Family Life Things to Do

Backyard Summer Games

As the school year ends and summer break approaches, your family’s days will have just a little more free time and hopefully a lot more sunshine. It’s the perfect time to get the whole family outside and spending some quality time together. If you’re looking for some new activity ideas, look no further! This list of backyard games features fun for the whole family as well as ideas that will keep your bodies and minds active.


Ice Block Treasure Hunt

This is the perfect activity if you’re looking for something that will take up a good amount of time. To get started, you’ll need:

  • Plastic container/bowl
  • Water
  • Small Toys
  • Tools: Warm water, spray bottles, paint brushes, salt, and a hammer

You’ll need to start the freezing process with layers. Fill your container with about an inch of water and at a couple of toys. Freeze this layer and repeat the process a few times until you have a block of ice filled with all of your toys. If you want to add some color, add a few ice cubes with food coloring to each of your layers. After you have removed your ice block from its container, your kids can use the tools listed above to excavate their toys from the ice.

Obstacle Course

This idea will get the whole family up and moving. Setting up an obstacle course can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like. If your family isn’t afraid of mud and rain, you could set this up during or after a rainy day for a fun addition to the experience. Check out this adorable blog post for a little bit of inspiration:



Frozen T-Shirt Race

This one is sure to cause some laughs! The night before, grab a bunch of t-shirts and soak them with that. Squeeze the water out and fold the shirts. Stack the shirts with wax paper in between each and put in the freezer overnight. When you’re ready to head outside, give each person one shirt. Let the race begin! The first person to unfold the frozen t-shirt is the winner!

Giant Jenga

This activity involves a bit of a DIY project, but you can get the family involved in this part as well! In order to make your giant Jenga game, you’ll need enough 2×4 boards to cut 48 10.5-inch pieces. Avoid wood that has a lot of knots or holes. Sand the edges of each piece until smooth. Once smooth, paint the edges with fun colors. One done, stack your pieces and you’re ready to play!

Recycled Water Wall

Save up some of your recyclables for this next fun activity for the kids. This is what you’ll need for this project:

  • Pegboard
  • Plastic dishes/bowls/bottles
  • Zip Ties
  • Water

Attach your plastic items to the pegboard with the zip ties and create an interesting pattern for the water to flow through. Once they are all attached, grab a hose or a pitcher of water and pour the water down from the top of the pegboard. Watch as thee water flows through the different paths. Your kids will have a blast moving around the plastic items to make new, interesting paths.

Paint Slide

This one may get a bit messy…but that’s the whole point! This isn’t your classic slip-n-slide experience. Instead of a tarp primed with water, it’s primed with paint! All you’ll need is a long tarp (or multiple tarps), bright paint colors, and white t-shirts for your family. You’ll have a blast sliding down this slip-n-slide and creating a one of a kind painted t-shirt for each family member.

DIY Dunk Bucket

This is a twist on the classic carnival tank dunk game that many people should be familiar with. Here is a very basic list of instructions on how to build this project:

  • Cut a target out of a piece of wood
  • Cut a base for a 5-gallon bucket out of wood
  • Attach bucket with hinges to a tree or fence. You can also attach the target to the tree or fence this way
  • Use washers or another piece of hardware to hold up bucket
  • Use piping as a delivery method for the water
  • Throw tennis balls at target while a person is sitting below and slightly in front of bucket

Nature Scavenger Hunt

This is the perfect activity for a family that just loves the outdoors and you really don’t need any supplies! Put together a list of items out in nature that your kids can gather. For example: rocks, dandelions, twigs, leaves, the list could go on and on!

Lawn Bowling

This activity is simple to set up and brings the bowling alley right to your backyard! Spend some time collecting empty 2-liter soda bottles to act as bowling pins. Once you have enough bottles, fill the bottom fourth of each with water to stabilize the pins. Use a plastic ball to knock down the pins. Each pin is worth one point. The person with the most points after 10 rounds wins!

Water Balloon Catch

Catch is a classic backyard family game, but this game has a twist! Switch it up by changing out the classic ball with water balloons. Start by tossing the balloons from a short distance and then slowly make the distant farther with each throw. Your family will have lots of laughs when these water balloons suddenly explode!


Your family’s summer is sure to be packed with fun with this list of games! You’ll have plenty of activities to fill up your free time. Get out an enjoy the warm weather as well as the company of your loved ones. Play on!