In the months leading up to summertime, my kids start getting crazy antsy. It’s like they’re turning into little balls of energy I can scarcely control. They start tearing around the house. I find myself wishing as much as they would that the weather would warm up enough already to go outside!
But then summer comes, and my kids get bored a lot more quickly than you’d think! They chase each other around playing tag and other favorite games, and for the first few weeks, it’s an absolute blast. Then they run out of ideas. They get tired of playing the same games. That means I am still dealing with kids with a lot of excess energy! This can get to be especially trying during a barbecue or neighborhood party.
So this year I decided I was going to take matters into my own hands! I’ve been scouring the web for the coolest DIY backyard games for summer. Some of these take some setup, but they are all pretty easy. My kids are more excited for summer this year than ever, and so am I, because this year I’ll be keeping them entertained! For more entertaining backyard projects check out our 70 Summery Backyard DIY Projects That Are Borderline Genius and our 20 Genius Summer Lifehacks That Will Blow Your Mind posts.
Project Source and Instructions: chickenscratchny
Create a Chessboard Patio
If your kids enjoy playing chess, they will love the giant outdoors version of the game. This is quite an intensive project, but once you have it set up, it be a lot of fun to play with, and it will also just look awesome! You can bet you’ll get a lot of compliments from neighbors and guests!
Project Source and Instructions: diynetwork
DIY Giant Jenga Tower
If you liked the idea earlier with the plastic balls and straws, you can try building an actual giant Jenga tower with real wooden blocks. This would be a really fun game for both younger and older children! Be sure to check out the Sourcee link for instructions as well as a few other ideas for backyard games!
Project Source and Instructions: lemonthistle
Build a Backyard Movie Theater
There are backyard projectors and screens you can buy, but they tend to be expensive. You can save money by building your backyard theater yourself. The screen uses PVC pipe and is durable enough to withstand even strong winds. Looks like a fun and cozy way to spend an evening watching movies!
Project Source and Instructions: pvcplans
DIY Tire Swing
I still remember that during my childhood, an acquaintance with a tire swing was literally the envy of the entire neighborhood, and that her yard was the place to be. It’s surprising backyard tire swings aren’t actually more common, considering how easy they are to make. And you’re recycling, so this is an eco-friendly activity for your kids! I love how great these look embellished with the bright polka dots!
Project Source and Instructions: bobvila
Bean Bag Ladder Toss
If you own a ladder, you won’t need to buy any supplies at all for this project, which is awesome! Just tape points to each rung and challenge kids to throw bean bags through and see who can get the highest score. It doesn’t get easier than this! Make sure to check out the Sourcee link for a lot of other awesome backyard game ideas.
Project Source and Instructions: landeeseelandeedo
Here is another ridiculously simple idea which will provide for endless hours of fun. Put up a chalkboard in your backyard. Provide a few colors of chalk and your kids will have an awesome time writing and drawing.
Project Source and Instructions: parentmap
Bowling with Recycled Bottles
Backyard bowling is always a blast. Instead of going and purchasing bowling pins, though, why not create your own set using recycled bottles? I love how these are painted to look like the real thing!
Project Source and Instructions: moonfrye
Here is a very simple idea for making an outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe game. You just use a wooden board and mark some stones. It’d take no time at all to make this, and it will provide hours of entertainment!
Project Source and Instructions: tatertotsandjello
Getting this set up would take some doing. The project you see pictured here involved creating a wooden frame and pouring concrete, then adding a number of tiles. The concrete had to cure, so this project took over a month, but the result is totally awesome. Reproducing this would require that you have some experience with this kind of DIY project, but your kids will love you for it.
Project Source and Instructions: sunset
Pool Noodle Toss
As it turns out, pool noodles are useful outside the swimming pool too! It shouldn’t be any surprise—they are colorful, lightweight, and versatile. But I never would have thought of setting up a target station like this one. This is a great way for kids to practice their eye-hand coordination while having a blast!
Project Source and Instructions: parents (David Roth)
Ring Toss Game with Buckets
This game is pretty self-explanatory. Kids try to toss washer rings into the buckets. It’s easy to make and easy to play, and a great starting point if you’re still new to DIY backyard games.
Project Source and Instructions: lowes
Amazing Mud Pie Station
If your children enjoy making mud pies, then they should have a full kitchen to do it in! This mud pie station is pretty simple and straightforward, but it looks just awesome. Give your kids a full setup like this and they will spend hours out back having a blast.
Project Source and Instructions: mysmallpotatoes
Here is another simple and fun idea for a similar activity which tests eye-hand coordination. Kids who enjoy playing darts will love this outdoor version of the game. Instead of shooting at a target board, they take aim at a wall of balloons instead. Imagine the satisfying “Pop!” whenever they hit the board! You can even fill the balloons with papers with numbers on them which can be used for scoring purposes to make the game more competitive.
Project Source and Instructions: thisisdoable
This project is significantly more challenging than most on this list because it requires you to grab your tools and actually build a permanent lawn game. But for those among you who love hardware, that will only add to the fun of this project. Plus, if you have kids who enjoy DIY stuff, you can get them in on the crafting action! The finished game looks amazing, and you can enjoy it over the years to come!
Project Source and Instructions: blog.homedepot
Cheap and Easy DIY Tetherball
Do your kids love tetherball at school and beg you for their own backyard tetherball set? If you want to buy a set that’s pre-made, you can expect to shell out around $100. But you can make it yourself for around $45. This tutorial will run you through the supplies and the steps; it’s easy and the resulting set should be durable enough to enjoy for many summers!
Project Source and Instructions: simplykierste
What kid doesn’t love Yahtzee? It’s a simple game and it’s easy to teach and learn, so it’s perfect for parties. But it’d be a lot more fun outdoors, don’t you think? Learn how to create a set with wooden blocks for dice and a couple of pails!
Project Source and Instructions: nap-timecreations
DIY Carnival Party
If you have a child who loves going to the carnival every summer, you probably are inundated with “Can’t we go again??!” a lot. Fairs can be expensive, so you probably don’t go back as much as you’d like. But now you can set up a carnival for your kid right in your backyard complete with a whole bunch of easy and fun carnival games! Check the link to find out how!
Project Source and Instructions: aturtleslifeforme