Adults playing ball game in grassy area near mountains.

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DIY Outdoor Family Game Night

· Article

DIY Outdoor Family Game Night

There’s no need to break the bank getting new equipment. Instead, let your creativity bloom with just a few household items. These games will get everyone moving and ready for a good night’s sleep.


Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling


Create your own nighttime backyard bowling alley with glowing water bottles as pins. Fill up 10 same-size clear plastic bottles with water, then drop in glow sticks to create pins that will be visible after the sun sets. To knock over the pins, use any ball, although a soccer or volleyball may work best. You could give the ball the glow-in-the-dark treatment as well with a little luminescent paint.


Giant Scrabble


Grab enough old cereal cartons or cardboard boxes to create at least 50 squares — about 8 inches on each side — and paint or draw letters on them to make a massive Scrabble game that stretches across the yard (or a park, if you don’t have a yard of your own). Don’t worry about a board for the tiles. Start anywhere on the ground with your first word, and connect as many words as you can. To make it even more active, try playing giant Bananagrams. Each person tries to make their own crossword as fast as they can, and will have to run for more tiles until all the letters are gone.


Lawn Twister


Twister adapts well to the outdoors, as kids can have all the room they need to twist around, plus a soft landing on the grass when they lose their balance. Use blue, green, yellow and red spray paint on the grass to make a grid of six dots by four dots. In lieu of the usual color dial for instruction on which move to make next, parents and grandparents on the sidelines can take turns calling out random combinations of colors and hands or feet.


Sponge Water Bombs


When the heat persists into the evening on the hottest days, cool off with a water fight. Water balloons leave rubber trash everywhere, can only be used once, and can take a long time to fill. Instead, try making reusable sponge water bombs. Cut sponges into 1-inch strips, use some twine to tie them together in the center like a bow tie and arrange them into a star shape. This shape makes them more like throwing a ball, and provides the best splatter-effect. Then, just dunk them into a bucket of water and throw.


Ladder Bean Bag Toss


This is a variation on the classic game cornhole, but it’s even more DIY-friendly, and a tad more competitive. Set up a ladder of any size. Starting from the top, make small signs denoting each space between steps to be worth a different amount of points. To make the bags, stitch together fabric scraps and fill them with dry beans or rice. This is a fun project for a grandparent to do with the grandkids. Form teams, then take turns tossing the bags toward the ladder. Whoever gets the most points wins.


For more summer inspiration, read this article for 5 tips to pare down and enjoy the season.




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