8 Backyard Game Night Activities for All Ages
With the weather warming up, we’ve been taking our family game nights outdoors. It’s refreshing to get out in the evening air while stealing some time away from the screens that demand so much of our attention during the daytime. In fact, there’s no better cure for a long, stressful day than getting outside at the end of it. It’s on these nights that we head into the garage or basement and dust the cobwebs off the yard games that have been hibernating for too long. Here are some of our old favorites, and we’ve found they’re still as diverting now that we’re grown up as they were when we were kids, especially when we add in our own twists!
We don’t know about you, but when we were kids, recently trendy cornhole was just called plain old “bean bags.” But no matter what you want to call it, there’s no denying this simple game can provide endless hours of entertainment. (Don’t forget snacks to munch on while the other team takes its turn.) To keep it fresh, try adding in rules like players must take one step back after every throw, or compete to see who can make the most creative trick-shot.
Don’t have cornhole? Use Pipcorn Snack Crackers boxes to make a DIY tabletop version! Cut a hole in the top center. Then fold the back flap down to be the “kickstand,” and tape an extra piece of cardboard or two to the back flap to give it support. Use cheese balls in place of bean bags. We call it Pipcornhole!
Oversized indoor games
There’s something very charming about gigantic versions of games that typically fit on a tabletop. We love human-sized Jenga for the heightened drama it brings, and humongous dice will make your Yahtzee game double as a workout. It’s also easy to make DIY driveway checkers with some chalk for the grid and colored frisbees or plates for the markers.
It’s time to resurrect Gramps’s favorite picnic game. Horseshoes involves trying to toss (you guessed it) horseshoes onto a stake hammered into the ground from a distance of 40 feet. It’s like cornhole, but more dangerous (so don’t let anyone stand on the side where the horseshoes are being thrown!). Save this one for adults and teenagers. To keep things interesting, start a family horseshoes tournament, with the victorious team winning a special dinner or treat at the end of the summer! Winners of weekly rounds get to decide which bag of Pipcorn to open for an after-dinner snack!
Frisbee is a timeless backyard activity that just about anyone can play—young adults, older adults, kids, dogs. It’s truly a game for the whole family. If passing the frisbee back and forth feels repetitive, set up your own disc golf course in your backyard. Select targets and award points based on how close your frisbee lands.
Yep, we’re talking old-fashioned catch with a baseball and gloves. Or a football. Or a cheese ball. Whatever strikes your fancy. Maybe it sounds simplistic in 2020, but we found it endlessly entertaining as kids, and we have a hunch your modern-day family will too. You might even decide to add some bases into the mix—empty Pipcorn boxes or bags work great if you’re DIY-ing!
Remember four square from middle-school recess? Well, guess what? It’s still fun! It’s also a great way to get your heart pumping after a day of sitting at a desk. For those that missed out on this rite of childhood, four square is sort of like dodgeball, but you can play it with fewer people in a smaller area, like your driveway. It involves a grid of four numbered squares, bouncing a rubber ball and trying to “knock out” your opponents to advance to the highest square.
Power walking across the lawn while balancing an egg on a spoon is so 20th century. Try this instead: Carry a corn dipper on a spoon (add some obstacles to the path for an added challenge) to a table with a bowl of dip. Then fill the dipper with dip using only the spoon and no fingers. Then deliver the dipper to your mouth, again using only the spoon. First one to successfully dip and eat their dipper wins!
Slip ‘n’ slide
For summer days when it’s just as hot at 7 p.m. as it is at noon, water games are the only way to go. Google “homemade slip ‘n’ slide” and you’ll get all kinds of state-of-the-art designs that require pool noodles, special soaker hoses and two-by-fours. If that’s your thing, have at it. We like to take the simpler route: Tarp + garden hose + eco-friendly dish soap!