A very happy Monday, MNN readers, and welcome to a very special sixth installment of "The garden party," a new product-centric weekly series geared toward all of you al fresco entertainers, patio partiers and backyard BBQ'ers out there. The emphasis, as you may have gathered, is on outdoor entertaining paraphernalia that boast one or more of the following eco-friendly attributes: a. handmade b. made from sustainable or recycled materials c. domestically manufactured or d. durable/made-to-last so in that they’ll be used not just this summer but for many more summers to come.


With the 2012 Summer Olympics about to kick off (anyone mourning these phased-out events from yesteryear?), I thought it would be only appropriate to spotlight a few (mostly) competitive lawn games and adult-friendly outdoor toys and diversions ideal for backyard get-togethers. And no, I'm not talking about beer pong. 


Fun, charmingly low-tech, and beloved by both sporty grandpas and their hipster grandchildren, many of these outdoor games and activities have been around for eons and for good reason. Below you'll find a few popular choices ranging from classic horseshoe sets to vintage-style ring toss kits along with things like tree swings and state fair-style bingo set-ups. And with the Olympics just around the corner, I've also included a fun  and most handy — prize for the winner of your next backyard badminton championship. Click here for even more lawn games and activities that are sure to keep party guests busy when they're not gossiping and/or chugging white sangria. 


Country Badminton Set @ Terrain ($128)















Giant Outdoor Snakes and Ladders @ Jaques of London ($99.99)















Murbles Game @ UncommonGoods ($40)















Reclaimed Skateboard Tops by Jason Greene @ Branch ($8)















"Little Paper Planes" by Kelly Lynn Jones @ The Curiosity Shoppe ($19.95)















Tailgaters Ring Toss by Front Porch Classics @ Target ($49.99)















Horseshoe Set @ LL Bean ($69)
















Lehman's Harwood Slingshot @ Lehman's ($9.95)















Front Porch Classics State Fair Bingo @ YoYo.com ($45.71)















Original Tree Swing @ Terrain ($68)
















Giant Score Four @ Jaques of London ($149.99)















Winner Gold Medal Opener @ Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store ($12)














Past installments of the "The Garden Party"

Mood lighting

Non-invited guest deterrents 

Portable speakers

Grill gear

Cocktail hour


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Fun and games: The garden party
Keep rowdy backyard party-goers entertained and (mostly) on their feet with classic garden games and activities such as badminton, horseshoes and ring toss.