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9 DIY Summer Backyard Games for Outdoor Picnics and BBQ’s

Looking for some fun DIY Summer backyard games for your outdoor get together? 

I’ve got some diy games ideas for you! 

Growing up in a rural community, I remember many fun summer evenings at friend and family out door parties. To keep us all engaged, games for the whole family were enjoyed. This list contains some of the DIY Summer backyard games I remember playing at those BBQ’s.

Better yet, every single one of these ideas I give you can be made yourself using what you have or with items you can easily get. How cool is that?

For More Rural Summer Family Fun, Go Here

In this post, I will uncover:

  • 9 awesome DIY summer backyard games the whole family can play outdoors.
  • The best tips for outdoor party games for a BBQ that you can make yourself and spend very little money on.
  • Multiple ways to keep your kids entertained at family or community get together. 

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DIY Summer Backyard Games

Cup Races 

Games with cups are crazy simple to put together. And cup races can really get the party started! 

A couple of ways to race cups:

  • Cups on a string using a water gun. 
  • Cups with water or candy.

Here’s the specifics for each of these DIY summer backyard games.

For cups on a string using a water gun to move it:

  1. Hole punch two holes evenly into the top part of cups.
  2. Pull some string or baling twine through the holes.
  3. Tie each end of string to fence posts or chairs set at an equal distance apart. 
  4. Use air or water to move the cups. The first cup (team) to the other side wins. 

For Cups with Water or Candy:

  1. Fill cups with either and create teams/set boundaries. 
  2. Rule: Each person must run to the end of the boundary and back to the team without spilling. 
  3. Every member of the team completes the distance before the team finishes. 
  4. The first team to complete the distance wins. 

These are just a sample set of rules and guidelines for these DIY summer backyard games. Any type of cups can be used. Feel free to tweak and make these games fit your own party. 

Lawn Twister

Here’s another one of those outdoor party games for a BBQ. One of my favorite indoor games that can be brought outside into the backyard!

Also, this way you won’t have to get tangled up in the Twister Mat. Simply make a mat into your yard by spray painting the dots. 

You’ll need some colored spray paint as well as a spinner. Colors you need are: Blue, Red, Yellow and Green. You can use the spinner from the game or make your own if you don’t have the game.

Homemade Jumbo Jenga

Here is a game for the woodworker to make. These giant outdoor “Jenga” style games are trending at tailgates and summer BBQ’s alike. 

You’ll need 2X4 pieces of wood. Cut 54 pieces, each 10 1/2 inches long. Sand and stain or paint the ends a different color. 

That’s it! Play just like traditional Jenga. Stack and start pulling and you’ll have all the ways to keep your kids entertained this summer.

DIY Summer Backyard Games


How to entertain a toddler all day at a picnic? Play Tic-Tac-Toe!

You’ll need to make some X’s and O’s. Or better yet, if your party has a theme, create two different images related to your theme.

Cut Shapes or images out of paper and laminate. Or make out of wood if you can. The sturdier the better. 

Next, spray paint a nine-square grid into the grass or draw it on concrete with outdoor chalk. You can even use string or baling twine to make the grid if you don’t have paint.

Find another player to play with you. If you set up several grids, you can have a tournament going on for outdoor party games for a BBQ. 

To play, assign each player a shape or image. Take turns setting one piece into a square in the grid and try to get three in a row. This row can be straight across or diagonal. 

Corn Hole

One of the most popular DIY Summer Backyard games is called Cornhole. You can actually use cobs for this game. But you definitely don’t have to!

This is a partner game. But in order to play, you’ll need two large playing boards. 

To play, position the boards 27 feet a part. Players take turns throwing a bean bag toward the opposite board. Points are awarded based on where the bean bag lands.

For Corn Hole Board Making Instructions, go here

Night Bowling

No need to leave the party to go to the bowling alley! For the bowling lovers out there, you can make your own alley right in the backyard. You can keep score or just play for fun. 

Make Night Bowling one of the best outdoor party games for a BBQ that makes your guests stay for some late night fun. It’s another one of those great ways to keep your kids entertained and out of trouble, too.

All you’ll need is 10 tall, clear, 1-liter plastic bottles with water. Take colored activated glow sticks and drop one into each bottle. Secure the lid. 

Then, arrange in an inverted triangle and take aim with a ball of your choice! Again, feel free to keep score or just play these DIY Summer backyard games of bowling for fun. 


Yahtzee fans will love this one. Another game for DIY woodworkers to make. 

Simply make “dice” out of wood blocks. You can take wooden blocks and just paint on the dots. 

To play the game, you’ll also need a cup or something big enough to shake the dice into the yard. You’ll also need something to keep score on like a chalk board or a dry erase board

Ring Toss 

This is an easy game that you can come up with on the fly using empty bottles from the party. Reusing trash for a game?  Sounds good to me!

You’ll need rings for these DIY Summer backyard games of ringtoss. You can use pool rings or make rope rings. The possibilities are endless.

Giant Matching Game

Can be made out of wood, cardboard or laminated paper pieces. This is a great game if your party has a theme. 

Make pieces the same size and width. Then, two pieces should be matching pictures of whatever you want. Either draw the pictures onto the pieces or attach them with something sticky. Repeat until all the pieces have a match. Choose as many matches as you’d like. 

Now, you’re ready to play. 

Shuffle the pieces and lay them out with pictures down. Your guests will then try to turn over pieces and get a match. They’ll have to remember where they saw the right pieces. IF they get the match, they get to keep the pieces. The person with the most matches wins the game. 

This is a great memory game that is great for brain development and retention. 

DIY Summer Backyard Games for Outdoor Picnics

One More Fun Activity

This is a bonus and one that I am proud to share. If you have an empty stock tank, you will be THE coolest party around the section. Stock tank pools are all the rage.

I grew up swimming in one that my grandma would fill up every time we would come over. She definitely knew the best ways to keep your kids entertained for hours on end! 

And we fit a LOT of people into one stock tank. You could even put two together and have a game of volleyball or just to have to fit a larger crowd. 

Stock tank pools are really just a great way to cool off in the heat of summer. 

Plenty of Fun This Summer

Summer is for outdoor get togethers. As I mentioned before, these games are all the games and activities I grew up on. Even though I’m a grown up now, I still love to play them. 

And as you can see, there’s plenty of opportunity here for tweaks and theme-branding ways you can make the game more fun for your party. Just take all of these and make them your own DIY summer backyard games. I can guarantee that these are great ways to keep your kids entertained and adults having fun all through the party. 

I’d love to see how you use these outdoor party games for a BBQ or picnic! Please share some photos with me on Instagram and tag me in them. I can’t wait to see how much fun you have all summer long.