There’s no place like home for fun and games, especially in the backyard. The next time your family or fiends gather at your house, take a break from screen time and board games to organize one of these fun do-it-yourself backyard games that appeal to young and old alike:
Bird watching bingo – Get out your craft supplies and make bingo cards with five columns of five squares each. In each square, place a photo or drawing of a bird that could be seen in your backyard. Give each player a card and a bingo stamp or pen to cross out each bird that they find. The first player to get five birds in a row wins.
Limbo – With some favorite music blaring, take a long, narrow pole (a broom can work in a pinch) and have two people hold it up high on either end. In a line, players file underneath the pole, one at a time, bending as necessary to clear the pole without touching it. After each group goes through, the pole is lowered slightly each time so that clearing it from underneath becomes more difficult as players have to bend and contort while moving through. The last player to clear beneath the pole without touching it wins.
Scavenger hunt – Create a list of items that might be found in your backyard, and print out a list for each player. Include common items, such as pine needles, leaves, sticks, and flowers as well as more challenging items like abandoned bird egg shells, colored rocks, coins. You can even hide some objects ahead of time to include on the list. Assign a point value to each item based on its difficulty to find. Give each player a sack or container for assembling the items, and a time limit to complete the hunt. At the end, have players present the items they found and tally up the assigned points. The player with the most points wins.
Advanced flashlight tag – You can still enjoy backyard fun, even if your gathering is at night. Put a spin on traditional flashlight tag by arming all players with a flashlight instead of just the person who’s “it.” When everyone has a flashlight, the game’s difficulty goes up a notch and takes on a faster pace. Just like the traditional flashlight tag, the person who’s “it” gets blindfolded while the other players hide. At the end of the hiding time, the “it” player removes the blindfold and starts looking for someone to catch by shining the flashlight on them. In this version of the game, the “found” player caught by the flashlight has a chance to then shine his or her light onto another player to take them out instead. If the “found” player cannot find another player by the end of the “it” player’s countdown, he or she is out. If the “found” player successfully catches another player with their flashlight, the second “found” player goes out and the game continues. The last player not caught by a flashlight wins.
To make sure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe time playing these DIY backyard games, have plenty of sunscreen, insect repellent, and water on hand. All players should wear appropriate footwear to avoid cuts, bruises, and other injuries.