Games are fun, especially backyard games. And they provide healthy activity so important for both children and adults. Each of our chosen activities is easy to play and will provide hours of fun during warm summer days. Even in winter, many places have a stretch of warm days when kids can get outside and play. This article provides some easy, do-it-yourself game suggestions, and some that require some equipment and preparation. Whichever game or activity you choose, we guarantee you will have more fun in your backyard than ever before!
Table of Contents
- 1 Backyard Games for Kids
- 2 Backyard Games for Adults
- 3 Backyard Party Games
Backyard Games for Kids
In the age of electronics, kids need motivation to get them to go outside and play. Experts in child health tell us the kids are not getting enough exercise and that many of our children are obese. Backyard games provide both fun and healthy exercise. Our selection provides fun for kids of every age.
Water Balloon Catch
Although a bit messy, this game is fun, especially on a hot day! Simply fill balloons with water and play catch. Play in pairs or teams with the participants moving one step farther apart for each throw. Determine the winner in one of the following ways:
- Whichever pair or team misses three catches first loses.
- When participants get wet, they are out.
- The team that manages to get farthest from each other without missing a catch wins.
- Simple to set up and fun to play, create bowling pins from empty, 2 litre soda bottles.
- Fill the bottom fourth with water to stabilise the pins and use a plastic ball heavy enough to knock them over.
- An easy way to keep score is to give one point per pin knocked over and the person with the most points after a certain number of turns – ten works well – wins the game.
Use the backyard basketball hoop or a large trash can for this fun game. Choose a word – a name of an animal works well. The goal of the game is to not miss the basket. Players take turns and each time a player misses, they receive a letter from the chosen word. When a player earns all the letters in the word they are out. This game works for any number of players. You can allow other players to attempt to block or knock the ball of the player attempting to make a basket if you wish.
Chalk is inexpensive and provides hours of fun. Your little kids will enjoy drawing stick figures and simple animals. Your older children can create murals or play areas such as houses, streets, or farms on which they can arrange small toys. If you hate the look of chalk, washable varieties are available. Your kids can also use chalk for hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, or to draw a checker game.
A game fun to set up and play, outdoor checkers is played on a giant checker board with colored paper plates for checkers.
- Begin by marking off a giant square with sidewalk chalk on a paved surface such as a driveway or patio, or with spray paint on the grass.
- Continue completing the board with 64 squares.
- Use the chalk or paint to color alternating boxes.
- Have the kids color paper plates – twelve for each player to use as checkers.
Draw a hopscotch design on cement or the asphalt driveway. A popular design is three vertical squares, two horizontal squares, one vertical square, two more horizontal squares, another vertical square, and a final square. Number the squares one through ten. The last square is where a player pauses before starting back to square one. The squares need to be large enough for a player to hop from one foot to the other without trouble.
- To begin playing, players take turns throwing a marker into the first square. If the marker does not land in the square, a player loses a turn. Stones are most often used as markers, but any small object will work.
- A player begins hoping on the square with the marker. They may use either their left or right foot.
- When there are two horizontal squares, both feet may be used. However, when there is only one vertical square, the player must hop.
- If a player puts two feet on the ground when they should be hopping, they are “out.”
- If a player steps on a line, hops on the wrong square, or steps outside the square, they lose a turn.
- When a player gets to square number ten, they turn around and hop and step back to the beginning, picking up the marker on the way. They do so while on the square right before where the marker is.
- The player must skip over the square where the marker is and go back to square one. E
- very time a player has a turn, they begin on the next numbered square.
- The first person who finishes and has placed a marker on each square wins the game.
All children love to play in sand. If you have pets or wild critters, construct or buy a covered sand box. If you live somewhere fenced or where animals are not a problem, a kid’s wading pool or a large pile of sand works well. Children can play with toy cars and trucks, creating roads and other scenarios for hours of fun. Younger children will enjoy pails, shovels, and simple molds. Old food storage containers work well. If you have a small sandbox, consider purchasing brightly colored sand specially designed for sandboxes.
Bean Bag Toss
All you need for a bean bag toss game is a large, sturdy, cardboard box.
- On one side, make one or more holes through which the beanbags will be tossed.
- Players start out about four feet away from the box and move farther back on each turn.
- The player making the most successful tosses wins the game.
Backyard Games for Adults
Picnics, barbeques, and outdoor birthday parties all provide fun for adults. Adding an outdoor game increases the enjoyment and adds to the memory of such events. Our selection of backyard games for adults also works well with older teens.
Players of this enjoyable lawn game attempt to hit small colored wood or plastic balls through wire “wickets,” curved metal hoops in a set sequence and course. The player who finishes the course first wins the game.
Kan Jam Game
Kan Jam originated in New York and has spread to the rest of the country. The only equipment required is a Frisbee or some other type of disc, and a large container, such as a clean garbage can. A slot is cut in the side of the container. The goal of the game is to get your disc into the container. If a disc is thrown into the slot on the side, there is an instant win. This game can be played individually or with teams depending on the number of players.
A variation of a bean bag toss, players or teams take turns attempting to throw bean bags into a hole at the far end of a tilted platform. You can find directions on-line for making your own corn hole game, or purchase one for $60 and up. Boards are set up facing each other 27 feet apart. Players take turns with a bag going through the hole worth 3 points and a bag on the platform worth one point. To win, a player must get exactly 21 points. If a player goes over 21, they lose ten points and begin again at 11 points. The first player to get exactly 21 points win. Rules for winning can vary – some prefer a set number of rounds after which the player with the most points wins.
Another fun lawn game involving throwing is horseshoes. The goal is to toss horseshoes at a stake, seeing how close you can get. The closer the horseshoe is to the stake, the more points a player gets. Each player takes two tosses. If a horseshoe completely encircles the stake – called a ringer – the player earns three point. If a horseshoe ends up leaning against a stake – referred to as a leaner – the player gets one point. If both horseshoes thrown land closer to the stake than the other players, the player with the closer horseshoes gets two points. You can either set a number of points required to win, or the number of rounds to be played and then declare a winner.
You will need between 12 and 16 people, a volleyball, a 40 inch wide net that stretches 30 feet across the court, and two poles for hanging the net. Mark out a volleyball court 60 feet long and thirty feet wide and place the net about eight feet above the center of the court. The goal of the game is to get the most points by hitting the volleyball over the net and to the other side. Teams try to keep the ball going back and forth without any fault. A fault occurs when a ball is:
- Hit out of bounds
- Hit more than three times on an attempt to get it over the net
- Hit two times in a row by a single player
- Caught by a player
Additionally, a fault occurs if a player touches the net while making a play or takes more than eight seconds to serve. The team that scores twenty-five points first wins a set and a match consists of either winning best in five or best in three sets.
Backyard Party Games
You do not need to buy bubble blowing solution to enjoy blowing bubbles. Simply give each person a paper plate and a straw. Fill the plate with a bit of dish detergent and some water. Mix the water and soap until suds start to form. Blow bubbles by putting the end of the straw in the plate and blowing very carefully. Very large bubbles will start to form and the straw can be held up and the bubbles blown into the air. Color the solution if you want colored bubbles. If you wish, you can have a competition to see who blows the biggest bubble.
Relay races work well for any age or type of gathering. You will need to divide players into teams of six to eight players. Designate a starting and ending line and have teams line up behind the starting line. When the “Go!” command is given, the front person runs to the finish line and back again, tagging the next person on their team. This continues and the first team to have all their players back at the starting line wins. Of course, you have to add some fun by telling players how to run the race. Some fun examples are:
- Pushing a tennis ball with one’s nose
- Carrying pails of water to fill a large bucket at the finish line
- Balancing a raw egg on a spoon
- Running with a balloon between the knees
Read more 20+ Best Relay Race Games and Ideas
Although it takes a bit of preparation, a scavenger hunt can be great fun at parties. For very young children, hide objects before the party. You can use small colored toys related to the party theme. Provide each child a bag for storing what they find. For older children, make a list of backyard items for them to find. For example, a pinecone, small rock, a specific type of leaf, and a small piece of wire. Your list will be somewhat dependent on the nature of your backyard. Adults may enjoy a community scavenger hunt. Provide teams of adults or individuals with cameras to take pictures of their finds. Another variation of this game described in article Mall Scavenger Hunt Lists and Ideas.
When it comes to backyard games, there are many options for every age and skill level. Many traditional games like hopscotch, horseshoes, or jump rope may be new for your kids. These games have stood the test of generations and provide hours of fun. Adults will love some of the new games such as kan jam and corn hole. And, of course, backyard parties are so much more fun with games. Have fun!