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45 Outdoor Game Ideas for Kids

It can be difficult keeping children amused for long periods of time during the weekends or school holidays. While a playhouse can help them role play in a variety of settings and situations, you may need some backup for entertaining.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of budget-friendly DIY games and children’s garden design ideas. These fun and classic activities will help your children keep their brains and bodies active while still having fun!

Let’s take a look.

1. Tin can bowling

Create your own outdoor bowling pins by recycling your old tin cans. Take off the labels, wash them out then give them a makeover with some brightly coloured paints! 

Then stack them up and take turns throwing a ball for hours of fun with all the family. 

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DIY colourful tin cans as an alternative bowling pins

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2. Clothespin tag

A little rework on your traditional tag game. You can have your kids decorate the clothespins and then the fun begins.

A clothes pin used for clothespin tag game

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3. DIY ring toss

Also very easy to make with items you can find at home, a ring toss could even be played inside the house if it’s a rainy day. Even better, if you have a long garden; you can make a bigger version of DIY ring toss!

DIY ring toss made with unused materials that can find at home

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4. Natural scavenger hunt

Create your own scavenger hunt to find certain insects and flowers in your own garden, then see who gets all the items first! 

A natural scavenger hunt guide printed on a piece of paper

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5. DIY water wall

Build your kids their own water wall to play with on sunny days. You can even recycle some of your old plastics and hoses to keep them busy for hours. 

DIY water wall made from old plastics and hoses

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6. Toppling tug of war

For a fun twist on tug-of-war, use upended crates as a platform to stand on, to make the game more about balance than strength. 

Two kids playing tug of war in the garden

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7. Water balloon toss

A water balloon toss is really simple to create, you could even get your children to help design it. Plus you could add some scores on the board and have them add up their own for some hidden maths!

Water balloon toss score board made of cupboards

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8. Outdoor field hockey

All you need are some pool noodles, balloons and maybe some laundry baskets as goals for a more gentle version of hockey in the backyard. 

Children playing outdoor field hockey

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9. Frisbee golf

Another simple game to create at home, Frisbee golf can be easily set up with some old laundry baskets. You could even make some simple stands to raise them up. 

Frisbee golf setup made from some old laundry baskets

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10. Tin can stilts

This one is maybe a bit of an old-fashioned game, but also great training for your kids’ balance and coordination. Recycle large tin cans to make these at home. 

A child playing tin can stilts

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11. Backyard race track

Design your own race track for marble or car races in your backyard using old piping or a pool noodle cut in half. You can have your kids decorate the track before the races begin.

Two buddies playing backyard race track

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12. Water wall on fence

In a hot summer, water games are great for your kids. Use a wall or fence to build them a water wall and keep them cool.

DIY water wall on fence

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13. Shirt painting with water guns

Get some low-cost, plain white t-shirts and some paint or dye, then help your kids get creative by filling water guns or spray bottles with the paint and let them have free reign!

Shirt painting with water guns

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14. Pool noodle boats

Craft some boats of different sizes from pool noodles with your kids. Use straws and cards to make sails and place them in a crate filled with water for hours of fun! You could even take this one indoors on a rainy day.

Pool noodle boats

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15. Soda bottle sprinkler

You’ll need a hose and something sharp to pierce some holes into the plastic bottle. The result? 

An amazing water feature for a hot afternoon!

Soda bottle sprinkler made of hose

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16. DIY giant kerplunk

Giant kerplunk is an old-school game that you can recreate in your backyard with some low-cost materials. Just grab some metal meshing, plastic balls and garden or bamboo sticks. 

Lots of fun guaranteed!

DIY giant kerplunk

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17. Giant angry birds

Can you imagine playing Angry Birds in real life? All you’ll need are some cardboard boxes and green balloons, and you can use a football for the “birds”!

Giant angry birds made of cardboard boxes and green balloons

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18. Balloon dart board

Attach some balloons to a board and have three darts each for a fun garden game. You could place a cover on the floor and fill every balloon with a different colour of paint, so you can create a work of art while playing.

DIY balloon dart board

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19. Hopscotch

Who doesn’t remember this classic? All you need is some chalk to have your kids practice their balance and counting.

A small kid playing hopscotch in the garden

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20. Frisbee tic tac toe

For a new twist on tic tac toe, throw Frisbee instead of drawing out the noughts and crosses. Your kids will need some practice to master it, so that means more time outside!

DIY scrabble in lawn

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21. Lawn scrabble

Make your own scrabble tiles with your kids and start playing! It’s great for teaching them some new words and an amazing rework of the original game.

Rock dominoes garden game

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22. Rock dominoes

Start a rock search with your kids and then paint them as dominoes to create an awesome garden game.

Sidewalk scavenger hunt

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23. Sidewalk scavenger hunt

Use some chalk to create a list of things for your kids to hunt. The first one who gets everything on the list, wins!

Bullseye drawn on the garden floor

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24. Bullseye

Draw a bullseye on the floor and have your kids throw some pennies or stones into it to see who gets nearest the centre.

Bullseye drawn on the garden floor

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25. Chalk checkers

Draw a checkers board with some chalk and find some rocks to create the pieces. You can paint the rocks to make them different from the ones on the other side.

Chalk checkers on the floor

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26. Hula hoop tunnel

Add a sheet and create a cute obstacle track for your kids to have fun and do a little exercise.

Hula hoop tunnel

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27. Balloon pinatas

Fill some balloons with water and hang them in your backyard. Then, cover your kids eyes and give them a bat for a fun and refreshing activity for a hot afternoon.

Water balloon pinatas

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28. Pool noodle sprinkler

Another great way to create a garden sprinkler is to pierce some holes in a pool noodle and attach it to a hose. This is a great activity for a hot day. 

Pool noodle sprinkler

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29. Water cup races

Place some plastic cups on strings and race them along the string by aiming water guns inside for a fun family game.

Water cup races with plastic cups and water guns

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30. Soap boat races

Let your kids decorate the sails and help them create soap boats for some backyard races using pipes cut in half.

Soap boat races

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31. Rainbow bubble snakes

All you need are some basic materials from around the house. A plastic bottle with the bottom cut off and a sock that has lost its twin secured over the end with an elastic band. 

Dip the sock into a water and washing-up liquid mix, and then blow through the top of the bottle to create beautiful bubbles! You could even add food colouring to create coloured bubbles.

Rainbow bubble snakes

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32. Water balloon volleyball

Using a towel, both teams have to pass a water balloon over a volleyball net without dropping it, or there will be splashes!

Water balloon volleyball

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33. Water balloon hunt

This one is great for a sunny day. Hide lots of water balloons in the garden and have your kids hunt them. Afterwards, you can start a water balloon fight to cool off!

A blue balloon hidden in grass

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34. Garden twister

Fun to make and fun to play. Use spray paint or outdoor paint to create the colourful circles needed for twister. 

If you make a stencil using a box like in the picture, you could use the circle you’ve cut out to make the wheel.

Garden twister game concept with painted lawns

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35. Fill the Bucket

This one is a fun and refreshing family game to enjoy on those hot afternoons. Carry water from one bucket to another by soaking it up into a sponge. The fastest wins!

Kids playing fill the bucket game outdoors

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36. Potato sack races

Sack races are an easy game to set up. First one to the finish line gets an ice cream!

Kids playing potato sack races outdoors

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37. Giant backyard checkers

A classic checkers game but on a bigger scale. Great for outdoor fun on a warm day.

Giant backyard checkers

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38. Backyard mini golf

Create your own miniature golf course in your backyard and add as many obstacles and holes as you want. This is a great way to maximise your small garden on a budget!

DIY backyard mini golf

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39. Marshmallow shooters

Start a war in your backyard with these marshmallow shooters. Good thing is that the bullets are yummy.

Marshmallow shooters outdoor game

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40. Backyard obstacle course

Easy to make and will help your kids start working on their agility and coordination.

DIY backyard obstacle course

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41. Flamingo ring toss

You don’t need a lot of space for this one and you can spend hours having lots of fun with your kids. It doesn’t have to be flamingos though, you could use any garden ornaments you have available.

Flamingo ring toss

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42. Giant lawn memory matching game

Perfect for your kids to start training their memory while having fun outdoors. Make your own giant cards and turn them face down to try and pick two the same. 

Giant lawn memory matching game

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43. Human ring toss

A little rework of a classic game. Use inflatable rubber rings for a family-friendly competition. 

The first team to catch all their rings wins!

Human ring toss

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44. Football score toss

For kids who are already into football, this is a great way for them to have some fun in the garden and sneak in some adding up while they’re at it.

DIY football score toss

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45. Nerf gun aim practice

Place some ping pong balls on the top of bottles and have your kids practice their aim. Put some rocks at the bottom of the bottles to keep them from moving or falling over.

DIY nerf gun aim practice made from plastic bottles

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Round-up

It doesn’t have to cost the earth to create fun activities to keep your children busy and active in the garden during the school holidays. 

We hope you’ve found some inspiration in our list for outdoor games! You can make these fun games at home out of things you’ll have lying around, so there’s no need to spend much.

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