It's summertime and the living is easy. In fact, you can almost hear the backyard calling your name.

Sure, you could just sit back there and watch the world go by, but what fun is that? Stock the cooler with ice, call some friends and turn relaxing into a competition.

From the time there first was a backyard, there have been backyard games. Whether it's something as simple as tossing the Frisbee around or something as foolish -- and fun -- as Jarts (Remember those? What were we thinking?), it seems we just can't relax without making a game out of it.

But when you have so many choices for your recreation options, how can you possibly be expected to choose? That's where we come in.

So grab your favorite cold beverage, slap on the sunscreen and join us for a look at the five best summer backyard games.

Up first, what's better than badminton?

Volleyball net in backyard

No. 5: Volleyball

Isn't it just the American way to take something British and make it even better? Things like liberty, "The Office" and badminton.

Don't get us wrong; badminton, a sport invented nearly 300 years ago in British India and popularized in England, was fun enough -- as long as you could master serving the shuttlecock while not giggling at the word shuttlecock.

But then, in 1895, a Holyoke, Mass., YMCA physical education director looked at that badminton net and said, "Ditch the racquets and somebody bring me a ball."

The resulting sport was called "mintonette" but soon came to resemble the sport we play in backyards, high school gyms, beaches and even sand-covered bar parking lots today.

Just something to think the next time you spike the ball while Kenny Loggins' "Playing with the Boys" blares in the background.

Now remind us, close only counts in ... what?

horseshoes in pit

No. 4: Horseshoes

While there have been many variations -- and even some improvements -- on the classic backyard game of horseshoes over the years, the original still remains as American as it gets.

OK, so the sport actually has its roots thousands of years ago in Greece, but it was actually soldiers tossing mule shoes in Union Camps during the Civil War that gave birth to the backyard sport we know today.

What makes horseshoes so great is that, unlike many other sports, you don't have to be perfect to score, hence the "horseshoes and hand grenades" saying. Oh, and you can also play while holding a can or bottle of your favorite beverage in one hand.

And, honestly, is there really any other measure of a great backyard game that matters as much?

Horseshoes are great, but do you really want to bring people together?

bocce balls

No. 3: Bocce ball

Bocce, like most of the games on our list, has evolved over a long period of time. Originally played in Ancient Rome, the sport found a country to love it in Italy.

And, really, has there ever been a better matchup, apart from peanut butter and jelly?