11 Outdoor Games You'll Want to Play All Summer Long
Make having fun in the sun that much easier.
Spending time outdoors can help with so much more than just cabin fever. After a long, cold winter with a limited number of social activities due to COVID-19, being able to safely spend time with family and friends outdoors is a welcomed treat. Plus, when you're protected by plenty of sunscreen, time in the sun serves as a great source of vitamin D. So, whether you're heading outdoors for a socially distant get-together or keeping your little ones busy with outside play, getting familiar with a variety of different backyard games ensures the entire family will spend more time in the open air when the weather permits. To that end, we're sharing a variety of backyard games and activities to keep your family busy whenever weather permits.
No matter where you live, having a backyard means you have endless options for fun. While you can certainly purchase backyard games from your favorite store, there are also plenty of options you can DIY. In fact, some of our favorite backyard game ideas don't even require purchasing anything at all. A timeless activity that kids are sure to love is tag. Everyone has fond memories of enjoying this game growing up, and just because you played it in the '80s or '90s doesn't mean it's any less applicable today. If your little ones dream of landing in the NFL draft someday, flag football is a backyard game they will gladly spend hours playing. Just be sure they know it's a friendly game—no need for anyone to get hurt.
Of course, we have plenty of backyard games you can create yourself, like our unique and creative Sponge Ball Drop. It's made with household items and comes together quickly. Another fun option is to make a piñata, which we love for a socially-distanced and COVID-safe birthday or holiday gathering. Fill it up with candy or little gifts and no one will go home empty handed.
Ahead, everyone will love these backyard games—just don't forget the sunscreen!
Tin Can Toss Game
Come one, come all! Step right up to this retro carnival-inspired game in which cans are stacked and knocked down with a ball. Go one step further and customize them to your party theme: These cans can be decoupaged with patterned paper of your choice.
Ombré Tumbling Tower Game
You know this one from your own childhood: Stack them high and remove a block, being careful to avoid their tumbling collapse. In this tower of wooden blocks, each one is painted with a pop of color.
This classic game fits in perfectly for any occasion, whether you're hosting a refined garden party or a more laidback barbecue. The first team to maneuver their set of balls through the course (running all wickets and hitting both stakes) wins. (Oh, and did we mention it's one of Martha's favorites?)
Just like lawn bowling, bocce requires a mix of skill and chance. In a game set, you will need eight large balls (in two colors) and one small pallino, or "jack," the target ball.
Here's another favorite for your bonfire or barbecue. The object is to throw all of your bean bags into the holes, and some holes are worth more points. To make your own cornhole game, all you need is plywood and some basic tools from your garage.
Who doesn't love to swing? The object of this obstacle course is to get a good running start and keep knees high in order to clear the inflatable wading pool. Several big knots tied in the rope's end make it easy to grab.
Get in the football season by playing a gentler version of the game that kids (and adults) of all ages can enjoy! If you don't have the flag football belts at home, you can make similar simply by adding Velcro to your fabric belt and to the backs of homemade fabric flags. Each team should have an identifiable color. Set up the yard like a small football field, grab a foam football and have a fun competitive game to celebrate the beginning of fall!
Sponge Ball Drop
What could be better on a hot, scorching day? Split into two teams and knockout every player on the opposing team by throwing and hitting them with—not hard-hitting dodge balls, but—soft, water-soaked sponge balls. Make a set of your own kitchen sponges, drench them in water, and get ready to get wet.
Fun for all ages, a piñata is a great way to entice everyone outside for an afternoon of fun.
A simple round of badminton will get everyone excited to head outdoors. It's a family-friendly alternative to tennis that even young kids can get involved in.
Anything from milk jugs to water bottles can serve as the pins while a soccer ball stands in for the bowling ball. The result? A fun, DIY bowling alley that you can enjoy anytime you want.