Two Dozen Homemade Outdoor and/or Active Games

What better way to occupy my time while spending five days hiding in COVID quarantine in my bedroom (sigh…) than to dream of Spring?!?

I’m busy dreaming up the new landscaping I want to try, ordering some new-to-me seed varieties, attempting to convince myself that I do NOT need more chicks this year (don’t I, though?), and planning what backyard games and activities my family might enjoy so I can get the gear ready.

We love outdoor games, and we also love indoor games that get us off our butts for a bit. Here’s my list of my favorite outdoor and active games to DIY. All use eco-friendly materials and methods, and all include free tutorials so you can have them in your backyard, too!

Outdoor Games

Koob via Let's Get Together
Koob via Let’s Get Together
  • KoobThis super fun lawn game is an easy build, and the finished product looks great!
  • bottle ring tossUpcycle glass bottles into the targets for this outdoor ring toss game. Paint points on the bottles, or just paint them to look cute! In between games, store them in a wooden crate.
  • cornholeYou’ve definitely seen cornhole. Here’s how to make it!
  • giant dominoesSupersized versions of tabletop games are my favorite backyard party accessory.
Nerf gun shooting range
Hide and Seek Arena image via Taryn’s Journal
  • hide-and-seek arena. If you’ve always got a yard full of kids, this is the kind of obstacle course that you can set up for them that will last through at least a couple of thunderstorms. It’s fun for all kinds of hide-and-seek, water balloon, Capture the Flag, and Nerf gun games.
  • giant Four in a RowHere’s another supersized tabletop game! The build for this one isn’t cheap. It would be difficult to re-use scraps for some of these large-format components. But the finished product is beautiful enough to be the centerpiece of a backyard game area, or to be the prized possession of an outdoor schoolyard or day camp.
  • garden math gamesGardening is the perfect outdoor activity to share with kids. Here’s how to gameify gardening with preschoolers to teach them those important early math skills.
  • yard TwisterUse store-bought spray paint or homemade chalk paint to paint a Twister gameboard right onto your yard.
football toss via Cherished Bliss
football toss via Cherished Bliss
  • football tossI was an only child, so I have a special place in my heart for games that can be played solo as well as in a group. This DIY football toss is the perfect game for both, and it builds accurate throwing skills, too!
  • paver hopscotchHere’s a great way to make a functional garden piece into something that’s also fun!
  • giant MemoryYou KNOW how much I love Memory games! This giant Memory is such a great idea for sneakily encouraging everyone to work their brains while being active outside.
tin can toss via See Jane Blog
tin can toss via See Jane Blog
  • tin can tossHere’s a game that’s easy to DIY from what you’ve got on hand, and easy to customize to fit the kind of fun you want to have.
  • horseshoesIf you love backyard games enough to make a permanent modification to your yard, a horseshoe pit is a great option.
  • tree stump Tic-Tac-ToePut that tree stump to use, or upcycle a wood slice to make this cute outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe game.
washer toss game via Addicted 2 DIY
washer toss game via Addicted 2 DIY
  • washer tossIf your friends or family spend lots of time enjoying your outdoor space in nice weather, this is another great game to add to your options. My favorite thing is how neatly and compactly it packs up!
  • oversized checkerboardUpcycle enough jar lids to make a set of checkers, then DIY a checkerboard to fit them!
  • DIY ring tossThere are several steps to creating this game, but none of them are especially difficult. This makes the DIY ring toss game a terrific project for a beginning woodworker!
  • giant JengaI LOVE super-sized outdoor games! Just… be careful when the tower falls, okay?
  • bean bag toss. Upcycle plant trays as the targets for this game, and sew the bean bags from stash fabric.

Giant Dice

  • giant diceMake these giant dice from upcycled cardboard, and they’ll be indoor-friendly, as well.
  • ladder golf. The tutorial for this game set also includes instructions for how to easily take it apart and reassemble it. Because nobody needs a fully-assembled ladder golf game in their garage all winter!

Indoor/Outdoor Active Games

  • giant wall ScrabbleScrabble isn’t usually known as an “active” game, but it is when it takes up an entire wall and the tiles are as big as your hand!
  • bean bag baseballThe baseball component adds more skill and strategy to an already-fun target game. And using bean bags means that this game is fairly safe to play indoors.
  • BiminiMy favorite part of this project is that you can create it in any size from tabletop to large-scale, indoors or out!

What’s YOUR favorite active or outdoor game? Tell me about it in the Comments!