Why not enjoy the outdoors and nature in your own backyard? Now you can add the next level of excitement to your family and friends gatherings with backyard games. These outdoor games are also great for events in parks, on the beach and so much more!
Outdoor games can range from the size of a frisbee to a life size giant Jenga! With all of the options out there, I’m sure you’ll find the perfect ones for your next gathering!
- 1 Life Size Games / Giant Games
- 2 Pros and Cons of Giant Games vs Traditional Games
- 3 Gatherings that are Perfect for Backyard Games
- 4 Life Size Yard Games
- 4.1 Giant Jenga
- 4.2 Giant Connect Four
- 4.3 Giant Kerplunk / Ball Drop
- 4.4 Kan Jam
- 4.5 Ladder Golf
- 4.6 Corn Hole
- 4.7 Giant Outdoor Bowling
- 4.8 Giant Outdoor Twister
- 4.9 Giant Outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe
- 4.10 Giant Outdoor Chess
Life size games also known as giant games, yard games or lawn games are your childhood favorite games turned into giant games so you feel you are part of the game. These are always fun as you can move around while you play, others can easily watch, and it makes people want to jump in and join! The most common life-size game is Jenga, but there are so many more you probably never thought of!! Our favorite is the Giant Connect 4! A simple, easy to learn game, but super huge! We will go into detail of each giant size yard game so you can see which ones are best for you.
Pros and Cons of Giant Games vs Traditional Games
Uniqueness – Giant games are usually unique so everyone wants to play. It helps get everyone involved and together. Sometimes though you need to take time the explain the rules or have a sign somewhere with the rules on it.
Exciting – When a play is made, such as the Jenga falling, Giant games are so much larger than the tradition table games that it creates more excitement! But, that doesn’t mean that table games or smaller yard games are still not thoroughly enjoyed.
Travel – The size of some giant games often make it hard to take somewhere, but this depends on the game and your vehicle. Most traditional backyard games are easy to transport and come in handy holding bags.
Cost – Some giant games cost a decent amount, but the extra fun they bring and the uniqueness experience is always worth it! You surely will be bringing life to the party! Traditional yard games are usually more cost friendly.
Gatherings that are Perfect for Backyard Games
Outdoor games, rather large or small, are always a great to bring life to the party.
These are great for:
- Team building
- Backyard BBQs
- Family reunions
- Community park events
- Children parties
- Work functions
- Work parties
- Graduation parties
- Wedding Receptions
- Retirement parties
- Meet and Greats
- Cooperate Events
- Any party! Even just having some friends over!
Can’t afford the games? Try to find a local game rental place or make one yourself – diy!
Life Size Yard Games
Giant Jenga is probably the most common Giant yard game because it is easy to buy, easy to make and since it is all small pieces it is easy to take with you! This game is great for all ages.
Many Giant Jengas that you purchase will come with a carrying case which adds to the ease of travel!
- Giant Jenga consists of 54 rectangular, large sized wooden pieces that are stacked as a tower. This game can be played with two or more people. The pieces are stacked in rows of three, with each row perpendicular to the previous row. The goal of the game is to pull out a Jenga piece, then placed on the top of the tower without making the tower fall!
- The first person tries to push or pull any piece out, using one hand. This hand used cannot be switched throughout the game (of course we won’t tell if you don’t want to follow this rule). Once the piece is placed successfully on the top, the next person proceeds to their turn. (This rule is optional)
- If a piece is knocked loose while playing that is not your piece, you are allowed to leave the piece as it is or replace it back to its original spot.
- Whoever last touched the Jenga when it falls is the looser They then need to re-stack the pieces for the next game (so be nice to your fellow players so they will want to help!).
This Giant Jenga is made of solid wood so when the pieces fall they do not break or split open. They are sanded and smooth to keep splinters out. This set is also a little smaller than if you were using 2×4’s as a DIY, so it makes it a lot easy to carry and travel with you. I also thought it was cute that it includes a whiteboard to create rules to add to the game!! This makes it even more fun! For example, if someone pulls a block with the #3 on it, the rule “when it is your turn you have to stand on one leg to pull out the block” has to be applied throughout the game. The rules can be created by the players at the beginning of each game so they have to follow their own rules! This always comprises of creative rules that everyone of all ages is sure to get a kick out of!!
A great video of how to DIY your own Giant Jenga with 2×4’s! With follow up videos on a table and carrying container.
Giant Connect Four
Connect four has been a common table game for years and years! In fact, connect four dates back to the 70’s! Connect Four is a vertical game of tic-tac-toe, but with a twist – you have to get four in a row
- The first player to get four checkers lined up in a row in any direction–horizontal, vertical, or diagonal–wins the game
- Game includes: grid, two end supports, 21 black checkers and 21 red checkers
- This game is centuries old
- For 2 Players
- Captain James Cook used to play it with his fellow officers on his long voyages, and so it has also been called “Captain’s Mistress”
This Gaint Connect Four is really great for outdoors since it is large and made of plastic!
- The game stands 4 feet tall making this a truly giant version.
- Strong plastic frame and counters. Lasts for years of play and enjoyment.
- Vibrant colors for maximum impact in the garden and home.
Read more about Connect Four through time and for other variations.
For a smaller version that is still great for backyard or tables check out this one!
The advantage of the smaller yard Connect Four is that is more cost efficient, but also has the ability to travel (comes with a bag for the coins!). The downside is that it has to be put on a table or someone has to sit on the ground.
Even though it is smaller is still has the basics:
- Plastic coins [21 red and 21 black]; Wooden Game Board, Nylon storage bag [for coins]
- DIMENSIONS: Game face – approx. 30.6 inches x 22.5 inches; Fully assembled – approx. 31.25 inches x 27 inches
- Simple, classic game for all ages where large discs are dropped and 4 in a row means you win!
- Can be played at home, in the park, at parties or gatherings, and a hit at weddings
DIY Giant Connect Four
Connect Four is a pricier yard game, but I feel it is totally worth it! Everyone always just loves playing this game. It is great for fun, competition, team building, kids, adults, etc.! If you are handy you can always make a Giant Connect Four yourself! The advantage of making this game is that even if you have to buy all the tools to create it, you spend about the same amount, but now you have all of the tools! Here are some recommendations that I used to create mine!
- A Plunge Router is excellent for creating all the circles needed for your giant Connect Four! It will smoothly cut out all the circles for the coins and for the holes in the game.
- Having a Sliding Miter Saw is great as it can cut wider boards and you don’t have to switch over to a table, circular hand saw. This Hitachi saw will cut angles, thicker or multiple boards at once and wide boards. Since it cuts boards up to 4″ thick, it is great for Kerplunk too! This saw is perfect for beginners and has so many features it won’t have to be replaced as you gain more skills!
- A Hole Saw Kit goes up to 5″ holes, so it makes it perfect for the smaller DIY connect four! Since it contains 4″ and 5″ drill holes, you can make the coins and the holes.
- Pocket holes create a secure professional look. A starter Kreg Jig has everything you need to create your game. These tools are quite fascinating. They can be used for so many different projects including cabinets, tables, picture frames and more!
- Having multiple drill bits is always a smart choice. I often find when I buy one size I am just back at the store buying more the next day! This Dewalt kit has a wide variety, including the 1/4″ bit used in the tutorial, and I have been using this kit for years with still all the pieces in tact!
Tutorials that will be helpful when creating your own Giant Connect four game!
This DIY post is pretty technical, created a very professional looking game, sturdy and is quite large! This is great to really get that life-size connect four game!
Home Depot has a DIY post that is probably easier for a beginning to intermediate woodworker, but creates a smaller game. This would be great for space issues while still giving a game that is large and draws people to it!
Giant Kerplunk / Ball Drop
Kerplunk is a table size game dating back to the 1960’s! This game has small plastic sticks/straws that are fed through a plastic tube. Then marbles are placed on top. Players take turns pulling out the straws and try not to make the marbles fall. The Giant Kerplunk or Ball Drop version is pretty much the same, but using large giant balls, large sticks and is able to stand on the ground creating life-size entertainment!
- Place the bin under the KerPlunk stand to catch any balls that fall.
- Place the sticks through the netting about 1/2 way up so that the sticks slightly stick out on the ends and minimizes gaps (make sure the balls will not go through any holes).
- Place the balls in the top of the netting.
- Pull out the sticks without making any balls fall.
- Whoever has the least amount of balls wins!
- Player 1 pulls a stick out trying to not make any balls fall. If any balls fall, remove from the basket and sit them in your bucket.
- Players continue to take turns removing a single straw from the netting. Once a player touches a stick they have to continue removing the stick.
- The game ends when all balls have dropped.
- The player who accumulated the least number of balls wins!
DIY – Giant Kerplunk
Giant Kerplunk is also easy to make yourself!
To make you’re own you need the following items:
- 4 (16-inch) 2 x 4 boards
- 4 (10-inch) 4 x 4 boards
- Spray paint (make sure you get outdoor spray paint)
- Wire netting
- 18-gauge wire
- Wire cutters (These are great for bending the wire too)
- Staple gun and staples
- 30-40 Colored bamboo sticks
- Ball pit balls (I would get the large 7cm, 50 count pack)
- Sliding Miter Saw
Kan Jam was created not too long ago, and is great for those of you with Frisbee Skills!
Kan Jam is played with two Kans and a Frisbee played with two teams of two or two people on their own.
One person from each team stands at opposite Kans, spaced about 50 ft. apart. The goal is to get the frisbee in the slot or to 21 points.
Team A tosses the frisbee to the Kan on the opposite side of them. Their teammate is allowed to help the Frisbee into the Kan. If the frisbee enters the Kan through the slot it is an instant win, with or without help. Otherwise, points are as follows:
-3 points if the frisbee enters the top of the Kan, with or without help.
-2 points if the frisbee hits the Kan without help
-1 point if the frisbee hits the Kan with help
Team B then tosses the frisbee and the play continues the same.
Here is a picture to sum this up!
More in-depth rules: https://www.kanjam.com/how-to-play/
Ladder Golf is a fun game that is new to a lot of people, but also fairly well known.
In ladder golf, two sets of ‘ladders’ are set up across from each other and players take turns trying to ring on some golf balls that are connected by strings. The one great thing about ladder golf is that the bola balls, or golf balls, can be made or purchased using soft bolas so that it makes it really kid friendly. Although this is not a larger version of a table top game, it is an easy to learn yard game. And as always, you can create your own rules! If you are a fan of corn hole, Ladder Golf is played very similar.
What to look for when buying Ladder Golf
- Look for a set that folds up nicely so it is to travel and take with you to other events and parties.
- Pay the little extra money for the sturdier ones since you are throwing items at them.
- Purchase a set that comes with two ladders. Some games only come with one ladder and you have to do a lot more walking. If you play the game similar to corn hole rules, then you can have fun and be lazy!
- Make sure there are at least two sets of bolas. I would suggest buying a soft set of bolas also.
- Ladder Golfs that can hold up to outside weather in-case it starts to rain.
Basic game rules:
Set the ladders about 15 feet (5 paces) apart (may be set closer together for children). Each team stands at a different ladder and tosses their 3 bolas across to the other ladder, trying to get the bolas to wrap around the ladder. Bolas that are left on the ladder at the end of the round are counted, trying to reach 21 points. The top rung is 3 points, middle 2, lowest 1. An extra point can be earned for hanging all bolas on the same rung, or one on each rung.
This game would also be great to play like corn-hole where you can try to knock off the other teams bolas; feel free to play with the rules that are most fun to you!!
For detailed rules visit http://laddergolf.com/pages/official-rules
DIY Ladder Golf
Unless you really enjoy making stuff yourself or already have a lot of the supplies, I do not feel that a decent amount of money is saved for what you can buy. For instance, the amazon ladder golf above is for 2 ladders and 2 sets of bolas for only $54. From various sites I found a wood one with a different design took 4 hours and cost $48. One ladder out of PVC for $35, but also using stuff around the house – shorter time to make, but after adding in time for shopping for supplies and buy a pvc cutter if you do not have one, I can’t see it worth it. I also would not recommend a PVC ladder golf as it would not be the most stable. These would also have to be taken apart to travel with. I also feel that making a wood Ladder Golf is very fun and stable and easy to figure out yourself if you have some building experience and tools.
If you still want to make your own here out of PVC are two great web-sites. One has a tutorial and video I found most useful for people that like videos and wikihow with a great short summary and drawings of the rules, score keeping and how to play.
Corn Hole is probably even more well known than Giant Jenga even though it was not a table top game first. Corn Hole is very common at bars, restaurants, tailgating and almost every party now. Corn Hole is easy to make and also easy to find to buy with all sorts of styles, colors and designs. It is very common to see sports-related corn hole boards, themed corn hole boards and Personalized Wedding Corn Hole Boards.
College Football themed or NFL Football themed corn hole boards are always a hit at tailgating parties! These also make a great gift for college students or graduation presents! Everyone loves team spirit!
Corn hole at weddings can be very fun and a great addition to the party even if it is inside! There are no parts of the game that will damage or ruin the floor. The bean bags are also soft so they won’t hurt a lot of you got hit with one and they are heavy enough where they won’t go flying somewhere you do not want them to go. Having games at weddings is becoming increasingly popular and adds to the memories people create on your special day. Personalized Wedding Corn Hold Boards also make great gifts for the bride and groom so they can always remember their day while they are outside enjoying some fun!
There are so many more advantages of having a corn hole at your wedding, or really any outdoor game! It helps give those people who are more shy something to do if they do not know a lot of people or do not like to dance. It also can add in some friendly competition between the bride and grooms family if you wanted to get a little tournament started. Print Your Brackets is a great website with single and double Tournament Brackets that you could use to get the games started. Since you stand next to the other teams partner and not your own, it also encourages conversations of the two different families and helps take the pressure of getting to know each other off. These cute Mr. and Mrs. wedding bags are a great add on wedding gift in case some bags get lost, ruined or break. Corn Hole Boards make an all around great outdoor game!
- Place the boards about 27 feet apart, more or less depending on your players.
- In doubles, one player from each team stands at different cornhole boards. In singles play both players will throw from the same board then collect bags and proceed on other board.
- Each corn hole team will have 4 bags of one color.
- All 8 corn hole bags begin at one end.
- The first team throws 1 corn hole bag to the opposite side. Then alternate throws between opponents until all 8 bags have been tossed.
- A corn hole player may throw from anywhere behind the front of the cornhole board they are throwing from.
- If a corn hole bag hits the ground then bounces up onto the board it does not count.
- Count the points scored during the round from below. Points are cancelled out that are in common at the end of the turn. (For example, if team A scores 5 points and team B scores 2 points, then team A receives 3 points (5-2) and team B scores 0 for the round.) If no team has reached the 21 point mark start the next round until a team reaches 21. The team that scores the highest amount of points on the previous round will go first on the next turn.
- 3 points for a cornhole bag that goes through the hole.
- 1 point for a cornhole bag that is on the playing surface, not touching the ground.
- If both cornhole teams have the same round score then the game score stays the same and honors stays with the team who had it the previous round.
Corn hole Fouls
- A corn hole players foot goes past the foot foul line. (front of the corn hole board)
- A Player goes out of turn.The throw the foul occurs on is voided. If the bag is on the board remove it.
Giant Outdoor Bowling
Bowling is always a favorite among all group of people from babies to elders! There are a lot of advantages to bring bowling to your own backyard. Here are many reasons why adding giant bowling to your lawn games or yard games:
- Great for all ages
- No experience required
- Low cost
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to modify adding less pins for different level of abilities
- Easy and Light weight to assemble with the parts being all different and now inflatable bowling available!
Now that backyard games are expanding and becoming more popular, adding bowling to your addition is even easier! Amazon now has inflatable Giant Bowling where the pins are 2 feet tall! Other advantages:
- Parts deflate becoming small and lightweight to travel with
- Soft parts to minimize injuries
- Giant 2′ tall pins
Backyard bowling is easy to DIY and really you could use anything to make your own. Home Depot’s DIY has a cheap variety using PVC pipes. This uses 2″ pipes with 2″ caps and 3″ reducing couplings.
Other great ideas for DIY Bowling Pins that you may have laying around
- 2×4 boards (boards can be painted for creativity)
- Filled water bottles (and food coloring can be added, 20 oz. or liters)
- Empty Cans
- Filled paper towel tubes with rocks and tape off the bottom and top
- Books slightly opened to balance
- Shoe boxes (empty of course)
- Empty cereal boxes
This game really turns the childhood game of twister into one huge outdoor game! And then you can make it so large that no kid (or adult) is left out!
DIY Outdoor Twister
This is pretty cheap to make as you only need spray paint and a bucket to make it like this DIY tutorial. Or, to save even more money I would suggest just cutting a circle out of a cardboard (you can just trace a bucket, or make a compass with a string and pen to draw a circle to your desired size) and then use the circle hole as your stencil. You then need to make the spinner, or get creative and label the sized to dice or put all the possibilities in a bag and draw from a bag.
How to make a “spinner” out of 3 dice:
Cover the numbers with stickers that you can write on with a sharpie, or use paper then after you write on the paper cover with tape.
On die 1 make 3 numbers right and 3 numbers left.
On die 2 make 3 numbers hand and 3 numbers foot.
On die 3 make 4 sides labeled blue, yellow, red and green. For the remaining two sides leave blank or write “roll again”
How to make a “spinner” with paper and a bag:
If you are going to use a bag, just grab a bag and make the following phrases on paper and throw it in the bag!
- Left foot on Blue
- Left foot on Yellow
- Left foot on Red
- Left foot on Green
- Right foot on Blue
- Right foot on Yellow
- Right foot on Red
- Right foot on Green
- Left hand on Blue
- Left hand on Yellow
- Left hand on Red
- Left hand on Green
- Right hand on Blue
- Right hand on Yellow
- Right hand on Red
- Right hand on Green
A giant Tic-Tac-Toe is great for travel, outdoor and durability!
It also sets up extremely fast so everyone can start playing right away!
DIY a Lawn Tic-Tac-Toe set
Ways to make your own Tic-Tac-Toe set.
For the pieces, find 5 of one item the same and 5 of another. This can be anything! Bean bags, painted rocks, card board cut outs of X’s and O’s, etc.
For the Board Game you can:
- Take an old sheet and add tape to create the 9 areas
- Spray paint lines right on the grass
- Use 4 pool noodles to create the grid lines
- Draw chalk lines right on a sidewalk or cement area if safe
- Use bamboo sticks (if you have a giant kerplunk you made, you can use those)
- Use string, rope or yarn for the lines
Giant Outdoor Chess
Chess has always included a lot of brain power, but now it can also include some movement too!
This Giant Chess has pieces up to Two Feet Tall!! And then you can add the board game which totals 10’x10′. What a huge game!! This would surely attract the attention of everyone!!
The picture also shows a smaller scale Chess which would be easier for transport and is lighter on the wallet.