DIY ... creative ways to keep the family playing!

The kiddos have one month of summer vacation remaining before they begin their school year. Has your family exhausted all your current outdoor game options? Are they becoming a tad boring to play?

The weather is beautiful, and you’ll want to spend this remaining time enjoying the backyard, so here are a few, fun and easy-to-make games your family will love creating and playing! 

BEAN BAG TOSS in Bowls or Ladder

Fill baggies with beans or rice, seal them well, and tape them shut. Double bag them or cover them fully with colorful duct tape if you want to ensure nothing spills. If you have spare material and would prefer to sew some bags, this is obviously best. Then, organize bowls or a ladder with point values and try to get the most points per throw or combination of throws.


Divide into teams, each with a hidden handkerchief, t-shirt, or hand-towel as your flag. Designate the two sides clearly either by spray painting a line in the grass or placing an object in the middle to clearly divide the two team areas. Assign positions like seekers, taggers and flag protectors, then try to capture the other team’s flag, returning it to your “home zone”. Remember though if you are tagged by the opposing team with the “flag”, you will be sent to “jail” for a predetermined waiting period. The first one to capture the opposing team’s “flag” and bring it “home” without being tagged, wins!


Fasten two strings running parallel, across your yard, above ground, with a plastic cup threaded through it. For this game you will need water guns or squirt guns. Pick an opponent, bring the cup to the start line on one end and then try to win by squirting water in the cup to advance it to the finish line on the other end

DARTS on a Balloon Board

For this game you will need darts. Create a backboard with taped/pinned balloons in rows and columns. Assign points per row and column and challenge opponents to the top score. Make certain to position the board in a safe location where no one can accidently be hit by a flying dart.

This is a slightly dangerous game since you are using real darts to pop the balloons, so it may be better suited for older kids. Nonetheless, please be careful, set ground rules and take turns.


Do you have a small, baby wading pool or anything of similar size, like a huge plastic storage bin, that will hold water? If so, fill it up and throw in a bunch of marbles. Players will take turns trying to pick up and take out as many marbles as possible, with their feet, within a set amount of time. If your group is small enough you can all compete together, at the same time, if you prefer.


If you have helium and balloons, blow up a few and attach them to something slightly heavy like a full bottle, a placard, or a chair so they won’t fly away. Position them as you wish and mark them with points. Take turns throwing a ball, silly string, or squirting water at them. The one with the most points, wins! If you don’t have helium, you can substitute the balloons with scattered pillows or plastic plates.


Fasten a hook of any size (of course, bigger will be easier) to any safe, vertical object like a fence or beam. Then make a few rings out of tin foil, rope or left over glow-in-the-dark Halloween bracelets (size to match your hook) and see who can throw it on the hook, in the least amount of turns, from a set distance. You can attach the ring to a string which is the original game making it easier to retrieve your ring, or simply throw them free-hand at the hook.


You will need 10 bottles and a ball. Fill you bottles with at least an inch of water, place them in the typical 10-pin bowling position and play traditional bowling with any type of ball (baseball, soccer ball, beach ball etc.) on your personal outdoor bowling alley.


Do you have paint? If so, create a painted twister play mat by painting dots on the grass. If you have a traditional Twister game, you can use its already available spinner, but if you don’t have one, you can designate someone to simply call out the moves they want.


To make this game you’ll need empty boxes of all sizes as well as a few balloons. Have the kids draw or paint angry bird faces on air-filled balloons while you position the boxes like the blocks in the video game. Once done, tape the “angry birds” to certain boxes in appropriate places, then everyone can take 3 turns each throwing balls at them to try to knock it all down.


You won’t need putters for this game but of course if you do have them you can use them. Create your own obstacles throughout your yard as though it was a mini golf course. If you want to make holes in your yard then go for it, but since that’s most likely not an option, you can simply position a specific object to hit or reach as a substitution. Use your creativity for the putter; if you have a baseball bat or a tennis racket or anything similar, have fun and use those to score your hole or hit-in-one!


Create obstacles around your yard for the kids to compete on like Ninja Warriors. Place objects to hop over, duck under, balance  and/or swing on. Use some of the equipment you might already have in your yard like your playset, and design courses they must accomplish as fast as they can. It doesn’t need to be complicated, use what you have, ie: jump over a rock, run around the patio table, squat 10 times, run backwards etc. Just make it fun and exciting. You can even create prizes or medals.


Divide into teams and race across the yard and back in relay format to see which team wins. Make it more challenging by placing hurdles or obstacles on the course.


Fill as many water/soda bottles as you have with some liquid to keep them stable. Position them on a table or on the ground in any formation you wish. Make as many tin foil or rope rings as you’d like then have everyone take turns tossing them to see if they can land on a bottle’s neck. This is a fun carnival game in your backyard!


Position a net or a sheet on a clothesline, separate into two teams and enjoy a great game of volleyball. If you don’t have a volleyball, no worries, use what you have. A beachball is always a great substitute!

Enjoy the remainder of your summer break with quality, outdoor, family time! Stay safe and have fun! As always, please feel free to share other DIY game ideas and pictures with us anytime!