Let the Backyard Games Begin!

Backyard Games Ideas


The end of the school year and summer holidays are fast approaching. That means lazy summer days, backyard parties and family reunions! It also means the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games will be here in Toronto before we know it. Once the novelty of running through the sprinkler wears off and the enthusiasm for basketball and soccer deflate, what else is there to do? After all, lawn darts are not the same since the element of danger has been removed. I challenge parents, caregivers and kids to be creative. Adding a new twist to an old game can be all it takes and the Internet is full of fun ideas.


Croquette blindfolded? Play in pairs with one player blindfolded while the other calls out directions.


How about a Hula Hoop Steeple Chase? Each team will need one hula hoop and a matching obstacle course. Use garbage cans, chairs or cones for this.   Each team member takes a turn using their hand to roll the Hula Hoop to the end of the course and back before handing the hoop off the next person. The first team to have all members complete the course wins.


Make tug of war more interesting by having opponents stand on milk crates.


Paint 24-36 bamboo garden stakes in bright colours (about 8 sticks per colour) to create a giant version of Pick-up Sticks. Use whatever house rules you have.


For night time fun combine a couple of glow sticks and a bunch of glow necklaces to make Glow-in-the-dark Ring Toss.


Glow Rings game


Creating a Pan Am or Olympic theme takes a little more planning. Create teams and decide on the games and how to keep score. Buy or craft medals for each event and uniforms for each team. A uniform could be a coloured armband or homemade t-shirt. Fashion a torch out of paper or use candles if the kids are older to perform you own torch relay. I suggest including some sports themed games.


Soccer Ball Push:  two or more participants push a soccer ball with their heads to the finish line. Add a twist by including the wheelbarrow game. Have teammates hold up the legs of the participant while they compete.


Outdoor Gymnastics:  mark a balance beam on the grass. The line should be approx. 4”/10cm wide and 16’/4.88m long. Challenge each athlete to make increasingly more difficult moves without ‘falling off’ the beam. For example walking backward, hopping on one foot, cartwheels or even walking on their hands.


Note:  Most home improvement stores carry a temporary marking chalk or water based line marking paint that can be used on grass or dirt to mark starting points, finish lines and balance beams.