With only a few weeks left of “unofficial” summer, the days of backyard fun and adventure are running out for many of us. Whether you’re looking for a little extra fun in the backyard or gearing up for a Labor Day Weekend party, the Backyard Pentathlon is guaranteed to challenge and entertain kids of all ages. Here’s how to play:
The Backyard Pentathlon, as the name suggests, consists of five backyard games. Each event is conducted in round-robin tournament play, with a championship final and a consolation game, allowing for any even number of players, with definitive first, second and third place finishers. At the end of each event, points are awarded to the first, second and third place finishers – 1 point for third, 3 points for second and 5 points for first. You can adjust winning scores for each game to allow for faster play with more people.
Game 1: LED Ladder Toss
This backyard classic gets an update with LED lights for fun and visibility. Similar to horseshoes, you set up the two ladder goals about 30 feet apart, then throw a pair of golf balls, connected by strings, towards the ladder, trying to wrap the balls and string around a rung, with different points awarded for top, middle and bottom. First to 11 or 21 (win by two) wins.
Game 2: Badminton
Since this is part of a bigger tournament, set up this Portable Badminton Set and play single games to 11 to keep times to a minimum. Mark out your boundaries. Classic rules apply.
Game 3: Lighted Beanbag Toss Game
AKA cornhole, this backyard staple is another horseshoe-type accuracy game. Skill in this game is key, but luck has even brought the most skilled bean bag tossers to their knees. If the pentathlon goes late, save this one for last and turn on the game’s lights.
Game 4: Glow-In-The-Dark Backyard Darts
This is a modern (and much safer) update of the old metal-pointed lawn darts from decades ago. Set the rings 20 to 30 feet apart and take turns lobbing the darts into the rings. These darts and rings glow in the dark, without glow sticks… Just keep them in the sun for a couple of hours and they’ll glow for an hour after sunset.
Remote control toys have come a long way since many of us were kids. Now they pack everything we dreamed about in to a compact remote control toy – like this RC helicopter that fires missiles! In this game you need a start/finish line or start/finish “area” – an outdoor table would work – and a target – like a balloon or a larger target like a laundry basket for beginners. Like the other games this is a 1 v 1 race, so you’ll need two helicopters. You’ll also need two stopwatches (or cell phones with stop watch apps) for this race. Take off from the start/finish area with the start of the stop watches. Both remote control toys must fly to the target (about 30 ft away) and fire a single missile at it, then return to the finish area and land at which point the stop watches are stopped. If the target is hit, that person gets 5 seconds taken off their time.
Tally up the scores for each contestant (or if you really want to get into it, create a golf tournament-style scoreboard). The winner gets bragging rights until next year’s Backyard Pentathlon!