holiday When I was younger, I used to love board games – Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Sorry, Checkers, Snakes, and Ladders… all of them. It’s what my sister and I did when no neighborhood kids were around. She hated monopoly because I was always the banker and bought Park Place and Boardwalk, obviously. Some of my favorite memories are playing board games with family and friends; always laughing and having fun.

As I grew older, different games became more popular, video games, and then we all got a cell phone, computer games and organized sports in school. This is still the trend; my kids have gaming systems, older kids have cell phones and they all are on a team of some sort. Life is busy. But every summer we manage to have a few game night/days in our backyard.

Ideal Backyard Games for the Whole Family

The biggest game day event of our summer is our own family’s Summer Olympics. We invite my sister and her family, parents, cousins and all our in-laws. This makes it much more fun as there are more teams and a mini family reunion. Once we pick a day, we start by making teams, taking into consideration age, and skill. The last thing we want is uneven teams as it takes the fun out of the day. Next, we are able to create our uniforms and pick our team colors.

Once the teams are set and shirts are made, we come up with a list of events.  Some great ones are crab walk scramble, grass gymnastics, pantyhose bowling and an obstacle course. Then, we pick our water events! These are some of my family’s favorites: water-balloon relay, tugboat tug-of-war, cannonball contest and pool volleyball. The last two events need a pool, if you don’t have one, do a slip and slide contest.

Keep a scoreboard to see which team wins the most events. The winning team gets to pick what’s for dinner – we usually end up doing a big BBQ and having a bonfire in the evening.   The prizes can be anything you all think of; we even hold a medal ceremony for fun.

I also love backyard twister. It’s just like regular twister, but messy. First, you start with the regular twister game, which you can purchase here, Walmart, or any place that sells games. The fun part is adding the paint… yes paint. Purchase red, yellow, blue, and green water based paint. You can purchase them directly through Crayola if you’re not able to find them in store. Lay out the Twister board game and place paint in the middle of each circle. The real fun begins when you’re a few moves in and paint is getting everywhere.

For my younger kids, I have always drawn a hopscotch in the driveway. They love it and it teaches them to balance coordination and counting. Win-win for everyone! Here is an easy how-to for hopscotch, including rules and how to draw it. Also, I was surprised to find out there are more than 25 different ways to play hopscotch, as I have been playing the same way my whole life. If your children are looking for more of a challenge, check out this link.

When you have nice weather and a backyard to hang out in, everything seems to move outside. Which is perfect – keeps the house clean and you get to spend your days in the warm weather. It also means everything becomes much larger. For instance, have you ever played Giant Jenga? If not, you don’t know what you’re missing and I highly suggest heading over to Jenga and making this your new favorite game. Same rules as the regular version, except now you build the tower 5ft tall.

Hopefully, you and your family can gain some ideas to incorporate into your own backyards and have fun! Enjoy the weather and quality time together.