Summer is the time to turn off the electronics, head outdoors and enjoy some good, old-fashioned family fun!
Your house will be the highlight of the neighborhood with these terrific family-friendly game ideas from Jamie Yahn of Glitzee Glee, Redplum personal finance expert Lisa Reynolds and Excited2Learn founder Amanda Carman.
Ice cream games
You supply the ice cream, each guest brings a different topping and everyone enjoys an afternoon of frosty fun:
- Banana split building contest: Set out ingredients, bowls and utensils and give each guest five minutes to create a banana split. The prettiest (and most complete) banana split wins!
- Ice cream eating contest: Use the banana splits you just made or provide each competitor with a big bowl of ice cream. Whoever can eat the most — without using their hands — wins!
The best part of playing these games? You end up with fab photos that last a lifetime!
- Photo contest: Each family brings a digital camera and takes photos throughout the party. At the end of the gathering, share the photos and select winners: best nature shot, most creative, funniest, etc.
- Photo scavenger hunt: Provide each guest with a list of items to find. When the explorers find something on the list, they take a photo of it. Whoever finds the most items wins!
Water balloon games
The object of playing water balloon games: get wet!
- Toss game: Guests throw water balloons into containers of various sizes, earning one point for every balloon that makes it in without breaking! Most points wins.
- Hoops: Shoot basketball free throws with water balloons! For extra points, teammates stand under the hoop to prevent the balloons from breaking.
- Hot potato: While music plays, gently toss a water balloon from person to person. Whoever is holding the balloon when the music stops — or when the balloon pops — is out! Last one standing wins.
Whether partying in your lush backyard or tailgating on your favorite team’s parking lot, these outdoor games will put you in the competitive spirit!
- Rollors: While on active military duty, Matt Butler created Rollors, which he describes as a "combination of bocce ball, bowling and horseshoes." Set up a family vs. family tournament using poster board to track the winners, bracket-style! It will become a yearly neighborhood event.
- Summer Olympics: Divide guests into teams and compete in backyard games such as volleyball, soccer, wheelbarrow races and an obstacle course. Buy medals from your local dollar store or make them at home to present to the winning teams!
Sidewalk chalk isn't just for children — everyone can join in the fun!
- Body tracing art contest: Provide each competing artist with an array of colored sidewalk chalk and five minutes to trace party guests on the pavement. Best likeness wins!
- Sidewalk games: Use chalk to create old-fashioned games such as hopscotch, four-square and the long jump. Adults will want to join in too!
Fruit is aplenty in summer, so have some fun with it!
- Fruit roll: Each child tries to roll a sphere-shaped fruit (honeydew, grapefruit, orange, lime) across the yard. First to the finish line without destroying or picking up the fruit wins!
- Seed spitting contest: This game requires little explanation… whoever spits a watermelon seed the farthest wins! The prize: a watermelon!
More family summer fun
6 Outdoor activities for families
7 Ways to keep your kids active this summer
8 Backyard games to keep kids entertained