Game of the Month: Bocce

This is an unusual Game of the Month post for me because not only am I sharing an outdoor game (a first),  I am featuring a game we do not actually own: BOCCE. On our recent beach trip our hosts had a marvelous Bocce Ball set and the boys absolutely loved playing it. If we had a yard I would snap up a set right away.

Bocce is a fun outdoor game for kids to try

Fun Outdoor Game: Bocce with Kids

If you are not familiar with Bocce, it’s an Italian boules game – bowls is the English version and pétanque is played in France. In a very basic sense, the rules involve players taking turns throwing large (and heavy) colored balls, trying to get their ball the closest to a smaller, white ball called the “jack”.

Tips for Playing with Kids:

  • It’s not usually played at the beach! Courts are normally located on grass, soil or gravel courts, but the beach is a great place to play in the summer (if you’re not a stickler for tradition).
  • If possible find a public court and watch others play. Many cities may have public bocce or pétanque courts where you could take your kids to watch a game and maybe try a round or two. In New York City you can find a list of public courts at the Parks & Rec website.
  • Balls are heavy. Watch out for little toes and help kids who may have trouble throwing a ball a large distance.
  • Let the youngest children have two throws per turn. My 4 year old could lift the ball and throw it, but he certainly would not be able to compete against adults.

I took a look to see what sorts of game sets were available, thinking maybe it would have fun to have one of our own, but the balls are so heavy I decided we wouldn’t want to be shlepping them to the park without a car.

Sadly, the game is not cheap. Here are the most reasonably priced sets I found {some of these are affiliate links}: A real Bocce Ball Set costs a pretty penny although I did find this lighter weight set for kids at Land of Nod and these cute wooden Petanque Balls and Petanque Balls with Numbers, geared more towards kids. My advice though is to try it out the game before buying because the balls are quite heavy.

Have you ever played Bocce Ball?

In the mood for an indoor game instead? Take a look at all of our game of the month posts, including perennial favorites Skippity, Rivers, Roads & Rails and Scrambled States of America.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. We own a simple Bocce set, and I agree with you – it’s a fun game for kids. Anna calls it “A brother of croquet” :)

  2. Thanks for this post. I remember watching the Italian men playing bocce when I was growing up in Brooklyn. I never really understood the game, but I was fascinated watching adults playing a game. Now that I understand it, I can see it is a fun game, but as you say, not cheap, which is too bad.

  3. We play bocce in our backyard, but we also have an indoor set – I can’t remember where we got it (I thought Lee Valley but couldn’t find it again online), but here’s a link that came up when googled of the same set we have:
    http://www.houzz.com/photos/525194/Carpet-Bocce-modern-kids-toys-
    Different sets came up as well – if your kids enjoyed bocce, maybe they would enjoy carpet bocce?

    • Erica MomandKiddo says:

      Carpet bocce sounds fun! Sadly, our apartment is much, much too small for playing such a game indoors. And I’m guessing our downstairs neighbors would have a lot of objections!!!

  4. We haven’t played Bocce but my kids like Shuffle Board which we play at this hotel we stay at in Maine. My kids also like this outdoor game in Florida at a restaurant where you throw beanbags onto a box with holes scored for points.

    Bocce looks fun as long as they don’t the balls on their feet! :)

  5. I love Bocce! We got a set for a good price (under $25, for sure) at Target a couple years ago, and it has gotten a lot of use.

  6. I love Bocce but I haven’t played it with the kids. As a family we play a Swedish game called Kubb which something similar to Bocce but the viking version.

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