Every good host knows that every party has some kind of entertainment. Whether it’s a movie showing, an open cocktail cart, or a group game, the fun keeps the guests around after dinner is over and the table is cleared. Warm weather allows you to move your party outside which means you need to think about some outdoor entertainment to keep guests happy. Yeah, you could do a classic bonfire. Or you could DIY one of these 45 backyard games to turn your party up. You’ll have the backyard that everyone wants to be in this summer.
The Best DIY Backyard Games To Keep The Party Going
1. Horseshoe Toss
Horseshoes is a classic backyard game that everyone has played at least once in their life. Use some bright paint to give your set a new glamor that will have everyone wanting to take a turn. (via Design Love Fest)
2. Outdoor Yahtzee
Did you know that Yahtzee isn’t just for indoors? A giant set of dice can allow you to take it onto the grass. Just grab some paper and pens and your guests can have the most memorable game of Yahtzee ever. (via The Pinning Mama)
3. Giant Pick Up Sticks
Pick Up Sticks is a vintage game that we probably all played once or twice as children. But when you make those sticks giant sized, the game gets adult sized too. You’ll be surprised how something so simple can be so hard. (via BHG)
4. Spray Paint Lawn Twister
Twister, the game of contortions and laughter. With some spray paint and a circle stencil, you can have a game of colors on the grass all summer long. You’ll please not only your adult guests but your children’s guests as well. (via She Knows)
5. Jumbo Dominoes
There are two things that make dominos a much more fun game. One, when they’re very brightly colored pieces. Two, when they’re so large, you have no choice but to play outside. (via Iron and Twine)
6. Private Bowling Alley
Do you have some carpentry skills to put to work? Build your family their own private bowling alley in their backyard. Suddenly all your neighbors will be your best friends. (via Apartment Therapy)
7. Carnival Style Ring Toss
Anyone can play a good game of ring toss. If you’ve been to a carnival, you might have tried already. Make one for your backyard and you can play with guests or your little kids or even yourself. Don’t forget the popcorn. (via Mom Endeavors)
8. Large Backyard Scrabble
Word lovers, just because you would rather play word games doesn’t mean you’re stuck indoors. There is a way to make a Scrabble game for your yard that will make sure you book readers get a dose of nature too. (via Handimania)
9. Gigantic Jenga
Jenga was always one of those games that had your heart in your throat each time your turn came around. Relive those feelings with a giant Jenga set for your patio this summer. (via A Beautiful Mess)
10. Colorful Corn Hole
In my family, corn hole is the summertime game. And it’s much more fun when your set is colorful! Have your own set that you can pull out on any summery Saturday. (via Lovely Indeed)
11. Lawn Memory Matching Game
Looking for an outdoor game that’s good for your little ones? Using cork tiles, stencils and paint, put together this matching game to put on the grass. They’ll be in for hours and hours of fun. (via Studio DIY)
12. Supersized Connect Four
Did you ever get to play Four In A Row as a kid? Relive those memories in your backyard with this giant set this summer. If this game passed you by as a kid, make it anyway and learn to play now! (via Home Depot)
13. Classic Dots And Boxes
Pining for a game to play outdoors but stuck with a small backyard? Put some dots on a piece of cloth and you’ll have a game that you can play on your tiny balcony bistro table. (via Say Yes)
14. Picnic Blanket Checkers Board
Maybe you don’t have any outdoor space to speak of. That just means you have to think outside of the box when it comes to outdoor entertainment. Make yourself this picnic blanket with a board in the middle and head to your nearest park for a game of checkers. (via Nellie Bellie)
15. Build Your Own Zip Line
Now this one will take a bit of work, and may only be interesting to those that have children of an age that would enjoy a zip line. But if you have a steel cable and a high enough starting point, this can keep the kids busy for hours while the adults talk. There are a couple of different types of zip lines you can build as outlined in How Does She, but no matter which one you pick, you can guarantee your home will be the coolest in the neighborhood.
16. Dunk Tank Game
On a hot summer day, who doesn’t want to have a giant bucket of ice-cold water dropped on their head? Following these directions in The Happy Housewife, and you can easily create your own dunk tank type game and take turns trying to see who can dunk someone the fastest! You could even build two and have a race to see whose teammate can get dunked first!
Hopscotch is an oldie but a goodie. And with this new version features on Happiness is Homemade, you won’t have to worry about kids burning their feet on hot cement, or falling and injuring themselves as you play the game in the grass! The best part is after you’ve played a few normal rounds, these tiles are effortless to rearrange to make the game more challenging.
18. Ice Block Excavation
This is a backyard game that is perfect for kids on a hot summer afternoon. All you will need is a large plastic tub and some water safe toys. Start by filling the tub with a few inches of water then placing some toys in. Put the tub in the freezer and wait until it’s frozen. Then add a few more inches of water and some more toys. Repeat the above steps until you have a solid block filled with frozen toys. Give your children some excavating tools such as spoons and warm water in a spray bottle. Macaroni Kid recommends having some salt and a hammer on hand if the kids start to get frustrated.
19. Private Putt-Putt
Your friends and family will absolutely love playing putt-putt on a private mini-golf course you create! This is most certainly not a quick DIY project, but once you complete it, you will have an awesome game to play for years to come. You can make as few, or as many holes as you want. Jamie Costiglio created just two simple holes for her family to play. But if you’re up for the challenge (and gifted in the art of wood crafts) you can build additional holes and even sweet obstacles like a windmill.
Construct your own tetherball with nothing more than a ball, old tire, pole, and some rope! This backyard game will undoubtedly keep your kids engaged, and it can easily be moved inside the garage for winter storage. You can find an example and directions of how to make this creative game on Old Salt Farm.
21. Kid Car Wash
If your kids are tired of the same old sprinkler, then it may be time to construct them a kid car wash similar to this one outlined in Mom Endeavors. This DIY backyard game does require an assortment of materials, some of which you may not have lying around, but once you set it up the first time, it will be easier to set up again for future play.
22. Ladder Golf
Ladder Golf is a fun game where two teams stand a specified distance apart and try to throw balls connected by a string onto their opponent’s ladder. It is a simple backyard game to make, as all you’ll need is some wooden pieces and bolts as mentioned in Homemade Heather. After the ladders are built, you can personalize the game (and specify the points awarded for reach rung) using any paint you may have leftover from your last paint project.
23. Flamingo Ring Toss
These cute plastic lawn flamingos can be used to put a new spin on your backyard ring toss game! All this project requires is a couple of pots with sand or rocks, and some plastic flamingos of different sizes. You can even spray paint the flamingoes in different colors, and you can play with rope rings as opposed to plastic rings for an extra challenge as outlined in Sugar And Cloth.
24. Permanent Large Chess Board
Okay, to be honest, this backyard game will take some commitment. It is a backyard project commitment that will have to happen during the construction stage of your backyard. But if it’s time for your yard to be remodeled, consider using cement and planted grass to make this awesome permanent chessboard outlined in DIY Network.
25. Backyard Slingshot
This backyard game could get dangerous, but as long as your children have the right supervision, this is a challenging game that keeps them busy for hours. First, you will have to construct a giant slingshot like this one featured in Ryobi Nation. Then you must acquire some giant buckets (the orange ones from Home Depot work great!) and a ball and you are in business!
26. Football Toss
Football Toss is a backyard game that is built similar to corn hole but tends to be a bigger hit with the older kids. Construction for this game will require some wood and simple construction skills. You can choose to leave the game as is, or paint it to resemble a football field like this one pictured in Cherished Bliss.
27. Washer In A Box Game
This is a backyard game that is not only easy to make but is also conveniently portable, making it one to take when you go to the grandparents’ house for a visit! You only need some wood, fake grass, PVC pipe, and washers, and you are ready to go! You can also spend time decorating your box or adding handles for easy relocation like they did in Amusingmj.
28. Pool Noodle Games
Have a plethora of pool noodles on hand? Even if you don’t, you can still pick up some inexpensive pool noodles at your local store and build fun games like javelin and noodle ring toss, as outlined in Parents. You can even make a backyard obstacle course out of noodles and time your children to see who can go through it the quickest!
29. Bobbing For Donuts
This backyard game is a new take on snack time, in which you attach a tieable snack, such as donuts, to strings and hang them to the branches of a tree. Then challenge your kids to eat their snack without using their hands! Rachel Hollis recommends tying the snacks based on your child’s height—high enough up that they are a bit challenging to eat but not too high as to frustrate the hungry children.
Plinko is a backyard game that children and adults can both enjoy. This game will take some crafting, but once it is done, you can paint it, and personalize the scoring of the game any way you want. You can follow the example outlined in Happiness is Homemade, or you can make the game more fun by coordinating the results with different prizes your kid can win.
31. Pool Noodle Sprinklers
For those that still have pool noodles remaining after all of the other pool noodle backyard games on this list, use some scissors and your hose to turn them into fun sprinklers! These noodles can be hooked directly up to your hose and left on the ground for kids to jump over, or you can make a sprinkler loop like this one made by Ziggity Zoom.
32. Backyard Fishpond
Do you remember playing the fish pond game at carnivals when you were a child? Well with this DIY backyard game, you can design your own fish pond game in your yard. Crafting a fishpond does take quite a few materials as outlined in Mom Endeavors, but once you are set up, this is a game you can keep on hand and roll out summer after summer.
33. Stump Tic Tac Toe
This backyard game will require that your backyard contains an old tree stump that you can draw a tic-tac-toe board on. From there, the game is quite straightforward to build, as you will just need to paint some similar sized rocks in different colors to represent the two players. You can follow this example in Chicken Scratch NY and make the rocks cute bugs, or you can paint your rocks solid colors or patterns, let your creativity shine!
34. Tin Can Toss
Tin Can Toss is an enjoyable and noisy game that is always a riot to teach guests and young children. It is also convenient to make, and gives a good use to those old cans you have lying around the house! You can keep it simple and just set up old cans on some sort of base and let people throw beanbags, or you can go the fancy route and create a savable game like this one in Decoart.
35. Water Balloon Toss
Put a new spin on an old favorite, and challenge your kids to toss water balloons back and forth, using a towel! You will need at least four kids, two for each towel, but you can always play adults versus children like in this example by Love Play and Learn. Of course, this game isn’t very savable, but it is a lot of fun, especially when someone gets soaked!
36. Soap Boat Race
Your kids will love this game so much they won’t want to put it away! Fashion a soap boat track out of an old rain gutter (or you can also buy a new one), then have your kid design a flag to stick in their bar of soap to imitate a boat. Place the gutter across two different objects of varying height and see whose boat can finish the course the fastest! More in-depth instructions for this fun project can be found on The Inspiration Board.
37. Lawn Bowling
If you aren’t quite up for creating the wooden bowling alley previously mentioned, you can also settle for a relaxing game of lawn bowling. For this project, you will require a large ball and 10 empty two-liter bottles. You can leave the bottles as is, or you could take it a step further and spend some time painting them fun colors and designs. In this example by Makenzie, she spent time making each bottle into a garden gnome.
38. Spider Web Obstacle Course
Creating a spider web obstacle course is the perfect backyard game for a children’s themed birthday party. All you need is plenty of rope, and places in your yard to wrap it around. You’ll want to leave an opening big enough for the children to get in, and Adventures At Home With Mum recommends weaving a plastic ring into your design for this purpose when you start. And don’t forget to add some fake spiders to make this web extra realistic!
39. Disc Golf
Disc Golf is always a crowd favorite and another backyard game that won’t take long to make at all! You will need some frisbees, as well as containers of your choice to make the targets. In this cute example in Decoart, the targets were baskets with handles that could be hung at different heights, and the frisbees were painted to look like donuts.
40. Outdoor Boggle
If the other backyard games on this list haven’t challenged your woodworking skills yet, then give this outdoor boggle game by Infarrantly Creative a try. Although it will take some work, this is an excellent game to play with a group of adults on a nice summer evening. And the cool thing about this game is that it can easily be stored and used at future summer events.
41. Potato Sack Race
Potato sack races have long been enjoyed by both kids and adults alike! And even though your potatoes may not come in burlap sacks anymore, you can easily craft your own. You can also decide to spend time sprucing up your bags by painting them like this example in Design Improvised.
42. Plate Bean Bag Toss
Don’t let your lack of wood working skills get you down! This next backyard beanbag game only requires some plates, colorful paint, and beanbags! You can make an effortless and disposable version of this game by using paper plates, or you can design a version that can be reused using terra cotta plates as outlined in Modpodge Rocks Blog.
43. Kerplunk Game
When you think of outdoor games, kerplunk is probably far from your mind. Surprisingly, this game is not that difficult to make an outdoor version of. Follow these instructions in A Little Craft In Your Day, and soon you and your family can be laughing as you see who makes the balls go kerplunk!
44. Water Cup Races
This is a backyard game that is perfect for a patio or a backyard that may not have grass. To set up, you will poke holes in the bottom of plastic cups, then put them on strings. Erect at least two of these side by side, tying them to whatever you can find, or taping them to the wall like they did in All For The Boys. To play, just give your children water guns and see who can move the cup from one end of the string to the other fastest, just using the spray of water!
45. PVC Pipe Water Blasters
In the hot climates, it can be unbearable for children to play outside in the heat of the day. But with these homemade PVC pipe water blasters by Mom Endeavors, your kids will be so soaked in water, they won’t overheat! This is a basic backyard game to set up and take down, and it only requires some simple materials like PVC pipes and a few pool noodles.
Whether you spend the time to create a few of the backyard game ideas on this list, or all of them, your backyard is sure to be the most fun on the block. Kids and adults alike will always find something to hold their attention while spending a summer afternoon at your place. Just don’t be surprised when you are asked to host BBQs more often!