Keep the kids entertained all day with these fun backyard games that the whole family will enjoy!

The Best Backyard Games for Outdoor Family Time

We're all spending more time at home these days, and let's be honest; we're all starting to feel a little stir-crazy. The silver lining of our current situation is that we have loads of extra time to hang out with our families (we know, sometimes that can feel like a downside-we're not judging!). In saying that, keeping the kids or grandkids entertained all day is a full-time job in and of itself. Luckily, with warm, sunny weather in the forecast for Bismarck, now is a great time to get outside for some fresh air. Take a look at these fun, easy, backyard games you can play during outdoor family time.

Backyard Scavenger Hunt
Children of any age, and even "kids at heart," will enjoy a good, old-fashioned scavenger hunt! It's easy to put together and can be tailored to your surroundings. For school-aged kids, take this as an opportunity to teach them about the small ecosystem that is your backyard. Explain why bees and other bugs are important for pollination, or how the blossoms on your cherry tree turn into cherries! Here are a few fun ideas to get you started:

  • Find three kinds of leaves
  • Find a bug
  • Find a yellow flower
  • Find a spider web
  • Find two birds
  • Find a pine cone
  • Find a long stick
  • Find a rock
  • Find a feather
  • Find something that is round
  • Find something that smells good
  • Find some wood
  • Find a piece of trash (and throw it away or recycle it!)

Lawn Twister
Who doesn't love a hilarious game of Twister? If you've got the game at home already, take it outdoors to your patio or lawn when the weather is nice. If not, you can create your own outdoor board by using four different colors of washable spray paint on your lawn-create four rows of six circles. If you haven't played Twister before, the rules are pretty simple. You can find the official rules here, but we've summarized them for you:

  • One person (the "referee") spins the spinner and calls out a body part and a color. If you don't have the game, you can create your own spinner, or simply write the colors and body parts on pieces of paper and draw each from a hat during each turn.
  • Each player must place the body part (right or left hand or foot) on a vacant circle of that color. If that body part is already on a circle of that color, then you'll have to move it to a new one!
  • You can't share a circle with yourself, or anyone else-there can only be one hand or foot on a circle at once.
  • You have to keep your hands and feet in place until the referee tells you to move them to another color. The exception is that you can lift your hand or foot to allow another hand to foot to pass by.
  • If all six colors of a circle are already covered up, the referee can spin again.
  • You're eliminated if you fall, or if your elbow or knee touches the ground.

"I Spy"
One of the best ways to entertain children on long road trips or in boring waiting rooms has always been the game of "I Spy." It's super simple, can be played anywhere, with anyone, and you don't need any equipment to do it! It's a guessing game where one person chooses an object within sight and shares only the color of the object, using the phrase "I spy with my little eye, something that is...(red, for example)". The other player(s) guess until they're right, and then it's the winner's turn! This is a great game to play outside and might even get you and the kids a little more familiar with your backyard.

Bean Bag Ladder Toss
If you haven't already got an outdoor ring toss or cornhole game, make your own kid-friendly version with a ladder. Set the ladder up and label each rung with points (ex. 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50). Mark a line for the kids to stand behind while they toss bean bags or balls towards the ladder, and see who can score the most points!

Lawn Bowling
The bowling alley might be closed, but bowling in your backyard is just as fun-and you don't even have to wear those awful shoes! Create a set of bowling pins by repurposing old bottles or plastic water bottles (you may want to fill them with water to give them some weight). Take it a step further and get the kids to paint the bottles like bowling pins, or decorate them however they'd like. Once they're dry, set them up and use a tennis ball or any other ball to knock them down.

Backyard Obstacle Course
In case you don't remember how fun they are, just ask your kids how much they love racing their friends in obstacle courses-I bet they'll tell you it's their favorite part of P.E.! Building a backyard obstacle course is one of the easiest outdoor family activities to set up because you don't really need anything specific. Get creative with whatever materials or items you have lying around to create hurdles, stepping stones, balance beams, and other obstacles. Best of all, you can ensure the course is appropriate for your kids' age and abilities. Here are some materials that can be used to build obstacles:

  • Outdoor playsets, like slides, rock walls, or swings
  • Trampolines
  • Pylons
  • Pool noodles
  • Rope
  • Outdoor mats
  • Play tunnels
  • Chairs
  • Tires
  • Balls
  • Buckets

Classic Kid Games
If you're working with limited space or materials, you can't go wrong with these classic kids games that are suitable for children of all ages:

  • Relay race
  • 3-legged race
  • Water balloon toss
  • Hide and seek
  • Tag

Spending a little time outdoors is more important now than ever! Your backyard can function as the perfect escape from the walls of your home, and the fresh air and Vitamin D will do nothing but good for you and your family. We hope that these outdoor activities can provide some fun and entertainment for you and your family, and serve as a pleasant distraction during these stressful times. We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

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