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Our days and nights are taken up with constant technology. Wherever you look, people are on a smartphone or some kind of device. We all know the phrase “couch potato,” and, to be honest, I think most of us feel the same way most of the time due to almost no exercise or time spent outdoors!
There are many ways to have fun and play games in your own backyard. The size of the space might determine which games you can safely play, but there are so many options available. Inventing and creating DIY games with your family can be as much fun as playing with store-bought items.
If you have a small backyard, here are some of the best games that you can try out with your family or friends:
1. The Big Campout
This activity has to top the list of memory-making magic! Technically, not a game, but the best activity to involve the whole family!
Simply gather any old tents, blankets, chairs, ropes, pillows, or anything that can be used to make a fort, a tree-house, or a castle in the backyard. Stack, pack and tie everything together to create the ideal fort or castle. Everyone can have a say in how to create your fantasy home!
If you are brave enough to spend the night outside in the fort, build a bonfire (under adult supervision), roast marshmallows, and sing campfire songs! Don’t worry about waking your neighbors up!
This game involves lining up old empty cans and taking potshots at them to knock them down. If you do have a slingshot, shoot small stones at the cans (under adult supervision). Tennis balls or bean bags are a better option for smaller children to throw at the cans.
Smaller children can stand closer to the target cans, while older children and adults can move further away from the target. The winner is the one who knocks over the most cans!
If you have a concrete or paved patch or a driveway and a few pieces of chalk, draw squares and circles on the floor. Number each shape. The idea is to hop on one foot from shape to shape by following the number on the shape.
The game can be played on a grassed area by placing pieces of material or even small pillows on the ground. Release your inner child and show your children how it’s done!
4. Volleyball Or Spikeball
To play this game, you don’t need a big area. This game involves a net and a ball.
You can buy a Spikeball Battle Game online or simply tie a rope between two chairs that are a distance apart from each other for a quick homemade version.
Toss a ball, a pillow, or a bean bag to each other over the rope. The loser drops the ball! This can be a team event with a prize for the winning team!
5. Backyard Mini Golf
Most families will have a golf club or two lying around. If not, try using a cricket bat for a different take on the game! Build small obstacles using buckets and cups across the ground and lay out a route to follow. The winner is the one who successfully moves the ball into or through all the obstacles!
You can purchase compact mini golf sets online to suit your backyard space or make your own with the equipment that you already have.
6. Ring Toss
An old family favorite, great for all ages! Stagger bottles, cans, or pool noodles (in a vertical position) across the ground. Toss plastic or rope rings around the bottles, cans, or pool noodles. Younger and smaller children can stand closer to the target, and older children should stand further away.
If you buy the Ring Toss Game online, it comes standard with a matching set of color cones, plastic rings, and a handy, compact bag to keep the set together in one place.
7. Water Balloon Toss
Make sure that you are wearing your bathing costume for this game, as you will get wet! Fill up water balloons with water and toss them to each other! The aim is to throw the balloons high into the sky, making it difficult for the other person to catch the balloon. If he doesn’t catch it correctly, the balloon will burst and spray water over him.
For some extra fun and double the excitement, if you have a tree in your backyard, hang the balloons filled with water from the tree and try and hit the balloons to break them, Pinata style!
8. Corn Hole
This game comes in a set with two boards and eight beanbags, enough for the whole family to play! The aim of this throwing game is to carefully throw the bean bags into the holes that are cut out in the boards. The team which gets all their bean bags into the holes wins!
Make sure that each team member on the same team has the same colored bean bag.
9. Board Games
Buy a variety of board games that are age-appropriate for all members of your family. Football tabletop trivia, checkers, and chess are the ideal games for rainy days! Instead of sitting indoors during a rain shower, move onto your patio and listen to the sound of the rain and your family’s laughter!
Plan for rainy days by shopping online with the family and deciding on what games to buy. When rainy weather arrives, you will already have a stash of games that everyone will be happy to play.
10. Jumbo Jenga Or Tumbling Blocks
Ideally, this should be a 24 piece kit made from wood or rigid plastic. You can purchase this game online or simply use old pieces of wood which you have lying around your yard. The idea is to move each piece from the bottom of the pile to the top without knocking over the stack!
Watch out for falling pieces of wood if the stack falls over! The loser is the one who caused the pieces to tumble!
11. Jumbo Tic Tac Toe
This can become a fun DIY building and painting activity for the kids! Knock together some wood to form a board, cut wood to size for the counters, and paint in a color of your choice! Place an “X” or an “O” onto each counter and play the game! Make sure that you build a giant, floor-sized game!
If you don’t have any wood lying around, draw ten big squares on the pavement or driveway with chalk and find ten playing pieces to use as counters to play the game.
If you have unused pool noodles lying around, turn them into a floor-sized version of a tic-tac-toe board. Use colored bean bags to toss into the squares to make up the o’s and x’s.
12. Spray Paint Twister Game
Rather play this game on a patch of grass than on your driveway or paving! Spray patches of red, yellow, blue, and green paint (Or any four colors that you enjoy) onto the grass, mimicking a Twister mat.
Create a spinning wheel or use an existing one from a tabletop Twister game to tell you when to move and where to place your hands and feet. Get the whole family involved in this fun game!
13. Ladder Or Bolo Toss
This game is all about throwing bolos at ladder rungs of different colors. The winner is the one who snags the most rungs! You only get three bolos per team so go for the highest score for your team to win!
The Ladder Toss Game is available for purchase online. It is portable and comes in a handy carry bag. Ideal for stashing away in the garden shed.
This game is excellent for eye-hand coordination and teamwork! The aim is to wrap the ball around the pole in the direction of your opponent. This is generally an outdoor game, but it only needs a small space to set up. It has a sturdy base, so no holes in the ground are required!
This can become a rowdy game so warn the neighbors!
15. Lawn Darts
Stagger big pieces of materials cut into circles on the ground around the yard. Each circle can have a number painted on them to score points. Each team member throws a bean bag onto one of the circles. The team with the highest points wins!
If you do have a grassy patch in your backyard, spray paint circles onto the grass instead of using material – the kids will love to help!
16. Water Gun Battle
What could be better on a hot and humid day! Make sure that every soldier has a squirt gun and knows how to use it! If your backyard is too small for running around and chasing the opposing team members, how about a target shooting contest instead?
Place boxes and clean tins in a row, draw targets on them, and fire away – with water, of course!
If your children are feeling creative, mix some powder paint with the water in the squirt gun and let them shoot at white paper tacked onto a blackboard. Messy fun!
17. Giant Bubble Wands
This takes some forward planning on Mom’s behalf! Set up a few soapy bubble containers around the backyard. Give each family member a different-sized bubble wand and let them spin around and blow hot air to their heart’s content!
18. Tile Matching Game
This is a game of skill that can be played anywhere! Two giant squares of material or cardboard should have the same picture printed on them. You can have many sets of squares. Spread the squares out on the grass. The aim is to find the matching pair of squares. The winner takes all!
19. Inflatable Bowling Game
A quieter game for smaller teams or two players. This set is entirely compact, portable, and inflatable. All you need is to inflate the oversized balls and the pins, place them on the ground and roll the ball at them. The winner is the one who knocks over the most pins, just like in regular bowling!
This bowling game can be purchased online and is available in a range of colors.
20. Treasure Hunt
We love a treasure hunt during holidays, so why not arrange one to get the family out of the house? Children of all ages can search for various items which you have strategically placed around the backyard and the home. End the day with a barbeque or hotdogs!
21. Movie Night
Create an outdoor movie theatre in your backyard. Set up a big screen (make sure it’s not raining), hang fairy lights around the yard, and place blankets on the floor. Serve soda and popcorn and watch a family movie together.
After the movie, play guessing games in the dark or hold tracing paper up to the sky and trace the stars!
Playing games and running around with your kids in the backyard is all about making memories. It doesn’t matter what the shape or size of your backyard space is, there are many ways to enjoy the outdoors and your backyard with your family.
All it takes to enjoy some downtime with your family is some planning and a bit of imagination. While there are so many games that you can purchase online, there are just as many DIY options that you can get the whole family involved in.