A trip down memory lane wouldn’t be complete for me if I didn’t mention a favorite backyard game called Lawn Darts. This is an ultra-quick doodlewash as I’m traveling today and tomorrow for work and don’t have very much time to paint. But all these little memories of retro things got me thinking about these scary little guys, so there you have it!

This terrifying game consisted of sharp, weighted metal stakes with colorful fins, like a hideously enlarged dart you might find in a neighborhood bar. Large for a dart, but still a rather compact little game that could be easily taken from house to house. These little “fun for the whole family” missiles were stupidly dangerous, and attempts to ban them in the 70’s failed, not succeeding until 1988. So, of course, my family kept playing with them assuming they must be safe.

I remember my older cousins used to play this game and when I got older myself, I tried it as well. The goal was pretty simple as you just had to get your dart to impale the grass inside the little yellow hula hoop. Thankfully, everyone would usually hide on one side while flinging the little missiles across the yard, and at least for my family, there were never any casualties. But that didn’t mean it was actually safe so much as we were just rather lucky. If someone had marketed a family game called “Be A Circus Knife Thrower” heads might have turned, but these little weapons managed to sail the skies for decades.

Being a little child in the 70’s was actually quite easy as there were absolutely no rules. No helmets to wear if you wanted to ride your bike somewhere and no seat belts to bother with when riding in a car (it wasn’t required to even put them in a car until the late 60’s). Looking back it seems astonishing that any of us survived, but I guess now there are worse things to be afraid of, so maybe it’s not so different after all.

Although I miss some things from childhood that were removed out of fear, I highly support the fear of lawn darts. These things were just stupid. But even so, the memories of my family gathering together at my aunt’s house are wonderful. Playing lawn darts meant we were just “killing” time until dessert was served, which was my favorite part of the day. Though a less lethal game would have been appreciated, we at least came together often to enjoy a little family fun. That’s something we stopped doing as we all got older and that’s really the thing I miss most.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Azo Yellow, Azo Orange, Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Teal, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

42 replies on “Lawn Darts

  1. I’ve not owned or played with these but my hubby introduced me to the joys of horseshoe tossing when I dated/married him and attended their family reunions. Almost as dangerous and freaky as lawn darts! 😆 I think you made them much prettier and attractive than the real things. 😉❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness! Circus knives indeed – this sounds as if it was just asking for trouble! It’s a darn good job I never came close to these beasts; my luck as it is, I’m sure something bad would have happened. Your lawn darts are deceptively lovely, though – great shadows on and around them and teal! Yay for teal!

    Bon voyage!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It does make me wonder how we survived and to your point, who thought that was a good idea?! But the lawn darts sure make for a great doodle wash and story. Brightens a dreary winter day for sure. Can’t wait to see what you unearth tomorrow. I have a few ideas on my mental list that I’m channeling to you…we’ll just see!

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  4. LOL! We had a blast with lawn darts too! No injuries that I recall, but looking back – it’s a wonder! I am so impressed you took you paint and art supplies with you on your travels! We sure appreciate it! Would miss you if not! 🙂

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  5. Oh, I loved playing this game! We always played it safe when little Jimmy was getting ready to throw his lawn dart. Hehe! 😬 Hours of fun with this game and croquet! 😜 Enjoying your doodlewashes down memory lane, Charlie! Are you sure you didn’t live next door to me?! Lol! 💖👍💕

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yikes, they look vicious, I’m glad we never had those at home when I was a kid. Great drawing though, and I love the musings on the lack of health and safety awareness in the olden day lol. The things we got up to, oh well, I guess it was all character building stuff 😉

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  7. Great drawing Charlie 😊 We have a set of lawn darts which we play in the Summer. No injuries so far but we have to make sure that the hens aren’t free ranging when we are playing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love how you made the points just a bit irregular…showing they had been used.
    It is amazing we survived. On the other hand, I’m not sure all the “protection” we offer our children now has really been any more beneficial. Ok seatbelts have saved lives, those can stay. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh Charlie, you are way too prolific, my friend! I moved followed blogs to following them only in the reader (as opposed to emails) and then I forgot to look in my reader….and thought…hmmm, wonder why Charlie isn’t posting? I felt less sluggish for my fits and spurts of blogging because you were “taking some time off too”. HA! And then the lightbulb moment came today… oh yes, look in your reader! so now I am working my way through your fab posts. This is great. those darts scared the beejesus out of me, in someone else’s yard. I think my mom didn’t trust my aim with them!

    Liked by 1 person

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