The Best Outdoor Games, Starting at $0
I’m sure I’m not the only person who is thankful to have a backyard this summer; it makes living in quarantine a little more bearable. The most fun part of spending time in the backyard has been all of the awesome games my family and I have been able to play—and some of them didn’t cost us anything!
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Whether you’re channeling your inner athlete or just in it for the nostalgia, here are over 20 games sorted by ones you can buy and others to DIY. They will make backyard time with friends and family fun and relaxing all summer long.
Games to buy
When I think of backyard games, cornhole is usually the first that comes to mind. The game can often be found at outdoor weddings, in breweries, and at so many more lawn game-friendly places. For your own game collection, this vintage-inspired set works just as well at the beach or in the park as it does in your very own backyard.
Buy: Wood Cornhole Board;
$199.99 $139 from Wayfair
Right hand, yellow! Twister is the ultimate nostalgic game that takes you back to sleepaway camp or game nights as a kid. Not much has changed—all you need is the mat and spinner and game night is ready to go!
Buy: Classic Twister, $23.77 from QVC
Mini golf courses may be starting to reopen, but this glow-in-the-dark set will keep you and the family occupied night after night. Choose your favorite color and get putting!
Buy: 5 Hole Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf Set,
$175.76 $149.66 from QVC
Challenge your friends to a game of badminton in the yard. This kit comes with four rackets, three birdies, a net, and four poles, plus a black case to keep it all in one place.
Buy: Carlton Tournament 4 Player Badminton Set, $42.72 on Etsy
Pick up sticks
If this doesn’t feed your sense of nostalgia I don’t know what will! Pick up sticks is a game of skill and could keep you occupied for hours. Pick up (wink wink) this set from Wayfair which is super colorful and less than $15.
Buy: Oversize Pick Up Bamboo Sticks Game,
$19.99 $12.99 from Wayfair
You may not be able to play darts in a bar for some time but this backyard version should do the trick. Kids and adults will both have fun sailing these rubber-ended darts across the yard to see who wins.
Buy: Black Series Game Glow In the Dark Lawn Darts,
$29.99 $19.99 from Kohl’s
Bocce can trace its roots all the way back to the Roman Empire, so you know it’s good if it’s stuck around this long. This beachy-colored set from Viva Sol is totally Instagram-worthy and even comes with a bottle opener built into the carrying case.
Buy: Resin Bocce Ball, $76.99 from The Home Depot
Kan Jam is the ultimate heart-pumping backyard game. Grab your friends and let the competition begin.
Buy: Kan Jam Original Disc Game, $39.99 from Eastern Mountain Sports
Horseshoes is a timeless game that you could play for hours. This set comes with 4 shoes, 2 stakes, a rulebook, and a carrying case that makes bringing this game to a friend’s or to the park incredibly easy.
Buy: Heavy Duty Horseshoe Set,
$99.95 $67.99 from Wayfair
Spikeball is the perfect beach day game to break up your time laying in the sun or swimming in the waves. This game gets super competitive so don’t be afraid to take a dive in the sand to make a save.
Buy: Spikeball 3-Ball Set, $60 from REI
Croquet is a classic lawn game but this modern color scheme gives it a fresh update. Grab five of your friends and your mallets for a quick round!
Buy: Standard Croquet Set,
$50.99 $43.99 from Wayfair
Grab your teammate and a pair of opponents and try to defend your bottle from falling to the ground. This game combines horseshoes and disc golf and the first team to 21 wins!
Buy: Triumph Sports Bottle Battle, $53.45 from The Home Depot
This set might not be quite as intense as the life sized one in Harry Potter but things can still get competitive. This easy-to-clean board can be used outside on the lawn or inside on a rainy day so rain or shine you can set it up and have some fun.
Buy: Garden Chess Set, $90.37 from Etsy
Games to DIY
DIY Montreal has an easy tutorial to create lawn dice that are perfect for playing Yahtzee, Ship, Captain and Crew, or Farkle in the yard or park.
Ladder ball, ladder golf, monkey ball—whatever you call it, this old school game is sure to bring out the competitor in you. This DIY version from Lemon Thistle even comes with a chalkboard scoreboard.
Tic tac toe
Tic tac toe is a game most people have been playing since they could write, so this 15-minute DIY version will definitely bring back some memories. All you need are a few rocks (even better if you find them yourself on the beach) a burlap bag, and some paint.
If you’re looking for a weekend project, Jennifer Largese of Build Basic worked with Home Depot to create this oversized version that will take your backyard barbecues to the next level.
I NEED this tropical themed ring toss game for summer. This adorable DIY from Sugar & Cloth turns lawn flamingos into the cutest game that both kids and adults will love.
Jenga is a classic outdoor game and this colorful version from A Beautiful Mess is giving it a whole new look. All it takes to make this game your own is some 2x4s and a few different paint colors. Go for each person’s favorite color or even your college alma mater’s – it’s so easy to make this personalized.
This ombré domino set from Iron & Twine is totally perfect for any Instagram aesthetic plus you can play a number of different games from Trains to Block.
If you’re looking to take your outdoor competition into the night, this glow-in-the-dark bowling game is the perfect addition. Crafts by Amanda created this idea that only takes a few water bottles, some glow sticks, and a soccer or basketball. It’s so easy and you can have fun all night long.