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Top 12 Outdoor Games To Play With Family & Friends

Updated on August 23, 2019
Terrielynn1 profile image

Terrie is a creative person who loves DIY on a budget and updating her farm house. She enjoys sharing creative tips, tricks, and knowledge.

Whether you enjoy playing these games with your adult friends or children. Set them up in your yard and invite everyone over. Not only will you have a blast, but they will also ask you to help them make these games for their yard as well. Some of them are an oversized version of the original board games.

My top 12 outdoor games:

  1. Yard Yahtzee
  2. Giant Jenga
  3. Patio Plinko
  4. Deck Dominos
  5. Lady Bugs and Bees, X's & O's
  6. Potato Sack Race
  7. Balloon Darts
  8. Scoop & Toss
  9. Ring Toss
  10. Bean Bag Toss
  11. Pool Noodle Rings
  12. Dodge Ball

Here is a countdown of my personal favorite yard games.You will be the talk of the neighborhood. Even your family and friends will want to join in.

Let's Play

Yahtzee Dice Game
Yahtzee Dice Game | Source
using the stencil to mark out the dots.
using the stencil to mark out the dots.
Staining the blocks, then let dry.
Staining the blocks, then let dry.
Printable Yahtzee score card
Printable Yahtzee score card | Source

#1 Yard Yahtzee

You can now take the fun and excitement of Yahtzee out to the yard. Your neighbors will be running over to see what all the yelling is. You can even make your score cards. The great thing about this dice game is you can use the dice to play other games, not just Yahtzee. That is one of the reasons it's my number 1 pick out of all the games you can play out in your yard. It's also my mother's favorite dice game. You will make memories with this game.

Supplies to Build the Yahtzee Game:

  1. 5 Wood Blocks
  2. Sand paper or palm sander
  3. Vinyl, to make the stencil for your dots
  4. Scissors to cut the stencil
  5. Wood Glue
  6. Wood stain & paint brush
  7. A large bucket, The Dollar store or Michelle's is usually the cheapest.

Directions for making the dice:

  • Buy Large wood blocks or cut a four by four fence post.
  • Sandpaper, Make the edges all smooth.
  • Use paint or stain and brush the color on each and let dry.
  • Freehand, the dots for each block of numbers or, use a stencil.
  • After at least 24 hrs cover with a clear protective coat.
  • Now you are ready to play. Use the bucket to keep the dice in one place.

Gameplay rules:

  • Each person takes a dice and shakes it and rolls. The highest number goes first. Gameplay direction is clockwise.
  • You need a score card for each person.
  • Shake all five dice at each turn. Fill in the card as you get what you need for each row.
  • IF you don't get anything, use your total as one free chance. After that, you have to cross an item off
  • When the card is full the round is over, the person with the highest score card wins.
  • The winner gets to start the next round.
  • Yahtzee is usually played, for five rounds.
  • You could even offer a prize to make the game more enjoyable.
  • The goal of the game is to fill in each line with the highest number possible. Then, achieve the highest total of the rounds played. Accomplish this, and you are the winner.

Stack Them up

Cut, now to sand and paint.
Cut, now to sand and paint. | Source
Colourful Jenga, made from 2x4 wood pieces.
Colourful Jenga, made from 2x4 wood pieces.

#2 Giant Jenga

This game is a real puzzle. Try to pull the pieces without it all coming down. If the boards fall you lose the game. The only rule is you must take turns.


  • 2x4's You need enough to make 48- 10 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Skill saw or hand saw.
  • Sandpaper
  • Leftover stain or paint.
  • Paint just the ends or the entire piece.

Jenga made my number two best game because it's not only the easiest to make, It needs the least amount of items to make. Just make sure all pieces, are cut to the same size. You don't want any hanging out passed the others. Children can help you paint the pieces. Let dry, and they are ready to use.

To set up the gameplay, lay each down three boards across. Then turn the board the other direction and lay across three boards again. Repeat until all are stacked and ready to play.

Don't Forget!

Remember to sand the ends

Before painting

They need to be smooth

For ease of game play

Can You Win?

Build your own plinko board for outside
Build your own plinko board for outside | Source

#3 Patio Plinko

Build your Plinko game and invite friends over to play. The game is fun and easy to play.

Items you need to make a Plinko Board:

  • ½-inch plywood or MDF-24×48 inches (2 pieces)
  • (4) 1×3 pine cut to 48 inches each
  • (4) 1×3 pine cut to 22 inches each
  • Legs-(4) 1×3 pine cut to 12 inches
  • Centre piece for better stability-1×3 cut to 22 inches

Use a drill bit made for cutting holes to make Plinko spots. Once you have cut all the boards according to the sizes here, you are ready to assemble the pieces like the photo above. Paint or stain the frame. Then take all your circles from cutting the board and paint in 2 colors, these will be your game chips.

Let's get on with the game:

You can take this game one step further and add prizes to the bottom row. The children or adults will be excited to win and take home their winnings. Remember to have a stool close by, and your shorter friends will be happy you did. Just like the price is right, everyone will want to play this game. Can you get the best slot? Try your luck and let's see.

Get Rid of Your's First

Finished dominos with a bag to keep to keep them in.
Finished dominos with a bag to keep to keep them in. | Source
Staining the wood pieces for dominos
Staining the wood pieces for dominos

#4 Dynamite Dominos

Dominos made my #4 on the list of yard games. My reason is that Dominos was one of my favorite games growing up. It's easy, to teach to young children. Games are always better when played as a group. Being able to play this game outside makes it even better. Not only can a larger group of people play, but you also get the entire family outside in the fresh air.

Supplies needed:

  1. 2, 10 foot 1 x4 pine boards. Plus 1, 8 foot 1x4.
  2. Paint brush, used for staining the boards.
  3. Table saw, for cutting wood into pieces.
  4. Stain in the color of your choice.
  5. White paint or contact paper for making the dots.
  6. The brownish red stain, was used for the board's, mix well before applying.

Start by cutting each board into 7 Inch Pieces. When you have all your boards cut, sand the ends. Then you are ready to stain each piece. Brush on the stain and use a clean cloth to smooth out until you are happy with the color. You might have to add a little more stain and rub in again. Let then dry for at least 24 hrs. Then apply or paint on the dots. Your dots are made just like the original game. Paint a line down the center of each board and place dots on each side. The dots match the numbers 1-6. Clear coat all pieces to protect them from the weather. Use a large cloth bag to store them in or a large container.

Rules of this game are the same as its in-house original. Divide up all tiles between players. Then take turns laying out the pieces. If you can't play, it goes to the next player. The game is, played until all pieces are down. The first person out of pieces wins the game. It made number four on my outside game list because It's fun for everyone. Children and adults can play and enjoy this game. Dynamic Dominos will be making an appearance at my yard this year.

About My Top 4 Games

If you want more info or more detailed plans, go to the links under each photo. The people who have posted the photos also provide instructions for each project. A couple of sites even give a free downloadable building plan. These top four games are my absolute favorites. They have become my projects for this summer. Continue reading to find out what other games made my top 12 list for outdoor games. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing about each of them. Building these games as a family will bring as much joy as playing the games will be when you, are done.

Do You Play Games?

Have You Played Any Of These Games?

See results

Make and Play

Lady Bug & Bees X's & O's
Lady Bug & Bees X's & O's | Source
Potato sack Race
Potato sack Race | Source
Ballon Darts
Ballon Darts | Source
Scoop & Toss
Scoop & Toss | Source

Outside Game Picks 5-8

#5 Lady Bugs & Bees, X'S & O'S

This cute game is one your children will love. You can use an old tree stump, or a center cut log. Gather up rocks and paint them into ladybugs and bees. Craft paint can be used to paint the rocks. Use White paint to make the lines on the wood Board. Once the paint is dry, you are ready to play.

Game Rules: Pick your pieces. Then take turns placing your rock animal on the board. The first person to get a line wins the game. This game teaches children a little about planning out your moves. I picked this as one of my top 12 games because it is suitable for all ages. Children and adults alike. I am sure sometime in your life you have played this game.

#6 Potato Sack Race

What would a yard full of games be without a potato sack race? You and your friends will enjoy playing this game with the children. You can make it anything you want. Team up or run as individuals, It's up to you. Fun and laughter will have been all. Come on over and let's play!

#7 Balloon Darts

All you need here is a couple of bags of balloons and a wall to attach them too. Wall tacks or tape, to attach them. Take the darts from your dartboard and use them here. If you don't have any, you can find them at sporting goods stores or some department stores. Another game that involves learning how to take turns. Have the kids line up and pop a balloon? Place a paper inside, and they win whatever, is written on it. Just make sure everyone is the same distance back from the balloons. Ready, aim, fire!

#8 Scoop & Toss

For this game, all you need is bleach or plastic milk bottles. Make sure they are, washed out well. Cut out the front of the container. You can decorate your scoops by adding washi tape or colored duct tape.You want it to look like a scoop. You will be cutting the opposite side from the handle. To play this game, you only need two people. You can make more scoops and include more if you like. The rule is, no hands. You must catch with the scoop and throw with the scoop. My only advice for this game is, store the ball with the scoops so they can be, found later.

You Need Throwing Arms For These Games

Ring Toss
Ring Toss
Bean Bag Toss
Bean Bag Toss | Source
Pool Noodle Toss. I love it for all ages.
Pool Noodle Toss. I love it for all ages. | Source
Dodge Ball
Dodge Ball | Source

Choices 9-12

#9 Ring Toss

This game made my list because it's another one that children love to play. For ring toss, you need large Pegs or posts. A hammer, to pound them in the ground. At Least 6 of them. These pegs can also be painted, or decorated with tape. You will need at least three rings for tossing. The rubber ones for diving in water work. You can also buy them from game stores as replacements. This game is great for teaching hand eye coordination. Grab a ring and let's see how you do. Each person gets three chances to get the ring on the pegs. Have fun.

#10 Bean Bag Toss

Supplies: Large tarp and scissors to cut the holes. Colored duct tape, to make frames around the holes. A felt pen marker to give a value or prize to each hole. Rope to tie the tarp up in a tree or on the post to support the tarp. 3, Bean bags or more. You can make them out of leftover cloth sew into squares. Leave corner open to fill with rice or beans. This game made my list at number 10 because we live on a farm and have plenty of trees. It also gave the children a game they can set up themselves. It's also a game that adults can enjoy playing with the children.

#11 Pool Noodle Toss

This game is all made out of pool noodles. You can buy them at dollar stores. The amount you need depends on how much room you have in your yard. Willow sticks will work for the spear. If the children are young, then use a pool noodle for the spear. You can join all the pool noodles together with colored string or twine. Make a circle and join them all together. Like the picture, it will look much like a volleyball net, but larger. To make it more sturdy attach it to small round fence posts. If, you want to be able to put it away, use two pool noodles as the posts.

The object of this game is to throw the spear through the holes. If your children are young, then use bean bags instead and have them stand closer to the pool noodles. You can color the game pieces and turn it into a team sport.

#12 Dodge Ball

My #12 Pick for yard games is the dodge ball. This rubber ball contains allot of memories. Schoolyards were full of children playing at recess. The Rules of this game: Group of people is in the center with others around in a circle. Someone throws the ball trying to tag you out. The last person tagged wins. This game works best when there is a relatively large group of individuals. The ball can be bought at most large department stores or sporting goods store. This game plays best on the driveway or a tarred surface. The ball has to be able to bounce. You will create memories with Dodge Ball. Let the game begin.

Game Summary

To sum up all my game choices, I just want to say it was a lot of fun. The family will be building some of the games and playing them this summer. I hope my top 12 game choices have inspired you to get outside and play some games with your family and friends. If you make any of these games, please comment below and let me know how it turned out. Our yard is about to look like an adventure park. Please play on and have fun.

© 2017 Terrie Lynn


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    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Oh what a great Idea. You just made me think I should do this for my grandchildren's year end party with thier friends. Have an amazing and fun week.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      I particularly love the giant Jenga and Connect Four-style games. I lead a parent boosters group for an Engineering magnet high school and this would be an excellent idea for our Freshman Fun Day.

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Yes, these games are becoming very popular. I love the yard version of old games. I am going to take a photo when it's all set up. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Hi Dora, nice to your beautiful smile. It was fun to put all these together. We are planning it out then having a nieghborhood game day. It will be alot of fun. It will be work, but lots of fun.

    • Spanish Food profile image

      Lena Durante 

      4 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Giant Jenga is a lot of fun. I've played it at family gatherings, but I've also seen it at beer gardens around here in the Bay Area. Bean bag toss is a popular one too.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Wow! You have the whole summer schedule of fun right here. Thanks for sharing the games and even how to make them.

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Hi Magicality, I've never heard of it. I am going to read about now. thank you for letting me know. Have a great long weekend.

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Oh, I see, thank you for clearing that up. I'll get more info it sounds like an interesting game.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Kubb is a lawn game where you throw wooden batons at a stack of wooden blocks almost like a mix between bowling and horseshoes

    • Magicality LM profile image

      Magicality LM 

      4 years ago

      It is an outdoor game. Rather popular in Europe...

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Hi thank you. this was fun to put together. I am building a few for my yard. What is Kubb?

    • Magicality LM profile image

      Magicality LM 

      4 years ago

      Awesome versions but i am missing kubb:)


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