Whether you are looking for backyard games for summer parties, or just fun family activities to do outside, these outdoor games are great for summer entertainment!
If you are planning a summer birthday party or hosting a BBQ for your neighbors for the 4th of July, one of the most enjoyable things to include is a few fun outdoor games that everyone can get in on!
These backyard summer games are perfect for kids’ birthday parties or an impromptu summer picnic. Just choose your favorites—we’ve included ideas for how you can create your own DIY backyard games as well as links to buy if you prefer that route!
When you finish this list be sure to head over to our Ultimate List of Birthday Party Games for Kids for more fun ideas!
Water Balloon Tossing Game
Water balloon wars are a lot of fun, but they can get a bit chaotic, especially if you’re the one everyone’s targeting. So, if you’re looking for something a little less crazy, try doing a water balloon tossing game instead. It’s so easy!
To play, just split the family into two teams:
- Form two straight lines and have the teams face one another.
- Then get everyone to take a step back from their teammate and toss the balloon to them.
- The other players will have to catch the balloon without popping it.
- Everyone who catches the balloon has to take a step back.
And the farther you go, the harder it’s going to be to catch the balloon. This means it’s only a matter of time before that balloon falls or breaks and leaves one of you soaking wet. But that’s what makes this game so much fun, doesn’t it?
Do a Treasure Hunt for the Whole Family
Split up the guests into groups, (it could be adult versus kids, or teens versus kids).
You can create a premade treasure hunt, or have the guests create their own!
To do, get the kids to hide a few objects in the backyard first and have them write down some clues that will help you figure out where they are.
If they can’t write yet, have one of their older brothers or sisters write the clues for them. Drawing works too!
Once they hid all the treasures on their list, have them stay in an isolated room for a bit so you can now hide treasures for them. Now, your team will need to hide some new objects in the yard and write some clues the way the kids did. Get everyone to go outside and start looking.
You can hide a few things indoors and outdoors too to make it even more challenging. This will keep everyone entertained and maybe a bit frustrated looking for treasure at the same time.
Play Giant Tic-Tac-Toe
Pretty much everyone knows how to play tic-tac-toe, and for those of you who don’t, well, it’s time to learn am I right? It’s such a fun game! And now you can recapture that fun with your kids.
Just grab a nylon rope about 18’ long and cut the rope into 4 equal sizes. Tie a knot on each end and stick a metal stake through the knot and into the ground to create a tic tac toe board.
Then grab some cardboard paper, the bigger the better, and cut some oversized X’s and O’s. Any sturdy material you’ve got lying around the house works too. Then have each player toss their letter into a square until someone forms a straight or diagonal line of either X’s or O’s.
And if you simply don’t have the time to DIY this one, make your life easier by ordering it online! Ther are easy to find on Etsy and there are a few models on Amazon too!
Frisbees also work great for a fun twist on the game. Just give each team 4 of the same color frisbee, and have them run and place where they choose. Once the line is out of frisbees, they have to move one of the ones in the gameboard until there is a winner.
If you don’t have any rope, you can use chalk to draw the tic-tac-toe board on a flat surface in the backyard.
Then use anything you can find to act as X’s and O’s. It doesn’t matter if they’re not the right shape.
A classic game that is perfect for a picnic party or adult summer birthday party, cornhole is loved by kids and adults alike.
To play, take turns throwing beanbags at a board with a hole in the far end. If the bag goes into the hole, the player will score 3 points. But if the bag only lands on the board, you get 1 point.
The goal of the game is to continue playing until a player reaches or exceeds the score of 21.
If you don’t have the equipment, you can use hula hoops or paper plates instead of a board, or line up laundry baskets or buckets as the target.
And of course, you can make your own bean bag by adding some corn kernels inside a zip-lock bag and using duct tape to seal the bag.
Pool Noodle Obstacle Course
Create an obstacle course in the backyard using pool noodles. It’s so quick and easy, you’ll definitely want to spend a few minutes designing it yourself!
Make sure the pool noodles are long enough so you can bend them into tunnels that are large enough for a grown up to fit through—use small stakes or even pencils poked into the ground as the anchor for the noodle.
You can also use them to create hurdles to jump over.
Get creative and lay some on the ground and have the kiddos use them as balance beams, hanging from trees as pretend jungle snakes, or have them throw them like a javelin.
If you want inspiration, check out these YouTube videos:
DIY Soda Bottle Bowling
Who needs a bowling alley? You have most of the materials you need to create your own 10-pin backyard bowling set right in your recycling bin.
Simply grab 10 plastic soda bottles, some pool noodles, and a beach ball. Or make the game match the them by using another object to pairs well, such as a pumpkin for a Cinderella birthday, or a coconut for a tropical themed bash!
Create a u-shape border using the pool noodles to make the bowling aisle behind the bottles. Then place the bottles on the far end in the form of a triangle and have each player take turns throwing the ball at the pin. The loser has to set the pins (aka the bottles) up for the next player.
If you want to decorate the bowling pins, I suggest watching this incredibly fun tutorial:
Inflatable Bowling is a fun twist on backyard bowling, and is always fun to watch.
These oversized inflatable bowling pins and ball are soft to the touch and hard to miss, but will keep kids entertained and active for hours.
Play Backyard Jenga With Life-Size Blocks
A simple DIY with some basic boards and cuts, or a popular game to buy, ultimate life size Jenga game is a great way to entertain at a backyard summer party.
There’s one that stacks to five feet tall and you can choose different colors, such as natural, brown stain, gray stain, or even stars and stripes. And it’s just like the regular game.
You build a tower, then everyone in the game takes a turn moving the pieces in the hope that they won’t be the ones who makes the tower of wooden blocks fall.
It gets addicting so expect to play more than once!
Connect With the Fam With Connect 4
Connect4 is a total classic and you can buy this game on Amazon or at your nearest Target store.
We love this giant wooden Connect4 set:
The rules of the game are quite simple. When it’s your turn, drop one of the checkers into one of the slots at the top of the plastic grid and then let the other plays have a turn.
Try to get 4 of your color checks in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row before the rest of the rest family.
Set this up in your backyard and use it for BBQs and get-togethers all summer long!
Build a Cardboard Maze Together
Gather about 15 giant cardboard boxes, (or more!) The more boxes, the better. You can even buy some on Amazon, which is so much better than asking your neighbors if they have any to spare.
Now make holes in the boxes so that the kids can crawl through, and tie the boxes up so that they remain connected.
Then set them up out in the backyard in the form of a maze and have fun feeling like a mouse trapped in a maze. You can design a maze that’s super simple and toddler-friendly or go all out and include challenges and different levels.
Mix and match these backyard games for summer parties all season long—the great thing is, once you build or buy the sets, you can use them for fun family games throughout the year and always have something fun on hand for company!
More Party Ideas:
- Easy First Birthday Party Food Ideas
- 15 COOL Homemade Pinata Ideas (DIY Pinatas Perfect for ANY Party)
- How to Plan the Perfect Party: Step-by-Step Party Planning Checklist
- 17 Creative & Unique Birthday Party Desserts for Kids