Spring is in the air and I am getting excited about it. Our family loves to be outdoors. We also believe in working hard and playing hard so you will often catch us enjoying a good game of frisbee after a long workday. Hosting cookouts and setting up cornhole to play while we wait for the food is a frequent occurrence from spring through fall. We like badminton, croquet, and a full-on water war (balloons or super soakers) once it gets warm enough. So today I am sharing twenty fun games to play in your backyard with your family. So, you can get as excited as I am and start preparing for the best spring yet.
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Twenty Backyard Game Ideas
This giant dice game will get everyone outside and playing together. I like this Yardzee Kit because it includes a bucket for tossing and storage and also has instructions for over twenty games you can play!
This is the exact set that I purchased and it has held up really well especially considering how well-loved it is. The legs fold up too for easy storage in the garage. If you have never played cornhole before it’s an adult version of a standard bean bag toss. So much fun! We haul it out for every BBQ and everyone loves playing, young and older guests alike.
My love for horseshoes goes back to the weekends we spent camping when I was a kid. We camped often just off the lake tucked deep into the Maine woods and after a long day of swimming and sunning we would all gather at the horseshoe pit to enjoy a lazy ending. Some of us played cards and others took turns tossing. It was so much fun! We bought Mr. Wonderful this set from Franklin Sports years ago for Father’s Day and it has stood the test of time.
Yard Checkers/Connect Four/Tic-Tac-Toe:
Whether you choose a giant standing connect-four board, a checkerboard that also offers Tic-Tac-Toe, or a beautiful rustic version of roses vs violets, there are plenty of options to add some fun games to your outdoor space.
Croquet is another game from my childhood that we still play now. My mother-in-law is the one who re-introduced us to the fun of croquet and we have had a ball with it ever since!
BucketBall is so much fun! You can play it on land or at the beach. It stores easily and travels well but even if it never leaves your backyard this game delivers big fun!
Everyone loves Jenga but this oversized outdoor version from Giantville is so much more fun! Over four feet of fun to challenge you and your friends and family.
This giant inflatable bowling set from Giggle N Go is so much fun and perfect for your littles. If you are looking for an outdoor bowling set for adult guests then Brybelly Wooden Lawn Bowling Set is probably a more suitable option for you.
This simple ring toss game is perfect for gamers of all ages. This game offers a super fast and easy setup plus it comes back apart for tidy storage!
Every summer we put up a badminton set next to our swing set and we played it a lot. Even better the set travels well so while it is a hit at your bbq you can also take it along camping or for a day at the lake.
We probably play more frisbee than most families. You can count on someone inviting you to through the frisbee around every single time we fire up the grill. We really like to get six or eight of us in a circle and see how long we can keep it going without it hitting the ground. This is a good way to spend some time together and an extremely affordable game to play with your family. For the little kids, check out these lighter frisbees.
Full disclosure, this game has been banned at a lot of schools because it can lead to some bruising for more enthusiastic players. That side, I played it my whole childhood, and no one ever had anything beyond the typical injuries associated with play in my youth. And it’s really fun. Plus, all you need is people.
You need at least six people to play Red Rover but the more the merrier. Divide into equal teams. Have everyone stand in a line holding hands. The first team calls a player over. “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (name) right over.” The player who was called tries to run through the linked arms of the opponent’s team. If they don’t get through they have to join the opposing player’s team. If they do break through they return to their original team. Play until one team is down to just one player. Sunshine, lots of running, and laughter make this game a lot of fun.
I first played this in our school gymnasium. All of us loved a good game of tug of war and I still do. To play simply divide into two teams equally. Then, draw a line in between the teams and attach the red flag in the middle of the rope. Finally, each side starts to pull and tug, and the first team to cross over to the other side gets eliminated. It’s simple and ridiculously fun.
I have always been an artist at heart so I especially love this one. Whether you are drawing a hopscotch board, playing Pictionary with chalk, or just drawing together having sidewalk chalk readily available is a great way to encourage outdoor family time.
Depending on where you live this one may take you out of your backyard but it is still a great way to spend some time with family outdoors. Divide into teams and set a timer. Have everyone seek out the items on the scavenger hunt and send pictures of their finds to a captain. Whoever finds the most items in the agreed-upon time wins. I created this scavenger hunt with visual prompts so even the youngest family members can take part.
While there are a lot of ways you can pull together a backyard obstacle course, kits like this one from Ninjactive make it really easy. Obstacle courses are a great way to play together outside and offer exercise that almost none of us get enough of.
Catching Fireflies – Bug Catcher Set:
When we were kids we would always run around catching fireflies, each of us trying to fill our jar with the most. We were all very gentle with these beautiful little creatures as we suspected they contained magic. After we had our fun we would release them back into the summer night all at once. You can imagine with six of us girls all releasing our catches at once, it was a lovely sight. We also loved to find caterpillars so we could create habitats for them to watch them form their chrysalis and emerge as new butterflies. This bug-catching set from Nature Bound is a great choice for your young naturalists looking to collect and learn about the insects of the world.
Grab that sidewalk chalk and draw your family a Hopscotch board. You want ten squares and these are easiest to make if you tape it out. One square – two squares- one square – two squares- one square – two squares- one square. Starting at the bottom label each box with the numbers one through ten. To play: Each player tosses a small object inside one of the squares on the hopscotch grid ( we always used a flat stone). Next, they hop from square to square, hopping over the square with their rock in it. Each player’s goal is to hop all the way down to the end and back without the other foot touching the ground. When successful you can initial that square. To finish the game you should have completed every square.
We once had a birthday party for T that was a giant Boys vs Girls water war. We had two kiddie pools full of water balloons and over thirty squirt guns and super soakers. It was so much fun and not a single person walked away dry. We had everyone bring a change of clothes and towels to the party. Simply set boundaries. Make filling stations a safe place but have someone time players so they don’t camp in safe zones. Set a timer and go play. To determine a winner we all lined up and decided which team was the least soaked. The captain of the losing team had a bucket of ice water dumped over their head by the birthday boy. But you don’t have to go all out to make this water war a really fun way to get everyone outside playing together. Even a small group can have a ball with this idea.
I don’t care who you are when someone hauls out a kickball you kick it. You can play kickball using the same basic rules as baseball, only kicking instead of hitting the ball. Or you can set up a game of dodgeball where the goal is not to let the ball hit you. If it does, you’re out. Last man standing wins.
These are just twenty fun backyard game ideas to get you and your family outside this summer but there are many more. Do you have a favorite that wasn’t included in this list? If so, please share in the comments section below. We love to hear from you and you just might inspire another family to fall in love with your favorite backyard game.
Remember what they say, a family that plays together stays together.
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