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Fun Backyard Activities for the Summertime

Summer is coming, and it’s a great opportunity to get your kids or grandkids away from their electronics and get them to play outside. These 14 easy-to-make activities will keep them playing in the sun (don’t forget sunscreen), and it’s also a great way to interact and bond. You’re going to enjoy making these games, and your kids will love playing them.


1. Balloon Target Practice

Throwing darts and popping balloons – is there a chance your kid won’t love this? Instead of throwing darts at a boring old board, prepare a big target-practice board with balloons and watch as they pop them with sheer joy.

What you need: A large board (plywood or cardboard), balloons, sticky tape or pins, and small darts.

Preparation: Inflate the balloons and pin them to the board. The kids will try to pop the balloons with the darts. You can add some water or water-based paint to the balloons so that some pops will splash the paint everywhere, much to their delight.

Summer fun


2. Pebble Tic-Tac-Toe

Tic-Tac-Tow is a fun game, especially if you play it outside and with fun game pieces. Double the fun by letting your kids decorate their pieces themselves.

What you need: 10 pebbles or smooth, flat stones, paint, and a board.

Preparation: Paint 5 stones with one pattern and five other stones in another pattern. Set up a surface to play on and let your kids have fun.

Summer fun


3. Blowing Foam Caterpillars

Kids love blowing bubbles, and there’s a better way to do that than the little store-bought bottle. By using this homemade contraption, your kids can make a stream of foamy bubbles that will look like a long, colorful caterpillar.

What you need: An empty plastic water bottle, scissors, sticky tape / rubber band, a fluffy sock, dish soap and a bowl. (You can also add food coloring for extra fun)

Preparation: Remove the bottom of the bottle and dress the hole with the fluffy sock, attaching it to the bottle with the sticky tape or a rubber band. In a bowl, mix water and dish soap. The kids will dip the sock in the soapy water and blow air through the other end to make a stream of foam. You can add some drops of food coloring to the sock to create colorful bubbles.

Summer fun


4. Pool Noodle Playground

This flexible sponge is meant to keep you afloat in the pool but can also be used as the basis for many kinds of game. It’s safe to use and comfortable to work with.

What you need: Pool noodles and sticky tape

Preparation: Use your imagination or take ideas from the pictures below and create a fun playground for your kids. They’re going to love it.

Summer fun


5. Bucketball

Kids love playing basketball, and the challenge of scoring a basket. You can make the basket out of buckets, pots, or any other suitable container. Use different-sized containers and make a fun competition of it.

What you need: Various-sized buckets or plastic pots, a small ball (tennis, golf, etc.), plywood, a drill, zip ties or screws, paint or a thick marker.

Preparation: drill a hole just below the rim of each bucket and attach it to the plywood with a zip tie or by screwing it. Paint the number of points each bucket is worth, and see who can score the highest.

Summer fun


6. Canned Ball Toss

Like those games in the county fairs, you can make a game out of hitting cans with a ball. This simple game doesn’t’ require much, and by letting your kids decorate the cans as they see fit, you add another aspect of fun to the game. The goal is to knock down all of the cans in as little throws as possible.

What you need: Empty food cans, water-based paint and brushes, a small ball.

Preparation: Decorate the cans, stack them in a pyramid, and then try to knock them down.

Summer fun


7. Target Practice

Another idea taken from fairs, and you can even take it with you when going out for a picnic. You just set up a large tarp between two trees and fold once the kids have had enough.

What you need: A large tarp or plastic tablecloth, a sharpie, scissors, duct tape, rope, and a small ball.

Preparation: Prepare to holes at the top of the tarp so you can tie the rope to them, cut holes in the tarp in different shapes and sizes, and add a number below, stating the points each hole is worth. The kids who gets the most points after an hour – wins (and you win an hour of peace and quiet).

Summer fun


8. Footpainting

One of the most fun arts and crafts activity you can have, and one that doesn’t have to end in washing copious amounts of paint off your kids. The kids make their own paintings on large pieces of paper by running and jumping over it. (Admit it, you want to join them)

What you need: A large sheet of paper, water-based paint, bubble wrap, sticky tape, and scissors. 

Summer fun

Preparation: Put the large sheet of paper on the floor, securing it with some sticky tape, wrapping your kids’ feet with the bubble wrap and applying the paint to your kids’ feet. Now, let them run around on the paper – they’re going to love it. 

Summer fun


9. Giant Soap Bubbles

Kids and adults love blowing bubbles, and this time – size matters. In an easy method that requires very little practice, the kids can make giant bubbles.

What you need: 2 light sticks (same length), a thick string, scissors, a large bucket, soap mix.

  • Basic soap mix: 1 cup dish soap + 9 cups of water.
  • Upgraded soap mix: ½ cup cornstarch + 6 cups of water + ½ cup dish soap + 1 tbsp. baking powder + 1 tbsp. glycerin.
Summer fun

Preparation: Tie the sticks like in the photo above, and then hold each stick and dunk the loop in the soap mix. The best way to blow big bubbles is by walking backward against the wind. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret – it takes a little bit of practice in the beginning.

Summer fun


10. Bottle Bowling

A great way to practice hand-eye coordination, estimating distances, and momentum. Before you throw away those plastic bottles, you can turn them into bowling pins for your kids.

What you need: Empty plastic bottles, water, ball.

Preparation: Fill the bottles with water (you can add food coloring for fun), arrange the bottles the same way as a bowling alley, and let your kids bowl.

Summer fun

11. Garden Twister

Twister is a really fun game that can also keep your kids busy outside in the fresh air. The game follows the rules of regular twister; only it’s played outside, in the yard.

What you need: Different colored spray paint, cardboard box with a circle cut out at the bottom, a twister spinning board. 

Summer fun

Preparation: Spray equally-distanced circles in 4 rows of 6, each row in a different color. Once the paint is dry – call everyone to come and play.

Summer fun


12. Ladderbags

Who can get a plastic bag to stay on one of the ladder’s steps? This fun game doesn’t require much space. Each kid grabs a plastic bag and throws it at the ladder. If the bag stays on the ladder – you get the points allotted to that step. The winner is the one with the most points at the end of the game.

What you need: Small ladder, pieces of paper with the number of points per step, sticky tape, and small recyclable sandwich bags filled with a cup of beans.

Preparation: Mark the number of points each step will be worth, and then start throwing the filled bags at the ladder. The winner is the one with the most points at the end of the game. 

Summer fun


13. Waterbed

If you don’t have a pool, you can make your own waterbed that your kids will refuse to leave.

What you need: A very large plastic sheet, extra-strength duct tape, scissors, and a water hose.

Preparation: Fold the sheet in half and seal the edges with the duct tape, leaving a small hole for the water hose. Fill the bag with water, and then seal the hole. Make sure you keep the duct tape close by, as these beds can spring a leak from time to time.

Summer fun


14. Glue Painting

This is an especially cheap arts and crafts activity that produces gorgeous results and keeps the kids occupied for hours. You can even hang the creation with pride once it’s done.

What you need: Disposable plastic plate, school glue, food coloring, and toothpicks.

Summer fun

Preparation: Pour the glue onto the plate, add a few drops of food coloring and move them around using the toothpicks. Leave the creation to dry (which should take 2-3 days), and then peel it off and hang in the sunlight.

Summer fun
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