When Did Backyard Games Begin?

Posted on May 19, 2015 by Matt Butler

Rollors | Lawn Games, Outdoor Yard Games for Fun Outings

When Did Backyard Games Begin?

The Games of the I Olympiad, or better known as the Summer Olympics, began in 1896. It was to be a multi-sport annual event that would be held in Athens Greece. This event is held still each year, the events have changed some over the years, but the event itself if started off with the lighting of the torch and is held a period of several days still. There is a lot of history to be told about the Olympics, some of it well known, some of it not so known.

What do we know about the history of backyard games though? When did we start creating and playing games in backyards across America? As children, we head out to the backyard with our siblings and play various versions of chase and tag. Every region probably has their own version of games. 

Such as in the south, there is the Mother-May-I or Green-Light-Red-Light game where there is a “leader” who gives us permission to advance forward a certain number of steps or calls out “Red Light!” or “Green Light!” as the competitors try to reach the finish line first.

Then there are backyards with sandboxes and swing-sets. This writer has very fond memories of playing on his swing-set with a younger brother and countless numbers of cousins. Then as I got older, the neighborhood kids would come over to play and we would create games and make rules as we went that incorporated chase and the swing-set. These are the things that make childhood a place we want to return time and time again.

When did organized backyard games begin though? Was it a game of tag football many years ago where family and friends  went after watching their favorite college or pro teams play? Or was it really more of a field or pasture where kids gathered with sticks and rock to play a rough version of baseball after watching Babe Ruth hit that ball to wall and beyond? Those backyard games didn't take much to get them set up and going.

Then came along croquet and horseshoes and in time games like Bocce and the newest game called Rollors. They have game pieces much and have to be set up where there is plenty of room, like the backyard. They come with rules that were created along with the game by the inventor and have guidelines how the main pieces are set up. These games are played more frequently by adults, but children will participate as well and often take over when the adults are worn and ready for refreshments and rest! 

There really isn't a start date noted as to when organized backyard games started, they just simply came-to-be. There has to be some rules so that a winner can be determined, but that of course,  can be either the free-for-all games like chase and tag, or the games that are actually designed and come in packages with parts, pieces and rules. 

No matter what game is played in the backyard, self-created-as-you-go or organized and comes out of a  box, backyard games have a firm hold in backyards around the globe and will most likely be here till the end of time. 


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