7 backyard activities that put a spin on classic tabletop games

Safely play your favorite games this summer.
By Megan Foster

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It can be tough to social distance when playing classic board games like chess or tic-tac-toe. But if you want the same level of interaction while keeping space between you and your opponent, take the fun outside.

TODAY welcomed Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht to share her favorite socially distant games for the entire family. She found everything from a sky-high rocket launcher to a giant chess board that's as challenging as it is fun.

To turn your backyard into a fun-filled summer space, check out more of her finds below.

1. The Mega Chess Plastic Giant Chess Set

Schacht loves playing a good game of chess with the family. "It teaches self-confidence, helps with problem-solving and even memory skills," she explained.

This giant chess set comes with towering plastic chess pieces and a hard, plastic game board. The parts are also water- and UV-resistant, so they won't fade if you leave them outside.

2. Giant Jumbling Tower Party Game

Take your tabletop tower game to a new level with this giant model that stands four feet tall. It can be played indoors or outdoors, and Schacht likes that it keeps everyone on their toes. The set includes 51 weather-resistant blocks and a set of easy-to-follow instructions.

3. Jumbo 4-to-Score Giant Game Set

It's simple to social distance while playing this giant game of 4-to-Score. The object of the game is to connect four plastic rings in a row either vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

"I love the posts for the rings to stay on because it's nice, easy storage," noted Schacht.

4. Mattel Games Toss Across Game

Bring the timeless game of tic-tac-toe outside with this backyard toss game. Instead of using a piece of paper, the game introduces the challenge of flipping Xs and Os with a bean bag.

"It's the game we all know and love, but it's a lot more challenging and a lot more fun," said Schacht.

5. National Geographic Sky Rocket Toy

You don't have to stop playing when the sun goes down. The rockets in this National Geographic set feature vibrant LED lights that will light up the sky. The kit includes a rocket launcher base, a pump and three LED-equipped rockets.

6. Little Tikes 2 in 1 Splash Hit Tennis

"There are two modes of play with this," explains Schacht of this kid-friendly backyard game. You can either launch the ball in the air with a foot pedal or attach your garden hose to the base to launch the ball with water. Either way, she says this water toy will bring on the fun on those hot summer days.

7. Fat Brain Toys Swingin' Shoes Active Play

The game of ring toss has been around for ages, but this version puts a spin on the classic. "It makes for a great challenging game for the whole family," explained Schacht.

Players take turns tossing rubber horseshoes onto three suspended platforms. The biggest challenge? It swings in the air while you play!

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