Fun, Cheap And Easy-To-Setup Outdoor Games For The Whole Family

Who's looking for some simple, fun ways to spend time as a family?

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A holiday weekend is upon us, which means tons of time spent outdoors and with family. If you’re anything like me, however, you’re busy and didn’t quite get around to planning all of the fun yard games and activities you’d hoped to before the weekend arrived.

Have no fear—here is a list of fun outdoor games and activities for all ages that can be put together in a jiffy without much effort or expense. I’ve divided the list into three categories based on the amount of effort required: low, medium and high. This way, you can choose which ones you want to try based on how much time and energy you’ve got.

Low-Effort DIY Yard Games

1. Squirt Gun Races

Whose cup will get to the end of the string the fastest?

What you’ll need: plastic cups, string, duct tape, scissors and squirt guns.

Get the instructions on Design Dazzle.

2. Lawn Twister

Get your right hand on green out under the sun.

What you’ll need: posterboard, scissors, 4 cans of spray paint, Twister spinner is optional.

Get the instructions on SheKnows. (Note: If you are averse to spray-painting your grass, you could always hold a regular Twister sheet in place on the lawn with camping tent stakes).

You Plus Me

3. SpongeBall

This is dodgeball with water-soaked sponges instead of balls or water balloons.

What you’ll need: sponges, string, scissors (and a ruler and a marker, if you care about cutting the sponges in straight lines).

Get the sponge-making instructions on TheChicSite and dodgeball instructions, if you need them, here.

The Chic Site

4. Ice Block Treasure Hunt

Freeze small objects (plastic toys, rubber balls or even coins) in bowls or bins of water, and then race to see who can melt or crack the ice to release the goods the fastest.

What you’ll need: freezer-safe containers, little objects to freeze, water and supplies for warming or cracking the ice (spray bottles, warm water, plastic or wooden hammers, etc.)

Get the instructions on Macaroni Kid.

Macaroni Kid

5. Water Blob

This is like creating a giant waterbed in your backyard, and the best part is that in this case jumping is encouraged!

What you’ll need: a roll of plastic sheeting, duct tape, water, food coloring (optional).

Get the instructions on Clumsy Crafter.

Clumsy Crafter

Medium-Effort DIY Yard Games

6. Bean Bag Toss

A cute, colorful game to make and play with your kids.

What you’ll need: Printer and paper, bean bag toss printable (get it here), 5-6 8-inch clay pot saucers, white spray paint, scissors, spray adhesive/Mod Podge Outdoor, paintbrush, beanbags in various colors (you can buy or make them).

Get the instructions on Mod Podge Rocks.

Mod Podge Rocks

7. Obstacle Course

Set up an obstacle course and see who can get through it the fastest.

What you’ll need: balloons, pool noodles, a ladder, a 2×4, hula hoops, newspapers.

Get the instructions on Martha Stewart and check out SimpleKids for additional ideas.

Martha Stewart

High-Effort DIY Yard Games

8. Giant Jenga

If you have never tried giant Jenga, you don’t know what you are missing.

What you’ll need: 54 Feet of 2×4s, Measuring Tape and Pencil, Chop Saw (or hand saw), Sanding Block and 100 or 120 Grit Sand Paper, stain of your choosing and Minwax finishing paste (optional).

Get the instructions on Lemon Thistle.

Lemon Thistle

9. Connect Four

Another classic indoor game brought outside and blown up for an extra dose of fun.

What you’ll need: Cordless Drill, Miter Saw, Nail Gun, Kreg Jig, Framing Square, Hole Saw, Brad Point Drill Bit and a host of other materials.

Find the full list of materials and instructions on Home Depot’s blog.

Home Depot

Want to add a little healthy competition? Divide the family into teams. The winning team gets a few scratch-off lottery tickets.