The warm weather means it is time for you to bust out the grill and start hosting barbecues. It also means means you have to start thinking up some fun ideas for keeping your guests entertained.
So, here are five DIY outdoor games to liven up your party. All of these fun lawn games are suitable for both kids and adults, so they are sure to keep everyone entertained. The best part? They are customizable! This means, you can change the rules up to better suit your guests. As a kid's game, you could offer a prize to the winners. Or, you could turn them into drinking games for adults.
Give one of them a whirl at your next summer barbecue bash!
1. Giant Jenga
- Three 16-foot 2x4s or eight 8-foot 2x4s
- Skill saw (if you don't get it cut when you buy it)
- Wood stain (optional)
The cheapest option will likely be to get three 16-foot 2x4s, but it will depend on pricing and availability. The easiest way to make Jenga blocks is to have them cut the wood at your local hardware store when you purchase it, which is especially helpful if you do not have a vehicle that can transport a 16-foot long piece of lumber in. Some stores do not charge to have the wood cut, but others may charge per cut.
You want to end up with at least 54 10.5-inch pieces of 2x4 lumber. The 16-foot planks will yield 18 pieces each, giving you exactly 54. You can also get eight 8-foot 2x4s, which should leave you with two extra pieces (56 total).
If you are going to cut the wood yourself, a skill saw is your best option.
In order to avoid splinters, the wood needs to be sanded. This will also help with the staining or painting process. It is not necessary, but will help to preserve the pieces.
Stack the pieces in rows of three, alternating direction for each layer, on a steady and level surface. Then, take turns pulling out the pieces until someone sends it tumbling down.
Time: 20 minutes || Cost: $20
- Paper plate to use as a stencil
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Four colors of inverted marking paint (regular spray paint will also work)
- Twister spinner application (available for Apple and Android devices)
First, you want to make your stencil. Paper plates easily make stencils since they already have a circle you can cut out. Cut out a circle in the middle of the paper plate, leaving a stencil with about a 1-inch border around.
Using your stencil, spray paint four rows with six circles in each onto the lawn. Each row should be a different color, and the circles about a foot apart from each other (on all sides).
Ensure you read the directions on the spray paint, as drying times can vary by brand as well as other environmental factors like temperature.
If you have not yet, you can download a Twister spinner application (available for both Android and Apple devices). You can find it by entering "Twister spinner" in the search bar; there are multiple free and paid spinners to choose from.
Time: 5 minutes (longer to dry) || Cost: $20
3. Giant Kerplunk
- Three tomato cages
- Plastic wrap
- 15 or more 4-foot bamboo gardening stakes
- 50 or more ball-pit plastic balls
Stack the three tomato cages together and put the legs of the bottom cage into the ground. Rotate the top two cages so that the gaps become smaller. The gaps will still be too big to keep the balls in. This is easily remedied by wrapping the outside of the cage in plastic wrap. You don't have to wrap the entire cage—about two-thirds of the way down going from the top should be enough.
Once you have that all squared away, you can begin weaving the bamboo stakes. Ideally you want to place them through the plastic wrap to better keep the balls in the cage. Weaving the stakes makes it more challenging when playing, especially with the knuckles on the bamboo jostling the other stakes and the balls. You can put the balls in once there are no holes that the balls can fall through.
Now, you are ready to play this great DIY outdoor game at your next party! Just take turns pulling out the stakes until all of the balls have fallen. Whoever has the fewest balls at the end is the winner.
Time: 10 minutes || Cost: $30
4. Lawn Darts
- Eight plastic grocery bags
- A bag of rice or beans
- Measuring cup
- Duct tape
- Inverted marking paint or two hula-hoops (for the targets)
To make the darts, open the plastic grocery bag and pour one cup of rice (or beans) into it. Then, twist it closed and wrap it with duct tape to secure it. It should have a bulb-like shape. Next, trim the top about an inch below the handles. Finally, cut into the excess on the top to make it look like streamers. You will need at eight of these.
You can make the target with a hula-hoop or by spray painting the grass. If you chose spray paint, the easiest way to make the target is by spraying a circle on the lawn around yourself. The two targets should be placed at least 12 feet from each other. You can adjust this if the little ones are playing to make it easier for them.
This game works similarly to cornhole—or bags depending on what people in your region call it. Players will split into teams, taking turns throwing the darts to the target opposite them. If the dart lands in the circle, they get two points, only one point if it is just touching the outside of the circle.
Alternatively, you could paint multiple circles assigning each one a point value. This is one of the cheapest and easiest DIY outdoor games you can have at your next party.
Time: 10 minutes || Cost: $3
5. Bozo Buckets
- Three tomato cages
- Three plastic buckets
Stack three tomato cages together and place the legs of the bottom one into the ground. This works best if you move the back leg inward so that it leans at a slight angle. You want to have enough room between the stacked cages to place the buckets.
Place each bucket between each stacked cage. Empty plastic planters work well if you have some handy.
You can use the ball-pit balls from Kerplunk or the darts from lawn darts to toss into the buckets. The distance the player stands from the buckets can be adjusted based on age. Just assign each bucket a point, and the player with the most points at the end wins. The bottom bucket is usually the hardest, so it should be worth the most points (at least for grown ups).
Time: 5 minutes || Cost: $6