Croquet Is the Old-School Lawn Game We're Bringing Back This Summer

Find a patch of green grass and have a ball.

There's no better way to spend a leisurely summer afternoon than playing a lawn game. While our cornhole sets and giant Jenga blocks get a workout during the summer, there's an old-school backyard game that we're ready to try out. Croquet, anyone? Lest visions of Alice in Wonderland playing croquet with flamingo mallets spring to mind, let us bring you up to speed. On a sunny day, we can't think of anything nicer than whacking croquet mallets around the grass with a glass of lemonade in hand. It's also great for parties, an ideal activity for keeping guests entertained at picnics and backyard barbecues.

Croquet History

According to The Croquet Foundation of America, croquet has its origins in medieval France, and a more recognizable (to us) version of the game developed in nineteenth century England. Several versions of the game, each with their own rules and format, have become widely accepted, though variations abound. While the popularity of the game has ebbed and flowed over the decades, it became a competitive sport during the 1970s and has become a fun backyard activity for all ages.

How To Play Croquet

As for the rules, The Croquet Foundation of America says, "Many people are familiar with the informal backyard version of croquet. That version, usually played with nine wickets and two stakes, is often played between friends and family under 'house rules' on bumpy back lawns. The nine-wicket game continues to be hugely popular. One retailer estimates that well over 100,000 backyard croquet sets are sold each year."

For a run-down of exactly how to play and maps for setting up the lawn, check out the guides offered by the United States Croquet Association, who break down the American rules as well as the instructions for Golf Croquet; Nine-Wicket, or Backyard, Croquet; and Gateball, all of which you can play with a standard croquet set.

Croquet Sets

A typical croquet set includes balls, mallets, pegs, and hoops, or wickets, through which the balls are knocked. You can find them available for purchase from various retailers, including this wood set from Hearth & Hand™ with Magnolia (BUY IT: $99, target.com). You can also find croquet sets of varying prices and styles available at amazon.com. Many have stands and carrying cases, so you can take the fun to go.

Croquet
Target

Feeling like a game of croquet? Choose a sunny day, find yourself a patch of green grass, and have a ball. For more ideas for backyard fun, check out our list of backyard games—including giant Jenga, cornhole, lawn darts, and spike ball—to keep your family entertained all summer long.

Have you ever played croquet? What's your go-to lawn game for summer afternoons and backyard picnics?

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles