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Have a Ball With These Family-Friendly Sports in Seattle

You don’t have to be an all-star athlete to enjoy pickleball, bocce ball and these other fun sports

Sharon Mead headshot

Published on: June 26, 2024

Two girls enjoying a summer day on a pickleball court near Seattle, one of many sports activities to try
Pickleball is just one fun sport to add to your summer bucket list. Photo: iStock

With summer here, it’s time to create that bucket list of things to do with kids. While sports activities like baseball, soccer or tennis are fun, not everyone has access to a team or has the desire to play competitive sports. Never fear. There are still great games to play to get you and your kids outside and moving.

There are quite a few options for families who may not be the athletic sort but still want to enjoy a ball game or activity. These options (for the athletic and non-athletic families alike) will keep the kids active and possibly offer them something new to try.

Start a new game, have a ball and check these off your summer bucket list!


It’s a pretty well-known fact that pickleball is the “it” sport these days, especially since the pandemic. Since so many people have picked up this Northwest-born game, tennis courts in Seattle have added pickleball nets and lines that make it a quick conversion to this fun paddle game. To find courts beyond the Seattle boundaries, there are many options for families around the region. Of course, you’ll need to get your own equipment and Amazon makes that pretty easy (you can be ready to play in just two days!).

If you’ve never played or you still aren’t quite sure what the pickleball rules are, peruse the official guidelines before you play.

"Father and daughter smiling on a pickleball court near Seattle after a fun game"
Pickleball was invented in Washington state more than 50 years ago, and has recently surged in popularity. Photo: iStock

Bocce Ball and Lawn Bowling

If you want to go bowling outside, that is a real possibility during our beautiful Pacific Northwest summer. Bocce ball and lawn bowling are perfect for kids.

Woodland Park has the only bocce club in Seattle. Come play on “open night” any Friday during the bocce season — from May through September — when the club members are on hand to teach anyone who wants to learn how to play. Both Woodland Park and Jefferson Park offer lawn bowling.

What’s the difference between the two sports? The balls are slightly different, and it’s thrown in bocce versus being rolled in lawn bowling. The bocce court is sand or long grass, while the lawn bowling rink is made of bent grass.

Adjacent and dedicated parking lots are found at both Woodland Park and Jefferson Park. The parking lot at Jefferson also serves the golf course, driving range, ball fields and playground, so it can fill up so arriving early is recommended. To access the Woodland Park parking, be sure to take a right off of Aurora Ave. N. onto N. 59th St. (The right turn comes up quickly, so be aware it’s approaching.)


You don't need to be behind the eight ball wondering if a game of pool requires a late night bar. The truth is that billiards and kids are a great mix. There are several locations around the area that cater to families and make it possible to bring children for a family outing. Try Empire Billiard, Bowlero (which also offers bowling) or Ox Billiards.

"Young boy playing billiards in Seattle"
Kids and adults alike will enjoy a round of billiards at a local spot that caters to families. Photo: Charlene Santucci

Table tennis

Ever thought about table tennis as a family activity? Well, it certainly can be. It may even become your family’s new favorite summer adventure, all while you support a locally-owned business.

Tucked in a Bellevue strip mall with plenty of parking, you’ll discover the thriving world of table tennis — which I always called ping-pong — at Seattle Pacific Table Tennis Club. Adults and kids can drop in every Monday through Saturday, and one price lets you stay as long as you like during the session.

If this is new for you, don’t worry. There are one to two tables specifically reserved for beginner levels. If you find you are getting the table tennis bug, Seattle Pacific Table Tennis also offers summer camps and after-school programs for kids.

"Young boys play table tennis (also known as ping-pong) at a local Seattle table tennis club"
Head to the Seattle Pacific Table Tennis Club to play, no matter your skill level. Photo: Sharon Mead


This ball and mallet game is not just limited to family picnics and the occasional birthday party. Let the summer of croquet commence! Every Tuesday from May to September, croquet is in full swing from 5–8 p.m. at Woodland Park. And it’s free, making it not only fun but economical. All of the necessary equipment is provided, along with some instructions on how to play the simplest form of the game. No heels allowed, so be sure to bring only flat-soled shoes to avoid damaging the lawns. The same Woodland Park parking lot off of N. 59th St. is adjacent to the croquet location, as well.

Mini golf

Mini golf is not likely a new activity to most families and mini golf options abound. Mini golf is an easy one because there are lots of options and it is generally designed for kids to have fun.

For a unique mini golf experience, Monster Mini Golf in Bellevue should be on your short list of courses to try this summer. Just make sure your kids aren’t too afraid of monsters or clowns, as the glow-in-the-dark course is filled with the spookiest of creatures. There’s also a laser maze, arcade and bowling to keep the fun going.

Notably, the Green Lake Pitch and Putt is a classic spot and is a bit more challenging (no monsters in sight). If you are ready to up your game, give it a go.

Golf driving range

There’s more to do at Jefferson Park, with a golf course that offers a double decker driving range. Driving ranges are intended for practice play, so it can be fun to try, even if you or your kids aren’t golfers. (Plus, who could resist an excuse to throw on some argyle socks?) Free use of the clubs is available and a bucket of balls ranges from $8–$18 for 50 to 150 balls.

Driving ranges are scattered around the region so you can also take a swing at one of these courses: University of Washington Golf Course, Interbay Golf Center, Redwood Golf Center, Snohomish Valley Golf Center, and Topgolf.


With its age-old tradition of wearing silly-looking shoes, bowling is a fun family activity that is appropriate for kids as young as 3 all the way up through high school, making it inclusive for most families. Younger ones can use the movable chute to roll the ball down the lane and you can put the bumpers up or down — it’s your call.

"Young girl bowling with bumpers up at a Seattle bowling alley"
Use bumpers to help younger kids get the hang of bowling. Photo: Charlene Santucci

Bowling has the added benefit of providing a break from the heat when the days (and nights) are feeling toasty. Most neighborhoods have a bowling alley within striking distance: Kenmore Lanes, Spin Alley in Shoreline, HUB Games at the University of Washington (where you can introduce the kiddos to higher ed, while you are at it!), Lynnwood Bowl and Skate, Kent Bowl and West Seattle Bowl, to name a few.

More family fun activities for sporty (and non-sporty) families alike:

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