Originally Published on April 13, 2016. Last Updated on October 21, 2020.
In the past, the backyard served as a virtual playroom waiting to be explored. It served as the baseball diamond, the volleyball court, a racecourse for the neighborhood kids. These days it seems that the hours we spend inside are directly proportional to the number of technological devices we possess.
So as spring slips into summer and the lawn greens up, what better way than to revive some good old-fashioned backyard fun than with a few nostalgic lawn games? We have some ideas to help you do just that. So round up your kids, throw on a pair of tennis shoes, and cast aside your smartphone for a few minutes…maybe even a few hours!
What You’ll Need:
- Water bottles or soda bottles of any size
- Food coloring (optional)
- A soccer ball or basketball
Fill bottles with water. For a fun twist, add food coloring to each bottle.
Set the bottles on even ground—a sidewalk, patio, or flat stretch of lawn. Then, simply stand back and start practicing for a strike!
TIP: We noticed that using a basketball was actually more of a challenge because it was so bouncy. It could be a fun experiment to test out varieties of balls.
Ice Block Treasure Hunt
This game is particularly fun for little ones.
What You’ll Need:
- A medium-size plastic tub or storage box
- Plastic or silicone-based toys (think bath items like rubber duckies)
- Toy hammers, sticks, plastic forks, or spoons
Fill the tub with as many toys as you wish, and then fill the tub with water up to just below the brim (to allow for expansion). Place in the freezer overnight, or until frozen solid. Then remove the tub, emptying the ice block onto the sidewalk, driveway, or grass.
Hand little ones safe tools and let them chip away at the ice to retrieve their toys.
What you’ll need:
- A circle stencil (re-use a pizza box!)
- Four different colors of spray paint, such as Krylon Marking Chalk, which won’t kill your grass
- Eye protection
- Either a traditional Twister spinner or slips of paper and two bowls (directions for that below)
Decide where you want to set up a game “board,” then set down the stencil, and use the paint to spray as many circles as you need, spacing them as close or as far out as you’d like (though make sure kids and adults can reach with hands and feet). Let the spray paint dry before you allow anyone to play.
To call colors, either use an actual Twister spinner board, or simply create two bowls with the following pieces of paper in each. Have whoever calls colors pull from each bowl each time.
Bowl 1: Left Foot | Left Hand | Right Foot | Right Hand
Bowl 2: Blue | Yellow | Green | Red | (or whatever colors you use)
Sure, you can use a slip-n-slide right out of the box, but what fun is that? (It’s actually very fun.) You can also build a fancy slip-n-slide with PVC pipe, but who has the time?
Here’s our quick and easy slip-n-slide, perfect for kids’ parties, or adult parties (served with a side of beer, of course).
What you’ll need:
- Either a thick roll of plastic sheeting or the plastic sheeting found in the paint-supply section of your local store
- Some sort of weight to keep the sheeting in place (think something that won’t hurt if you hit it—foam blocks, sandbags, or water balloons)
- A hose, either alone or connected to a sprinkler—whatever you have on hand
- Optional – baby soap to make it extra slick!
Simply roll out the sheeting or place the tarps on the ground, taking care to remove any rocks, sticks, or things that would really hurt if you slid across them on your stomach.
Wet the whole slip-n-slide down completely (add baby soap if desired). If you have a sprinkler attachment, consider keeping that on while people are sliding. Or, you can let the hose stay on at a trickle.
Then, grab your swimsuit, screw up your courage, and glide down your homemade runway with the greatest of ease.
If you’re in the mood to go all out, check out @WiredGeekDad’s post for the Best Slip ‘n Slide Ever (he used pool noodles, velcro, and tent stakes to keep his slide down).