Croquet is the quintessential summer yard game, but if you’re like me and don’t fancy giving wooden mallets and balls to your children, you might want to try our family’s version, Kick It! Croquet, using pool noodles and soccer balls.
What You Need:
- Yard (in the most level spot you have, although bumps and rises add to the character and difficulty of the game)
- 9 pool noodles
- 18 tent stakes (items like butter knives would also work if you don’t mind using them again after they’ve been stuck in the ground)
- 2 long posts (we used broom handles)
- 2-4 soccer balls (for as many players as you have, so it helps if they are different colors or are otherwise distinguishable)
How To Set Up:
- While you can expand or contract you croquet field to fit your yard, we created a field 50 feet long and 35 feet wide.
- For a map of how to set up the wickets (formerly known as pool noodles), please refer to following graphic:
- To place the wickets, insert tent stakes into ground approximately two feet apart, leaving 2-3 inches of stake above ground, and then secure the pool noodles onto the stakes.
- The posts should be placed about two feet behind the wickets.
How to Play:
- You can find the official rules and field dimensions of Nine-Wicket Croquet at the United States Croquet Association
- The object is to maneuver your ball through the wicket course, beginning and ending at the same stake. Unlike the official version, each player only has one ball to take through course. See the above graphic for the sequence and direction of play.
- Players take turns. The youngest player goes first in our house, but go with what works in your house.
- Each player gets to kick his or her ball one time. If they are successful in passing through a wicket in the correct sequence and direction, they get to take one additional kick. Otherwise, it is the next player’s turn.
- Players also earn an extra kick by hitting the turning stake.
- If one player’s ball hits another player’s, the balls are simply played from where they stop.
- Boundaries can be determined by the physical dimensions of the yard, or you can verbally notify players of the boundaries before play begins. If a ball goes out of bounds, it can be returned to the closest “in-play” spot.
- The first one to complete the course and hit the finishing stake wins. (In our house, we have a First Winner, a Second Winner, and so on, continuing to play until everyone completes the course – or gets bored and goes off to find something else to do.)
- Take these “rules of play” as suggestions and do what works best for your family.
, but we have our own take on the game.