Pitching these metal horseshoes, which weigh in at 2.5 pounds, can require some muscle. You also may want to take some extra precaution with your horseshoe pitching setup to ensure children are not in danger while running through the backyard.

If you want a leg up on the competition, here’s a quick look at the throwing style of Alan Francis, who is considered by many to be the best horseshoe player of all-time:

What You’ll Need to Play

  • Two stakes (and potentially a hammer/mallet to get them secured into the ground)
  • Four horseshoes (usually two of one color and two of another to signify teams)

You can usually buy the stakes and horseshoes as a set. Academy Sports has a set, complete with a carrying case, available for $50.

Some Rules You Should Know

Have you ever heard the phrase “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades?”

Well, that’s because you’re actually able to score points in horseshoes by tossing one close to the stake. You get one point for landing a horseshoe within six inches of the stake. If you’re able to encircle the stake with a horseshoe, you earn three points. That’s called a ringer.

You can read the official rules from the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association here.

Ladder Toss (Golf Toss)

You didn’t think I’d let you leave without showing you one more one-handed toss game, did you? Remember, the key to a good yard game is keeping one hand free for snacks and beverages.

Ladder toss requires a little different skill than the other toss-oriented yard games I mentioned earlier. In this game, you’re tossing two balls connected by a string and trying to get them to successfully hang from a ladder-like structure.

What You’ll Need to Play

The price varies pretty widely on a ladder toss or golf toss set, depending on the materials used. This set is $50 and should be adequate for your tailgate.

You could try to build this one yourself as well, if you’re ambitious.

Some Rules You Should Know

Typically, the scoring for successful tosses goes like this:

  • Top rung = three points
  • Middle rung = two points
  • Bottom rung  = one point

Beware of house rules with this game, though. Some people like to award bonuses for things like landing all of your throws from a round on the same rung.


You may be picking up on a theme here. Yard games that require tossing objects with one hand while still allowing for an adult beverage in the other are a premium tailgating option.

We’ll continue building on that theme with washer pitching. The washers are quite a bit smaller than horseshoes and cornhole bags, and the goal is to pitch them into what amounts to a PVC pipe that is either in a rectangular box or buried into the ground.

What You’ll Need to Play

This game is unique in that you can buy sets at the store, or quickly devise a homemade version with the use of some tools and spare parts that you may have in the garage.

You can buy a set for roughly $50 at the store, or you can watch a how-to video like this one to make them on your own at home.

Some Rules You Should Know

  • The boxes should be set 25 feet apart (from cup center to cup center).
  • Washers inside the cup are worth five points.

You can read all of the rules for a game of washers here.

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