Lawn Darts

Lawn darts offer an entertaining outdoor competition for single and team play alike, with simple rules and scoring. The first person or team to reach 21 points wins!

Lawn darts are metal-tipped darts used to hit circular targets on the ground. Lawn darts were initially banned by several countries due to injuries sustained.  Modern products do not have the shart point that caused injuries and some deaths.

The History And Controversy Surrounding Lawn Darts

Lawn darts were originally derived from a game called “French darts” or “Jeu de Provençal,” which was played in France during the 19th century. In the mid-20th century, the concept of lawn darts was introduced in the United States. The game gained immense popularity and was marketed as a fun and competitive outdoor activity for families and friends.

Original Jarts lawn darts became widely recognized after becoming associated with injuries and even deaths to children. Michelle Snow, who died from being hit in the head with one of these darts at age 7 years old, caused outrage among her father’s who campaigned against this game in its current form.

Food and Drug Administration concurred, yet decided on a conditional ban rather than outright prohibition. Manufacturers must market these products exclusively to adults, avoid placing them near children and label them with warning labels before placing them in toy departments at department stores. Unfortunately, current rules have failed to prevent injuries and deaths associated with lawn darts despite these measures, suggesting they aren’t being upheld as intended.

Modern lawn dart tournaments remain highly popular among an ever-smaller cult of adult enthusiasts who come together for fun or competition, with some having dedicated websites for this sport.

People might be taken aback to discover that an early form of lawn darts existed as early as 500 BCE! An ancient Greet and Roman war weapon known as plumbata used weighted spikes thrown from a distance at targets to simulate lawn darts in much the same manner.

Safety Concerns

Lawn darts have had an often controversial history. Because of the potential for skull-puncture injuries, children were banned from participating in US laws during the late 70s. Lawn darts were later reinstated on condition they be sold only to adults, as per CPSC recommendations. Furthermore, lawn darts were banned from sale at stores that sell predominantly toys and children’s products such as toy stores or department stores that sell predominantly toys or children’s items. Lawn darts were listed among hazardous products by the commission due to incidents where babies became entangled or strangled, as well as reports of numerous skateboard injuries.

In 1987, the father of a 7-year-old girl killed by lawn darts launched an indefatigable campaign to ban it. His daughter died when one went through her forehead and lodged itself into her brain.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission agreed with this campaign, though older sets may still be found at garage sales or backyards despite being banned for sale.  Some continue playing even though its use is no longer legal.  Both sides argue sentimentality should not outweigh safety considerations when making these decisions.


If you still crave throwing something at a target but can’t stomach co-pays at emergency rooms, there are outdoor games that won’t leave your lawn covered with blood. Newer lawn dart sets use soft bags filled with beans or plastic pellets instead of spiked metal projectiles; their rounded tips don’t puncture skulls but may still cause bruises.

To play the game, find an open space and set up two target rings about 10-40 feet apart. Players take turns throwing darts underhand at them from an underhand throw and landing one within the target will earn points; closer it is to its center, more points it earns; the first team to score six will win!

Horseshoes is another non-lethal alternative to lawn darts that is comparable in gameplay; its goal is to throw heavy metal horseshoes as close to a ground ring as possible without landing in it.  Landing within it would earn three points; close but out earns only one point. Although this requires more practice and coordination, this game is far safer than throwing metal darts at unsuspecting people and allows families and friends to bond without risk of serious skull traumas.


Lawn darts (or “jarts”, as it is also known) is an easy outdoor game requiring only targets and darts for play. Players take turns tossing darts into each circle; those whose dart lands inside earn points while opponents subtract points accordingly.  The first player who reaches 21 is declared the victor in that round!

Lawn darts originally featured weighted metal tips at each end, which later gave way to thick rounded plastic ones that reduced risk during gameplay and were light enough for transport and set-up in any location. Targets were also converted from metal to thin hollow tubes for easier transportation and setup for an enjoyable game of jarts.

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