Summer’s (almost) here, which  means spending as much time as possible outdoors. It’s also the perfect time to shoot the breeze in the backyard with your family and friends. With longer, warmer days, you can finally take advantage of your outdoor space with tons of food, entertainment and activities. And we know there is  one activity that always gets everyone excited… GAMES! 

No summer is complete without outdoor games. So enjoy the sun and have some fun out there! From new favorites to timeless classics, we’ve rounded up some of our faves that you can create on your own and play all summer long. So, prepare for some good ol’ fashion friendly competition with these fun, budget-friendly DIY outdoor games. 

Backyard Bowling

Backyard bowling is always a blast. Instead of going and purchasing bowling pins though, why
not create your own set using recycled bottles?

What you’ll need:

How to set it up:

  • Paint the bottles completely with white paint.
  • Use the red paint to write individual numbers from 1 to 10 on each bottle.

Lawn Twister

Take the classic indoor game of Twister and paint a “twister board” onto your lawn to play the game al fresco!

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard piece or box (large enough to cut out a 10-inch circle on one side)
  • Red, blue, green and yellow colored washable or regular spray paint  (If you use regular spray paint, you’ll need to let the grass grow out)
  • A spoon
  • String or thread
  • Ruler

How to set it up:

  • Cut a 10-inch circle out of a cardboard piece to use it as a template. A pizza box will work! Put the cut out circle aside. You’ll need it later.
  • Use the red spray paint can and the circle template to create 6 of the same colored circles in a row on your lawn. Use the string to make sure your lines are straight and the circles are equally distanced from each other.
  • Do this step 3 more times with the blue, green, and yellow paint cans. You should have 24 circles in total, but you can add more if you want to make an extra large playing field.
  • Use the circle you cut out from the cardboard piece and using a ruler split it into eight  sections. Each color: red, blue, green, and yellow gets two sections on the spinner. 
  • One player from the opposing team calls out whether an arm or leg needs to be moved and you use the spoon as your spinner. Place your spoon on the cardboard circle and spin it to see where it lands!

Family Relay:

You can do this one in the backyard, at a park, or around the block. The relay can be as complex as a running, hopping, and a potato sack race course, or as simple as a slow walk or light jog course. All you really need is something to tie you together (could be an old t-shirt or a string), and a start and finish point.The team that crosses the finish line first, wins. Simply organize the family into teams that include runners, non-runners, and little kids. Everyone on the team runs/walks the distance that works for them while the rest of their team follows along. Some people might go a few miles, while others a few yards, but everyone cheers each other whole-heartedly!

Water Cup Races:

Reminiscent of the clown-and-balloon carnival game, this water cup race is super simple to set up and easy for everyone to play.

What you’ll need:

How to set it up:

  • Cut or punch a hole into the bottom of the cup (make it close to the edge, not right in the middle, since the cup will be resting on the string on its side).
  • Put the string through the hole at the bottom of the cup, and out from the top of the cup.
  • Attach both ends of the string between two posts, walls, or tie around the branches between two trees outside.
  • Do the above setup once or twice more, depending on how many players you want competing.
  • Use the water guns or other water squirting toy to spray into the cup and push it from one end of the string to the other. 

Balloon Darts:

Another simple and fun idea for a game that tests eye-hand coordination. Kids who enjoy playing darts will love this outdoor version of the game. Instead of shooting at a target board, they take aim at a wall of balloons instead. Imagine the satisfying “Pop!” whenever they hit the board.

What you’ll need:

How to set it up:

  • On 15 – 20 post-its write any number between 1- 50 on each. Put one or two inside each balloon at random before filling them with air. This can be used for scoring purposes to make the game more competitive.
  • Fill the balloons with air and attach them in a cluster with the tape to the fence or a large cardboard piece.

If DIY is not your thing, we’ve got you covered too. Here are a couple of fun options to pick up next time you’re out shopping: 

  • Hopscotch – We’re going old school with this one. A sidewalk or driveway, some chalk, and one rock is all you need for hopscotch—oh, and good balance! If your kids really love drawing outside with chalk, you can add to the fun by mixing some chalk spray together. The ingredients include tempera paint, hot water, dishwashing soap, and cornstarch—you just mix equal parts all together and put them in spray bottles with different colors. Let your kids have at it and they’ll have so much fun making designs.
  • Bocce Ball set – Two teams carefully roll their four bocce balls to get closest to the jack (the white ball) without moving it. It’s way more challenging (and addicting!) than you’d think.
  • Giant Wooden 4-In-A-Row Lawn Game – Yup, the game description is also the name of the game and it’s one of the classics. Ever heard of Tic-Tac-Toe? Well, this is a version of that. Two players (or teams) at a time, try to insert their red or yellow coins into the wooden frame to form a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line of all the same color. While figuring out a game-winning strategy can sometimes be a challenge, the game is simple enough for the entire family to play.
  • Crossnet – This is essentially a volleyball game divided into four. What’s awesome about this game is that you can play it in your backyard on grass, sand at the beach, or even play it indoors! It’s easy to set up in a few minutes.

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