15+ awesome DIY, off-grid backyard games to play — I can’t wait to try them out with my family!
I had a dream the other night. The power went out. And no one cared. Except me….picture The Scream – Mom with a Prep Style! We had it happen not long ago. The power went out in our part of town for no real reason. It’s okay, we’re used to it. The problem was, it didn’t come right back up. Our first thought was, let’s run to McDonald’s – they’ll have cold drinks and wifi! Granted, it was a super hot day and no one wanted to go outside to do any kind of activity, and we wanted to get out of the house, but it did get me thinking…how do we entertain ourselves if we are looking at a considerable time being off the grid? We needed some plans!
Sure, our boys can entertain themselves to no end with their bikes and sticks, but we knew we wanted to have some special backyard games and activities we could pull out for family time or neighborhood get-togethers should the need arise. Plus, these are fun activities to do year-round – even without a world-wide catastrophe! They’re great for normal playtime and perfect for off-grid, backyard play. They also don’t require that I go out and buy expensive play equipment. These games can be DIY by using items around the house. So here’s Pinterest to the rescue! (I think I might mourn losing Pinterest more than anything if the world goes dark!)
Simply cut down some PVC pipe (here’s a good saw which will work for you if you don’t have a powered option), painting it, and using golf balls, you have a great ‘skee-ball’-esque backyard game!
DIY Dice Games
Super-sized Farkle or Yahtzee?? Yes, please! You can purchase this from a few different suppliers online, or you can make your own version from foam. Get an inflatable set that store easily when not in use.
Giant DIY Backyard Kerplunk
DIY Backyard Toss Game
Another take on a toss to target game – this upcycled setup is easy to put together and can have lots of skill.
DIY Water Play
Who needs fancy water toys – this requires little water and can be played with for hours. Just use some inexpensive, colorful, household sponges cut into strips, bound by hair elastics (will last longer than a rubber band. Watch the above video to see how!)
DIY Water Pistol Target Shoot
Giant Backyard Pick Up Sticks
I loved playing games when I was in my youth. This means that I create bigger and better versions in the form of giant backyard games! Here’s a version of Pick Up Sticks that are easily made with dowels you find at the local DIY store.
Giant Backyard DIY Jenga
This giant game of Jenga is super easy to make with some 2×4’s and craft paints in fun colors. Your bigger kids will love this to pieces! Check out A Beautiful Mess for all of the DIY instructions. This is hilariously fun to do, especially with adults that get competitive!
This game might take some planning – but consider planting herbs in the open spaces – then you’ve got an edible checkerboard for your garden! This is also a great place to play hopscotch, as well. Using glow-in-the-dark paint makes this a fun nighttime game, as well! You can even do this with chalk on the back patio or driveway if you don’t want to do something permanent.
Garden Tic Tac Toe
A round tree stump in a quiet place can make for the perfect tic tac toe board – and what a cute piece of yard art! You can do this with any rocks and play it on the porch or sidewalk! Let your kids get creative in their painting!
Milk Jug Toss
This product from Lakeshore learning can easily be DIY’d with a milk carton, fun duct tape, and any small ball.
DIY Backyard Obstacle Course
This is a great skills game. It’s very physical and can be reconfigured in so many different ways. Makes an adventurer out of all of us! You want to make sure that you use a string that is thick enough to be able to easily climb over, and for added safety.
DIY Glow in the Dark Bowling
How about a night game? These may take a little stockpiling of glow sticks that you can often get 2/$1.00 at the dollar store, or grab it on clearance after Halloween. This makes an awesomely fun game in the dark!
Glow in the Dark Ring Toss
These glow in the dark bracelets and necklaces are oh so cheap!
Pool Noodle Toss
Use all sorts of objects for this toss game that’s easy to put together with a few pool noodles and duct tape.
A pool noodle is one of the most versatile toys we have in the backyard. So many things can be made – and this ring toss game is super easy to do with PVC pipe (click here to learn about using PVC outdoors) and noodles cut to size.
In the course of prepping for world-changing events – or even your own small world-changing event, please remember that we need to prep for the fun times, too. Every moment may not be about us defending our lives and property, and as life begins to settle back to normal, we need those breaks from the stress to relieve tension, reconnect, and be family and friends again.
YOUR THOUGHTS: What are your favorite outdoor family time activities?
Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.
She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what's coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.
Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).
Her preparedness skills go beyond just being "ready", she's ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she's feeding her family, she's a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.
Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.
Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.
She's been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.