11 Fun Outdoor Games for the Family


Summer is here, and there is nothing better than spending time outside with the whole family. School books are shelved, grills are warming up and the sun is setting later, making for long and lovely summer days. What better way to pass the time than with good, old-fashioned traditional games? Better yet, take the classic amusement of challenges like tic-tac-toe, dominoes and bowling, and make them even more exciting with bright colors, big shapes and portable pieces! Whether you plan to host a barbecue, head out on a camping trip or simply want to spent time in your backyard, these games are a great way to enjoy a little fresh air fun with your loved ones.

(Image: eHow)

1. Create Some Friendly Competition With Homemade Mini-Golf

Sure, you can always head to the green to practice putting, but why not make golf fun for the whole family with this homemade mini-golf course? Get everyone involved in designing and building the course, and for an extra challenge, practice your bunker work by setting it up at the beach.

(Image: Jonathan Fong)

2. Bring Chess in the Park to Your Backyard

Nothing beats spending a lazy afternoon in the park playing a game of chess with a perfect stranger. Bring the feeling of peace, quiet and intellectualism (without all of the strangers) to your backyard with this checkerboard table project. Move over Bobby Fischer!

(Image: Carrie Waller)

3. Ban Boredom With a Giant Bubble Wand

Blowing bubbles in the sunshine is an instant recipe for happiness and fun, but the giant bubbles this wand will make will blow all of those other itty-bitty bubbles away. Hold a family competition for who can make a bubble twice their size. Who cares who wins when everyone has a blast.

(Image: Debbie Williams)

4. Explore the Science of Soap Bubbles

If you've made your giant bubble wand, this soap bubble solution will hold up nicely for those extra-large bubbles. Turn bubble blowing into a simple experiment and see what sorts of backyard objects (or people) the bubbles will land on without bursting. This is one outdoor activity that will leave everyone just a little bit cleaner.

(Image: Debbie Williams)

5. Make Some Noise With a Giant Jenga

The best part of a rousing game of Jenga is the sound it makes when the pieces fall. Create an even bigger bang with this giant Jenga project, which is perfect for a summer barbecue. The pieces can be played in groups, and when they fall, everyone will hear.

(Image: Tim & Mary Vidra)

6. Connect the Dots With Dominoes

Everyone has their own preferred rules for dominoes, but with this extra-large set of "bones" it won't matter which version of the game you play. Lay them out on the lawn and challenge your friends to "trains" or "chicken foot." If you can't remember how to play, make up your own way to score!

(Image: Lucy Atkins)

7. Take Tic-Tac-Toe Off the Grid

While we're on the subject of making everything bigger, this giant tic-tac-toe board will add an air of gamesmanship to any gathering. Simple to make, super lightweight and easy to carry, it's all you need for some fireside entertainment during your summer camping trips with kids.

(Image: Kelly Smith)

8. Get Your Body Moving With Hopscotch

Bring some nostalgia to your family reunion with this canvas hopscotch court. Show the kids how it was done back in the day — on two feet, on one, or on two hands (for the very talented). You can also make the course harder by dropping items, like a rock or bean bag, onto a square to skip over. Then, when the sun sets, simply roll it up and put it away for another day.

(Image: Kelly Smith)

9. Paint the Town, Or Just Your Driveway, With Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Perfect for giant doodles, or a creative game of sidewalk Pictionary, this chalk paint makes for vibrant street art and washes away in a snap. Paint a cityscape or a bottomless pit for an imaginary obstacle course: imagination is the limit, and your kids will be busy all day.

(Image: Kelly Smith)

10. Knock Over Some Pins With Mini Bowling

The satisfaction of knocking over as many pins as you can is especially rewarding when it can happen in your own backyard. Bring the fun of the bowling alley to your home this summer with this mini version, and invite all of your kids' friends to play, too. Everyone should take turns resetting the pins for each round!

(Image: Kelly Smith)

11. Score Big With a Football Toss Game

Get everyone cheering at your big summer bash with this football toss game. Consisting of only a few pieces, this game is also perfect to bring along to the beach, the park, or even as entertainment at grandma's house. If you don't have a football handy, it also works great with bean bags. Now that you have several family fun games to choose from, every player can feel like a winner.

(Image: Sonya Nimri)

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