DIY Backyard Games You Can Do at Your Summer Gathering

Whether there’s a pandemic or not to limit the activities available this summer, knowing how to throw your own small backyard gathering with family and friends is an important life skill.

Crafting the perfect menu for summertime food and drinks is critical, but an oft overlooked yet integral part is having games that the whole group can partake in if they so choose.

Here are some well loved, DIY backyard games that are great for all ages. The best part is, these games don’t require athletic hand-eye coordination, talent, or expensive preparation.


This one requires that everyone get a scrap of paper and a pen. Together, the group selects a category such as “food” and everyone writes down something that fits in that category on their paper, such as “apple” or “sandwich.” Everyone folds their paper and drops it into a hat. One person is selected to read all the answers aloud. Now here’s the tricky part. Everyone has to go around and guess who chose which food item. So if you hear that someone wrote down “chicken alfredo”, and you know that your sister loves chicken alfredo, you might have a leg-up in guessing that she’s likely the one who wrote that.

You have to take turns guessing, so if Person A guesses correctly that Person B picked “apples”, Person B then has to join Person A’s team, and together they get to continue guessing. If you’re wrong in your guess, it’s the next person’s turn in the group to guess. You either want to be the last one standing or the winning team that’s figured out each player’s guess!

Water balloon modern art

If you thought modern art was only for the high-brow galleries, you haven’t met water balloon art. What you’ll need is water balloons, a few darts, and some paint (preferably paint that doesn’t damage anything in your backyard!). Pick your background of choice, whether that’s a piece of butcher paper or a canvas. Fill water balloons with paint and pin them around your canvas. Then stand back and throw darts at the balloons. You’ll love doing this activity with a group of people, so you can see how everyone else’s artwork shapes up with each passing dart. Most importantly, let your masterpieces dry while sitting back and wondering whether you all just might be the next Pablo Picasso.

The big word scramble

We all have dozens of games on our phone to play various types of word challenges, from unscrambling letters to finding exactly how many combinations of words you can make with one set of letters. You can play all these games in real life, with multiple people, and completely phone-free! Get paper and a thick marker to make large letter tiles (you can make as many or as few copies of the vowels and consonants as you like!). Then choose your game of choice. Will you blindly draw letter tiles and work with a team to come up with as many word combinations as you can? Will you make it a race or will you keep mulling on it throughout the afternoon as you make frequent rest stops at the snack bar? The choice is yours! 

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