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Who Says Fun Games to Play Outside Are Just for Kids?

May 28, 2020

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Young woman with croquet mallet to illustrate the many lawn games for your backyard

Warmer days mean homeowners want to get outside and safely enjoy Santa Barbara’s beautiful outdoors. What could be better than fun games to play outside with those you’ve been quarantined with? Studies show that engaging in playful activities through adulthood can help lower stress, improve cognitive functions, and build social bonds with others. We can all use some of that right now. Plus, the games listed below are certainly a nice change from one’s latest Netflix marathon.

READ: 12 Things To Do When You’re Confined to Your Home

Plus, fun games to play outside are a great way to create some healthy competition between family and (a few socially distanced) friends while getting your body moving. Here are 10 of the most popular (and most fun) lawn games on the market right now:

  1. Croquet
    The game of Croquet dates back to the early 1800s. The object of the game is to hit your wooden ball(s) through the course of six hoops in the right sequence, finishing by hitting them against the center peg. The team that completes the course first with both balls wins. In singles play, each player has two balls. In doubles, the partners on each side must each play only their own ball.

  2. Spikeball
    As seen on “Shark Tank,” Spikeball quickly became popular after the creators got a deal on the popular show. The premise is simple enough: just slam balls onto the bouncy net and try to keep your opponents from hitting them. This wildly challenging and fun backyard game will seriously get your heart rate up.

    Man with Bocce ball in his hand ready to throw it in the backyard
  3. Bocce Ball
    Bocce requires both strength and skill. The game works like this: Teams take turns throwing their balls near the small ball (pallino) but can also attempt to knock their opponent’s ball out of the way. Whether mastering this classic game in tournament-style play or enjoying quality time with friends, this set is sure to provide hours of entertainment. By the way, practicing in your backyard could lead to a spot on the Santa Barbara Bocce League.

  4. Kan Jam
    What do you get when you combine horseshoes with the frisbee? The ridiculously fun game called Kan Jam. This exciting, interactive, and fast-paced disc game is definitely a fun game to play outside. Divide individuals into teams, take turns tossing and deflecting the Kan Jam Disc to score points up to 21. Or perhaps you’ll get lucky and nab an instant win by tossing it into the front slot.
  5. Jenga
    What could be better than a life-sized version of Jenga? Think about it. Toppling wooden blocks is more challenging when you have to stand on your tiptoes to stack the top blocks. The game of Jenga is entertaining (and challenging!) on its own, but if you want to mix things up, why not add some truth or dare messages on the blocks?
  6. Pickleball
    Here’s a game that fuses tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Pickleball is a popular paddle sport for two to four players at a time, created for all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple, and the game is easy for beginners to learn. But, in no time it can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.

    Twopeople playing cornhole in their backyard
  1. Cornhole
    A classic round of cornhole can easily be played with a beer or Negroni in hand. That’s probably why it’s the game of choice at every tailgate. In case you’ve never played, the goal is to toss a beanbag into the hole. The person that gets the most beanbags in the holes wins.

  2. BucketBall
    This game is a twist on your favorite drinking game: classic beer pong. Only BucketBall takes it to a whole new level by supersizing it. The rules are similar—just try to throw the ball into the cup—but you get three balls to choose from (small, large, and hacky sack) that will change up your strategy. It’s a fun game that the entire family can enjoy.

  3. Horseshoes
    When buying this game, make sure you look for a rubber horseshoes set because it’s much safer than the traditional metal set. The rubber makes it safe for kids of all ages and is easier to set up. Plus, reviewers say that the rubber mats on the stakes are heavy enough to not get carried away by the wind. It’s a lighter alternative for those of us worried about causing accidents in a heated game.

  4. Flickin' Chicken
    Watch out! This might become one of your family’s favorite games to play outside. In fact, it is so hilarious, the makers practically guarantee that you won’t make it through a round without cracking up. The goal of Flickin' Chicken is to flick rubber chickens onto a target. But these foul bounce and roll around, so hitting the bullseye isn’t as easy as it looks. It’ll have the whole family rolling with laughter.

Your investment in one or more of these games will provide hours of fun since although the Santa Barbara economy is opening up, our elected officials are still encouraging residents to stay home as much as possible. Between games, you can keep up-to-date on the local economy in the age of COVID-19 with the county’s Twitter page and our local daily press conference, Monday through Friday, 4:30 pm on CSBTV Channel 20, or on YouTube, CSBTV.  

Playing any of the above backyard games are a great way to keep your family busy at home this summer. If your home is in Santa Barbara and you’re considering selling it to move to a different Santa Barbara area neighborhood, give me a call or drop me an email and let’s talk. You can contact me at or by calling +1 (805) 886-9378.

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“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch