8 DIY yard games that are creative and fun to play on a hot summer day. A few even involve water to get everyone cooled down. Have a pool? Try our pool party games ideas instead!
During the summer we definitely spend more time outside than we do inside. And while the great outdoors certainly provide their own beauty and entertainment, it’s fun to bring some friendly competition into the mix to keep things fresh. These 8 DIY Yard Games that you can make in under an hour will get everyone up off their feet and into the action this month!
1. Giant Yahtzee
This is one of my favorite outdoor games for kids. As a kid and now I get to play it all the time with my kids! And the DIY yard game version is so much more fun because it’s got giant dice! You’ll need about 4 feet of 4×4 for your dice. You can use regular lumber or nice stained wood for this. Using a saw, cut 3.5″ pieces to make square dice (although Yahtzee is played with 5 dice you’ll have enough wood to make 6).
*Make sure to give them a good sand to avoid splinters!
Paint on the dots using a circle stencil and spray paint of your color choice (obviously mine is pink!). The only other thing you’ll need–besides scorecards which can definitely be regular sized–is a 5-gallon bucket to throw in the dice, shake, and roll! You can one at a local hardware store.
2. Ladder Golf
Ladder golf is a fun one of our two-player DIY yard games that involves throwing a rope with a ball at each end at a 3-tiered “ladder” and trying to get the rope wrapped around a wrung (3 points for the top, 2 for the middle, and 1 for the bottom). The ladders are affordable to buy, but way more fun to make at home.
To make the “ladder,” cut about 18 feet of 3/4″ PVC pipe into five 2-foot pieces and eight 1-foot pieces.
The 2-foot pieces will serve as your wrungs/tiers + the two feet of the ladder and the 1-foot pieces will serve as the sides. Connect them using two 3/4′ 90 degree PVC elbows and six 3/4″ PVC tees.
To make the ball ropes, drill a 3/8″ hole into a dozen golf balls. Cut 10′ nylon rope into 20″ pieces, and after (carefully) burning each end of the rope just a bit to prevent fraying, string a golf ball into each end, tying a knot to secure them in place.
P.S. You can totally paint your ladder and your balls for a fun look! I’d actually recommend painting 3 sets of rope/balls a different color than the other 3 so you can tell which belongs to each player.
3. Pipe Ball
We’re bringing the arcade to the backyard with this lawn-friendly pipe ball DIY yard games! Similar to the indoor version, skee ball, the outdoor version skips the big rings and opts for just the pipes cut into different heights. You’ll need to create a triangular rack of pipes, cut at 30 degree angles, with different heights for each row.
I’d suggest using drain pipes, with the following measurements (taken from the tallest tip of the angle): four 12″, three 10″, two 8″, and one 6″. One cut into these lengths, drill a hole on either side of the pipes so they can be secured into place by using zip ties. Spray paint each row a different color (before zip tying together) and then place a number/point value on the inside top area of each pipe, with each pipe in a designated row having the same value.
Once dried, test them out by tossing a tennis ball, aiming for the front tip, which is worth the most points!
4. Lawn Twister – My Favorite DIY Yard Games
It’s so simple to recreate this DIY giant twister board game outside on the lawn! Using spray paint, make a row of 6 green, 6 yellow, 6 blue, and 6 red circles right on the grass. Grab a crowd that’s willing to get all tangled up + someone to bark orders and you’ve got yourself a game of Twister!
5. Tether Ball
This is another nostalgic game, something from my childhood, but that you don’t see very often these days. It does require some cement mixing and pouring as well as drilling into a steel pole, so if you’re not an experienced “fixer-upper/construction junkie,” you may want to enlist the help of someone who is ;)
Here’s the short of it: You start with an old tire, pour in the cement, and then place the steel pole in the middle. On the top of the pole, you’ll attach the tetherball. The process is actually very quick and easy.
If you’ve never played this DIY yard game before, it’s pretty simple. Two people stand on opposite sides of the pole. The first person will hit the ball in one direction. When it comes around to the second person, they will hit it in the other direction.
The goal is to get the rope wrapped all the way around the pole so that the ball can go no further, with the winning person claiming their victory by shouting “tether!” If you’re serious about making this lawn game, here’s a detailed tutorial I found that should help you in the process.
6. Pool Noodle Ring Toss
Pool noodles are totally functional. Besides acting as flotation devices, faux light sabers/swords (you boy moms out there know what I’m talking about), or votive candle holders – they also come in handy for this DIY ring toss game.
Cut one noodle in half. Stick two pencils into the lawn, about a foot apart, and place a cut noodle over each. Duct tape a second noodle into a circle. Ta-da!
7. Corn Hole
DIY corn hole is a classic and these days it seems a lot of people have their own custom sets, either with monograms, college colors, or sports teams’ mascots to show their pride!
To make a set, you’ll need two 24″x48″ pieces of plywood for the board surfaces, four 2x4s cut at 48″ + four 2x4s cut at 21″ for the frames, and four 2x4s cut at 11.5″ for the legs. You’ll attach the surfaces to the frames using 1 5/8″ screws. You’ll attach the legs to the frame using four 4″ carriage bolts, four washers, and four wing nuts.Then, you’ll want to cut a hole about 6″ in diameter about 1/4 way down the surface and in the middle.
And the best part of all our DIY yard games is that you can customize your boards by simply staining the wood, painting it, or adding a unique design. Don’t forget to pick up (or make) a few bean bags–filled with corn, of course–too!
Have you ever played this game before? It’s a spin-off of disc golf and involves throwing a frisbee at a can with different points being awarded for different throws. It’s really fun and simple for anyone to learn!
To make it, you’ll need a couple of barrels, with openings slightly larger than a basketball hoop. You’ll need to cut a slot in each of the barrels, about 1/3 of the way down, big enough for the frisbee to fit into.
Set the sliced barrels about 50 feet apart, with 1-2 players on each side. Then take turns trying to throw the frisbee into the slot, into the top hole, or at the side of the barrel, with the most points being awarded respectively. It really isn’t as easy at it looks but will provide for hours of fun!
Plus a bonus game! We created a DIY giant jigsaw puzzle last year.
I can’t wait to get into the backyard and DIY some of these yard games for kids or adults! The best part is, each of the DIY yard game ideas are reusable, so I can store them in our garage to use summer after summer.
Which of these DIY Yard Games are you going to try? Do you have another favorite that wasn’t shared here? I’d love to learn about a fun new game too!
(Photography ©Raymond Forbes/Stocsky United).