37 Fun and Creative Outdoor Games for the Most Epic Backyard Party

37 Fun and Creative Outdoor Games for the Most Epic Backyard Party

Better Homes & Gardens
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 37 Creative Outdoor Games for Kids: How to Throw an Epic Backyard Bash
 37 Creative Outdoor Games for Kids: How to Throw an Epic Backyard Bash
Sarah Martens headshot
kids drawing outdoors near flowers
Credit: Michael Partenio
Give your child a party to remember with a host of fun, energetic outdoor games for kids. With a few household supplies and some ingenuity, we dreamed up an afternoon's worth of birthday party games that will have guests giggling until the party's end.
Credit: Joe Polillio
This party game is F-U-N! Engage kids with this challenging outdoor spelling game.
For a 72-piece game set, purchase a 4x8-foot sheet of Masonite from a home improvement store. At the store, have it cut into 8-inch squares.
Apply a letter to each square—you'll repeat the alphabet twice except for letters Q and X.
To play, each player gets 10 letters. The first player spells a word on the ground. The next player must build off that word. The player with the fewest letters at the end wins!
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girl painting with pool and toys balls
Credit: Kim Lowe
Make art outside! Turn a kiddie pool into a fun outdoor game for kids with white paper, plastic balls, and tempera paint. Tape your paper to the bottom of a plastic kiddie pool. Dip balls in paint and drop them into the pool. Have each artist swirl the pool to create their design.
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kids outdoors popcorn drop game
Credit: Douglas Merriam
This easy relay race game can work at a birthday party of any size. We think it's most fun with four to eight players.
First, you'll need to make two pairs of shoe cups. Use a pushpin to poke holes in the bottom of clear plastic cups. Push a wide rubber band through the holes to create a strap.
To play, split the birthday party guests into two teams. The first player straps cups on her shoes and fills them with popped popcorn from a bag at the starting line. Then she hustles to a basket on the other end of the lawn. After she dumps out her popcorn in the baskets and races back, the next player follows suit.
The race is over when one of the bags of popcorn is empty. Measure the popcorn in the baskets to see which team got the most in.
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kids playing silly sack race apple orchard
Credit: Helen Norman
Kids want to move! This fun game for kids will burn pent-up party energy and get lots of laughs along the way.
Decorate plain burlap potato sacks with felt cutouts to suit the party theme. Use fabric glue or fusible web and an iron to adhere the shapes to the sacks.
Give each child a potato sack. Line the kids up in a grassy area. At the starting signal, have kids hop down a marked path (include a few curves to add a challenge) to the finish line. Keep the path clear to prevent injuries.
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kids pool prize search
Credit: Andy Lyons
On a hot summer day, the coolest party games involve water. This wet-and-wild game gives kids a great excuse to get soaked. Fill an inflatable pool with water. Hide a weighted ring or other treasures on the bottom of the pool. Fill the pool with inflatable balls and toys to make it difficult to see the bottom. Have a few kids wade around the pool looking for the hidden treasure. Provide them with goggles, or make it more challenging by allowing them to only use their feet.
Editor's Tip: Add a twist by blindfolding the contestants. Have kids wade through the pool using only their feet to discover the underwater treasures. Encourage the onlookers to shout out advice. Make sure to supervise so everyone stays safe.
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boy holding box of scavenger hunt items
Credit: Peter Krumhardt
Bugs and bark, pinecones and pebbles, dandelions and dried leaves—kids adore the wonders found in the great outdoors. Set your child's birthday party outdoors, and organize a scavenger hunt. Arm each child or team with a list and a treasure box or bag. Offer tools such as binoculars, magnifying glasses, and disposable cameras to inspire close observation. Set a time limit, and let them explore. Display the kids' finds for the remainder of the party. Offer prizes for completing the list and finding unique or difficult items, or let the children select other award categories.
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water gun outdoors game
Credit: Andy Lyons
Make a splash at your child's summer birthday party with a fun water game. For each team, string a plastic bucket on a length of clothesline; make the lines the same length to be fair. With the buckets at one end of the clothesline, arm each team with a hose or large squirt guns. Using only water, the teams must race to move their bucket to the other end of the line.
Editor's Tip: Make this fun game for kids even wilder. Arm a team with water balloons to use as obstacles and distractions while the other team tries to push its bucket across the finish line.
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kids playing yard checkers
Credit: Greg Scheidemann
You may not have a built-in checkerboard in your backyard, but it's easy to set one up for a birthday party. Cut large squares from sturdy poster board, and tack them to the ground in a checkerboard pattern. Use plant stakes or other stakes with rounded tops for safety. Or chalk up your driveway to create the board. Make big beanbags or use two colors of Frisbee disks for the checkers. Have kids take turns moving their pieces across the board. Set up teams to involve everyone in the fun.
Editor's Tip: You can also use large square flooring tiles to make the board. Inexpensive tiles are available at home improvement stores.
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girl playing wild wheels obstacle course
Credit: Andy Lyons
On-the-go kids will love wheeling and squealing on this obstacle course. Ask each child to bring his or her favorite set of wheels. It's a good idea to have a few extra vehicles available. To create the course, arrange orange cones or other soft items in your yard or a nearby park. Include curves, turns, and small hills, depending on the ages and abilities of your racers. Fuel the kids' excitement by timing each racer as he or she pedals to the finish line. To make the course more challenging, set up stations along the way where children must stop to perform a task, such as blowing bubbles.
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oversize pickup sticks leaning against tree
Credit: Adam Albright
An old-fashioned favorite, pickup sticks gets a gigantic twist when the sticks are as big as the kids.
Start with 30 wooden dowels; ½-inch-diameter dowels in a standard length, such as 48 inches, work well. Paint the ends with bright colors: red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and purple, for example.
To start the game, drop the sticks on the ground in a big messy pile, and let the kids take turns picking up a stick. If a stick other than the one the child is removing wiggles, the child must return the stick and forgo his or her turn. At the end, the player with the most sticks wins.
Editor's Tip: Add a challenge to the game by assigning each player a color. The first player to successfully remove all the sticks of the assigned color wins the party game.
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