tic tac toe backyard game

Add More Fun to Your Backyard Party with Budget-friendly Games

If you’re hosting a party outdoors, why not include a game or two? It’s an excellent way to get guests actively involved in your event, especially if you can stir up a little friendly competition.

Outdoor games don’t have to be expensive, and your yard doesn’t have to be expansive to make games fun for everyone on your party list. So here are several ideas to help make your event the best in the neighborhood!

Balloon Down

This game requires three helium-filled balloons. Using a marker, label them with point values: 5, 10, and 25 points.

Then, attach weights to their 4-foot strings and place them in the yard. The closest balloon (about 15 feet from where the player stands) is worth 5 points, the second balloon (10 points) should be placed about 20-25 feet away, and the 25-point balloon should be 30-40 feet away.

Fill a small bucket with golf balls, mini footballs, high-bounce balls, or even small water balloons. Give each player five attempts to hit the balloons and add up the points from each successful bump. The person with the highest score wins.

You can place the balloons closer if your yard is small and adjust the point value accordingly. The important thing is to get people up, moving, and having fun!

Lawn Tic-Tac-Toe

You can use a sheet marked with a tic-tac-toe board for this outdoor version of a familiar game. Or, place four dowel rods or wood strips directly on the ground to create a board—as large or small as you want it to be. It will be easier to see the lines while playing if you paint the strips a bright color.

If your yard is on the smaller side, keep the board small and play with bean bags. If you have more space, consider using flying disk toys from your local discount store.

Each player will take turns standing at the tossing position a few yards away (you determine the distance) to play against their opponent (or an opposing team).

Corn Hole

This classic bean bag game (also called bean bag toss) requires six beanbags (three of each color) and two slanted boards with cut out holes. The American Cornhole Association publishes official rules for the game.

If you don’t want to buy corn hole boards, you can make them yourself. Or, you can skip the boards and use metal or plastic buckets anchored with small sandbags. Assign a point value to any bean bags that land inside the buckets.

If You Have Plenty of Space

Bigger yards lend themselves to net-based games such as volleyball, badminton, or four square volleyball. Croquet or bocce ball are other options.

Although these games require investing in special equipment, you can count on many seasons of enjoyment with proper care and off-season storage. 

Capture the flag is a flexible game enjoyed by children and adults alike. It requires no special equipment beyond a “flag” for each team, which can be a simple bandana or fabric scrap, and you can play it in daylight or at night.

You can find the original rules here. First, each team hides their flag near the back of their territory, with part of the fabric remaining visible. Then, team members attempt to capture the opposing team’s flag and carry it back to their home turf while guarding their flag.

Players caught in enemy territory are thrown in jail but can be released if touched by a teammate. In the night version of the game, you can use flashlights to release players from jail.

There are numerous other potential twists to the rules, like bringing water guns into the mix (either to attack your opponent; or “free” teammates from jail). Or, create your own unusual house rules to add to the fun!

Whether you want your outdoor entertaining to revolve around food, movies, games, or another activity, the most important part of these backyard gatherings is the fellowship and friendships they nurture.