1151083480_8e1fd82212_bWhat were your favorite backyard games as a kid? Mine usually involved making something up from scratch. Sometimes we would play hide and go seek for hours. Other times my siblings and I would put on a play for our (very patient) parents. But our favorite backyard activities involved building a fort, creating a new club and keeping the boys at bay.

The important part, of course, is to find a way to have fun together. We put together some ideas for celebrating National Backyard Games Week (May 18 – 25) and a tutorial for a simple picnic table project:

Water games! The weather is warming up, kids are counting down to the final days of class… what’s better than a water balloon fight? If you prefer more “structure” to your water games, you might try water balloon badminton (the directions call for a balloon filled with air, but water balloons are so much cooler).

Don’t Need a Single Supply to Play! Red Light, Green Light and Simon Says take nothing more than a group of silly kids and some imagination. Mix in a little Mother, May I and Red Rover, and you’ve got hours of (free) fun.

Creating New Family Traditions! With some inexpensive and easy-to-find supplies, you can rediscover old favorites like Lawn Darts or Croquet and even learn some new games like Bocce Ball. (Yes, I realize Bocce Ball is not even remotely a “new” game, but it’s new to me… and it looks like fun.)


Don’t Need a Backyard! What if you live in an apartment? Don’t worry about it! Find your favorites from the list above, many can be easily taken in to public places, like your local park, and enjoyed together.

Finally, if you want a backyard space more situated for family fun, we found a few simple picnic table tutorials. And remember, when building things for your kids to enjoy, think about the materials used. Repurpose some old wood (either your own, or buy it at a building recycling center) and choose adhesives with low or no volatile organic compounds.

Picnic Table Plan (with video) from Handymanwire.com

Classic Picnic Table from Popular Mechanics

Refresh an Old Picnic Table from Learning to Step Lightly